AFL Round 22: Crows’ win keeps me awake all night

By Anne Fedorowytsch

I restlessly woke in the early hours of Sunday morning in my Melbourne hotel room suffering from a case of Crows-induced insomnia. My mind was murky with mesmerising memories from the evening before and now I was wide-awake reliving them over and over.

The walkway connecting Melbourne’s grey-city streets to Etihad Stadium transformed into a sea of moving people on Saturday afternoon. In between throngs of navy-clad Carlton supporters I marched with my 19th Man flag aloft over my shoulder into the covered ground and ready for a battle with the Blues.

This was such an important game with a simple equation. Win and secure a home final or lose and face the prospect of playing the Lions in Brisbane. Just the thought of travelling north formed a knot of nerves in my stomach. A win today was a must.

As the players took to their positions and the Blues backline began to niggle the Crows’ forwards I felt my toes tingle and my palms begin to sweat. The crowd started to roar in anticipation of the opening bounce, and then an unexpected whistle sounded.

Kurt Tippett was awarded a free kick and a subsequent shot on goal before the game had even started! But the Tipster missed, as did Jason Porplyzia moments later, resulting in two behinds and two missed opportunities in the opening 30 seconds of play.

Chris Knights eventually kicked the Crows’ first major but he was preceded by a Carlton onslaught, so much so that Trent Hentschel was sent back to his Mr Fix It role in defence.

The Crows then fumbled their way through the first 15 minutes of play before gaining their composure, adding a further five goals to their tally and removing Hentschel from the backline.

At quarter time Carlton held the upper hand with a five-point lead.

Scores sat at 51 points apiece for several high intensity minutes early in the second quarter, but Tippett eventually kicked the deal breaker as the Crows began to claw their way above the Blues.

The Porpoise was working hard in the midfield alongside Patrick ‘Nothing will stand in my way of getting the ball’ Dangerfield. Tippett’s basketball arms were working a treat but his footballer legs were letting him down in front of goal.

Knights and the Dangerman scored a goal each and one Mr Bernard Vince slotted two for three in the first half and left Crows fans asking ‘Judd who?’ at half-time.

In front with a handy 20-point lead they carried the momentum into the main break.

Thoughts of sunny Queensland started to dissipate from my imagination in beginning of the third term with Knights, Mackay and Tippett each scoring.

One Carlton fan nearby expressed his displeasure in the Crows’ hot third quarter form shouting out, ‘You’re boring, Adelaide!’

Pardon? Boring? This wasn’t 2006! The man had hit a raw spot and I eagerly waited out the rest of the term to dish up my comeback.

In the meantime Brett Burton was proving that the Crows were far from boring.

You knew it was coming, you just knew it.

The Birdman eyed off his yellow prey the moment it left Simon Goodwin’s left boot. He timed his run up to perfection, with his pale limbs taking long and powerful strides towards his perch. He then sprang a solid two metres into the atmosphere and onto the top of a pack of powerless ruckman before rising again, to swallow his target in one easy chest mark.

Burton!! The crowd echoed with excitement.

I leapt to my feet. Make no mistake; I had been waiting for this moment my whole life. The Birdman would finally claim a mark of the year, if not of the decade!

I searched around for someone to hi-five or hug or something, but all I saw beneath me were Carlton fans shaking their heads in astonishment. I even spied Chris Knights having a shake while he was coming off the ground to the bench.

Carlton ran down the clock in the final seconds of the third quarter gifting me the perfect opportunity to top the quarter off with a ‘You’re boring, Carlton!’ as the Crows held onto a 53-point lead at the final break.

Tippett, Burton, Knights and Hentschel went on to share last term goals and even James Sellar kicked the first six-pointer of his career.

The final siren sounded and signalled emphatic 72-point victory for the Crows and a home final the following weekend against the Bombers.

I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face after the game. I walked an inch taller that night and almost broke out into a skip. I had the best day.

In fact, I could’ve even gone to bed wearing my Crows Guernsey. I probably should have; I might have gotten my eight hours of sleep.

Comments

  1. Peter Schumacher says:

    Loved the way you encapsulated the atmosphere of this game and in particular your description of the Birdman’s mark. Doesn’t get much better than that although this season has been full of highlights,for example Jarrah’s goal, what a talent he is.

    I must say that if the Lions fall over, perish the thought, and Adelaide keep going, as an old Croweater and died in the wool Norwood supporter, I will be feeling the my former South Australian fanaticism rekindling itself in my bones. Just hope that Adelaide don’t play Brisbane or that if they do, if the draw allows it, and on this I wouldn’t have a clue, that it is the grand final. In that circumstance I will be a Lion through and through but there will be a very slight “kissing your sister” taste to it.

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