AFLW Round 5 – Adelaide v Brisbane: It’s Weird
Adelaide vs Brisbane
Saturday 4th March
Eyes only on the ball. Photo by Peter Argent.
It’s Weird – these are two words that sum up so many aspects tonight as I watch the Brisbane Lions women team take on the Adelaide Crows.
It’s weird – that in the papers this week the headline has been that if the Lions (or Crows) win this game then they would be almost certain to play in the Grand Final. There is no way that I would have thought as a Brisbane Lions supporter, that a Brisbane Lions team would be connected with the words “Grand Final” at all in 2017.
It’s weird – being a supporter of the away team at the Norwood Oval where this match is being played. The reason for this is that I am a big supporter of the Norwood Football Club (known as the Redlegs) in the SANFL, whose homeground is the Norwood Oval. I have been to the Norwood Oval so many times to cheer the home team on, wearing my Redlegs scarf and being one of the majority of supporters. Tonight, I will be one of only a few at the Norwood Oval supporting the Lions. I will be the minority.
It’s weird – that for the first time at the Norwood Oval it will be a celebration of women’s football with two women’s SANFL games occurring before the Lions v Crows match and haven’t the crowd come. It is the biggest crowd (apparently over 12000) that I have seen at the Norwood Oval for a long time and it is fantastic to see so many people supporting women’s football.
It’s weird – how a team can have so much possession and so many inside fifties compared to the other opposition, but the scores be level at quarter time. This is what has happened in the first quarter of this match. The Lions have the first 8 inside 50’s but there only reward is a great goal by Emily Bates. It feels like the Lions have been in control most of the quarter, but have not capitalised even though they have had the majority of the possession of the ball.
It’s weird – how momentum can change over a quarter time break. The momentum that the Lions had in the first quarter the Crows had for most of the second quarter. It is the Crows who now look like the best team out there. Erin Phillips has been brilliant. Chelsea Randall is playing a fantastic game shutting down gun Lions forward Tayla Harris and at the same time getting plenty of possessions herself. Cult figure for the Crows Sarah ‘Tex’ Perkins has been a focal point up forward with her strong presence and manages to score the only goal for the quarter. Sabrina Frederick-Traub is a pillar of strength for the Lions and Emily Bates seems to be everywhere but it is the Crows who are up by 8 points at half time.
It’s weird – that I have turned against the umpires. Being an umpire myself for the last twelve years I have a lot more respect for how hard it is to umpire, but in this third quarter as far as I am concerned the umpires are against the Lions. It seems like the Crows are getting every tiggy touch free kick. It seems as if the umpires are being influenced by the parochial Crows crowd.
Even though I think the umpiring leaves a lot to be desired the 3rd quarter football wise is fantastic. Kate McCarthy again shows her run and carry to kick the first goal of the quarter within the first minute. A couple minutes later Kate Lutkins kicks another goal for the Lions and they hit the front. The intensity of the game goes up another level. All over the ground players are putting their body on the line, the pressure is intense and it is very difficult for either team to gain ascendancy.
Perkins again scores for the Crows after getting a dubious holding the ball free kick. She had her arms around the Lions Leah Kashler’s legs. It should have been a trip as far as this biased Lions supporter is concerned. Then Abby Holmes gets a dodgy 50m penalty and scores a goal to regain an 8-point lead for the Crows. I can’t believe how much the umpiring decisions are affecting me. I can’t believe how much I am into this game.
With a minute to go the Lions clear it out from the centre bounce and with quick movement get the ball to captain Emma Zielke who marks 30 m out. She goals on the siren and it is only a 2point ball game at three quarter time.
It’s weird – but I think this game is just as physical, tight and intense as any men’s game I have seen. Nothing describes the physicality of the contest like when Shannon Campbell for the Lions and Jenna McCormick for the Crows compete for the ball on the grand stand wing half way through the last quarter. McCormick is ready to mark the ball when Campbell coming at full speed spoils and in doing so knees McCormick in the back. It is heavy contact and I am not sure if the Crows player will ever get up.
These contests are happening everywhere around the ground and quite often the noise is spine tingling when the girl’s bodies bang into each other. There are going to be some very sore girls tonight once this game is finished.
It is in the first minute of the last quarter that once again Kate McCarthy shows her crumbing skills and explosive speed to score the only goal for the quarter. It gives the Lions the lead which they manage to hold onto even though the Crows have their chances to kick the winning goal themselves.
It has been a hard, tough game with the girls leaving everything out on the field. It has been thoroughly enjoyable to watch.
It’s weird – but it is the loudest I have heard the Lions song sung after a victory for a long time. I am sitting on the boundary line but I can hear the Lions song loud and clear even though they victors are at least 30m away. This away win by the Brisbane Lions girls has meant so much. They have been courageous and given their all and now sit on top of the AFLW ladder. Their excitement is contagious.
It’s weird – but this is the most exhausted I have felt supporting my team in a match. I am sure my heart rate was beating 200 bpm for the last five minutes of the game as I jumped up and down on the spot. It was as if I was flying for every mark, punching the ball for a spoil, riding every bump, feeling every tackle and feeling pure excitement as the final siren sounds.
It’s weird – but the Brisbane Lions are at the top of an AFL table and have a real chance of taking out the inaugural AFLW premiership.
What’s not weird is I am a fan of the AFLW when it produces cracker jack games like this and I am one proud Brisbane Lions supporter after tonight’s great win by the Lions women’s team.
Go the Lionesses! That does not feel weird to say at all!
BRISBANE 1.0 1.1 4.2 5.3 (33)
ADELAIDE 1.0 2.3 4.4 4.6 (30)
Brisbane: McCarthy 2, Bates, Lutkins, Zielke
Adelaide: Perkins 2, Riley, Holmes
Brisbane: Frederick-Traub, McCarthy, Hunt, Bates, Stanton
Adelaide: Phillips, Randall, Varnhagan, Marinoff, Foley, Perkins
Umpires: Medlin, Bryce, Wachtel
Official crowd: 12,108
Our Votes: 3 Bates (Bris), 2 Frederick-Traub (Bris), 1 Randall (Adel)