AFL Round 15: McLeod and Dangerfield are Crows’ wonderful bookends

By Michael Sexton

Fremantle have gifted Adelaide two geniuses – Andrew McLeod and Bon Scott.

When Scott came to Adelaide he grew a beard, wore a kaftan and played the recorder in a hippy band called Fraternity. Later he met the Young brothers and morphed into the dark joker of rock.

On the bus to West Lakes I spun the iPod wheel to AC/DC’s Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap and sucked in a breath of anticipation. The cover of that album has Bon leering and showing the tattoos on his forearm. That was when having tatts really meant something.

Andrew McLeod has two. One is a crow, the other a Torres Strait Islander head-dress. I am forever grateful to the Top End for providing the electricity for our game and for Fremantle for rejecting McLeod and swapping him for Chris Groom.

I remember McLeod’s first home match. It hammered down rain (a memory in itself) and he sat in the forward pocket like a wet shag. Late in a tight match he slipped loose and rolled through the winning goal. He was our future and he delivered. Every day or night premiership the Crows have won he has been best on ground.

My friend Geoff and I have watched many Fremantle-Adelaide matches together but never in the same place. A few thousand kilometres of desert separates us.

As I got off the bus at West Lakes on Saturday night and huddled against the cold, I saw him in my mind, feet up in front of the telly in Perth, phone at the ready to text thoughts.

Fremantle jogged onto the field wearing their white capitulation jumpers and then … capitulated. Right on cue, eight minutes in, McLeod took the ball from Patrick Dangerfield and goaled. Dangerfield is a baby face pasted onto Mark Ricciuto’s body. His attack on the ball is so strong and fast that opponents fly off him at all angles. Half way through the quarter McLeod slipped Dangerfield the ball and the young Victorian belted it home.

Everything the Crows tried worked – everything the Dockers tried didn’t.

The anchormen managed a point into the wind and nothing with it. I stared at the phone for a long time unable to figure out how to text Geoff. It’s awkward opening a conversation when your team is the Harlem Globetrotters and his the Washington Generals.  To my relief the phone vibrated and a message read:

UNABLE TO WATCH FOOTY. MARK HARVEY NEEDS TO EXPLAIN JUST WHAT THE PURPOSE OF THIS MEANINGLESS ACTION PLAN IS? HIGH POSSESSION, ULTRA ANXIOUS, MIOPIC AND LIKELY TO PRODUCE NO MORE THAN FOUR GOALS AND A HUGE DEFEAT … HENCE THE CRICKET IS GOOD 5-485.

In the third quarter Paul Duffield doubled his side’s score with a long point. The crowd responded with gallows humour as purple pom poms scattered around the ground were enthusiastically shaken. There was now a realisation that, even by Freo’s dismal standards, this was a night of historic horror.

RYAN MURPHY, DON’T GET ME STARTED … AND THE POMS’ OVER RATE IS HOPELESS.

Sometimes hope comes from unexpected places. Seconds after the text, Murphy broke free and thumped the ball home for a goal. There was mild booing from the home crowd, which had been fantasising about seeing the opposition kept goal less.

In the last quarter people left the freezing stadium early. To keep interest in the match I just watched McLeod. This is the twilight of his career and already I fear the feeling I will have when he isn’t on the park. He lined up on the wing and drifted forward, like a boxer doing track work, slowly jogging on the balls of his feet, shoulders rounded, fists gathered in balls at his chest. He sprang to a contest, gathered the ball and released it to Thompson who goaled. His movement is so fluid yet for the Crows he is often T.S. Elliot’s still point of the turning world.

Against the Swans two weeks ago when Barry Hall put a fist on Ben Rutten’s jaw and an exclamation mark on his career, McLeod hurdled Rutten and went to Hall. It appeared the beginning of retaliation but it wasn’t. McLeod gently put his hand on the opera house emblem on the big man’s chest and steered him to safety. Peripheral vision is one of his many gifts. Tonight he isn’t Adelaide’s best and Dangerfield is their future, but he is still a wonder.

On the bus coming home, I found High Voltage on the ipod and read a final text: SORRY I SAID WE WOULD KICK FOUR.  As I plugged in the ear pieces the woman next to me reported the win had taken Adelaide’s percentage from 102 to 112.

Thanks again, Fremantle.

Adelaide     5.4   10.9   12.14   19.16 (130)
Fremantle     0.1   0.1   1.5   1.7 (13)
GOALS
Adelaide: Tippett 5, Porplyzia 5, Dangerfield 3, Stevens 2, Knights 2, McLeod, Shirley.
Fremantle: Murphy
Official crowd: 32,451 at AAMI Stadium
My Votes: Dangerfield (A) 3, Porplyzia (A) 2, Tippett (A) 1.

About Michael Sexton

Michael Sexton is a journo working for the ABC in SA. His scribblings include “1964”, “Fos Wiliams on Football” and the biography of Neil Sachse.

Comments

  1. Josh Barnstable says:

    Oh my god. How did you sit and watch this game? It would have been the most boring game in the past 10 years! 1 goal from Fremantle is not acceptable for an AFL club, even without Pavlich and Sandilands. Adelaide to definately beat St Kilda next week.

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