AFLW Grand Final – Brisbane v Adelaide: Adele-aided Crows
Brisbane v Adelaide
12.55pm, Saturday, 25thth March
Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast
I gripe, and often too, but I seldom rant. When I do happen to slip into my Lord of the Rants leotard, it’s usually over perpetual annoyances to me like empty shopping trolleys being left in car spaces or why bush turkeys, perfectly capable of flight, insist on jogging out in front of my car most mornings?
I so desperately want to rant over the well-documented Gabba debacle but my beautiful Lions wouldn’t want me to. Despite all the male bravado and chest beating of the weeks leading up to the Grand Final my Lions conducted themselves with consummate professionalism and poise, so I must endeavor to do the same. You could have told them they were playing in Chernobyl this weekend and they would have beamed just as radiantly back at you on game day from behind their Hazmat suits.
I imagine that being confronted by the AFL to be a little like being whipped with a tissue. It tickles a little at first but you soon lose interest.
Suffice to say that the sequined songstress Adele has left her stilettoed footprint on Queensland football for many years to come.
For what it’s worth, I had the solution all along had anybody bothered to ask:
“Yes Adele, you can sing at The Gabba. No Adele, you cannot have a stage. You will of course be required to wear these… you look like a size 10. Would you prefer screw-ins or moulded souls?”
Regardless, my traveling companion Nicko and I are here on the Gold Coast and thrilled to see that their council shares the same disdain for parking as its Brisbane counterpart. The Police shunt confused motorists off into the suburbs to fend for themselves and I wave a teary farewell to Metricon as it shrinks rapidly in my rear view mirror. Good thing I packed a canteen, compass and my passport.
Stepping over the lifeless bodies of lesser prepared patrons we set off for the stadium, leaving the defenceless shells of our vehicles to be fought over by the predatory traffic inspectors that climb down from the trees at the sounding of the game’s opening siren.
The Gold Coast is a place I rarely frequent unless I feel the need for a decorative tea towel or ornamental boomerang with a built in thermometer. I don’t belong here and the blinding of approaching motorists by my bleached white ankles, announce my out of town status to the locals.
I must confess to being a little nervous about the pre-game entertainment. Given the AFL’s recent track record at making arrangements on short notice, I’m not convinced we won’t be treated to a troupe of clog dancers or a Bay City Rollers tribute band. I needn’t have been too concerned. Megan Washington does a wonderful job.
I like Metricon as a stadium though. Clearly it was designed by a claustrophobic with a toilet fixation. Room to move and no queues that you have to jiggle from side to side in. What’s not to like?
Game on and… wait… what just happened?
We’re 30 seconds in and a right foot snap to Kellie Gibson has the Crows a goal up. I’m still locked in mortal combat with a tiny packet sauce dispenser. These things were designed by NASA to project condiments no less than 12 feet at a time. I’ve barely finished spraying the guy three rows down with sauce and we’ve been scored against! Let a bloke settle for crying out loud!
Woosha open the Lions account at the 5 minute mark. The time for nerves has past. Deni Varnhagen screws one off her left from the pocket that is nothing short of brilliant.
The umpires are either looking to establish control or hit their quota of free kicks as quickly as possible. One in particular. Somebody bought this bloke a shiny new whistle for his birthday and he’s super keen to show it off. Seriously, there are people directing traffic in Mumbai who blow the whistle less than this bloke!
Adelaide’s assault on the ball carrier is relentless. They use it better in congestion and as such seek to deny Brisbane space. McCarthy and Zielke have been noticeably ineffective and Chelsea Randall drapes herself across Harris like a cherished cardigan, peeling off her to rebound from defensive 50 all too regularly for my liking.
Adelaide have earned the ascendency.
Nicko tells me that the light towers were never paid for during the halcyon days of Cararra under Christopher Skaise. I ponder how one would go about repossessing such a thing for most of the half time break. It’s a welcome distraction.
My Traveler’s Guide to Footballing Clichés tells me that the third quarter is the premiership quarter. I’m excited to find out why soon. It seems that reputations are forged and lost in the white hot fires of the Grand Final furnace. Whose will emerge?
Adelaide are glacial in their surge after half time.
Brisbane defenders Campbell and Kaslar groan under the sheer weight of Adelaide’s forward 50 entries. Something has to give. There is panic in every possession and where no others can find calm among the chaos, Erin Phillips snaps her first.
It gives the Crows breathing space.
Sabrina Frederick-Traub answers shortly after for Brisbane. There’s a pulse! It’s faint but they’re still alive!
Harris soars for a trademark pack mark. She goes back with purpose and misses. One day soon her name will be among the biggest in the game. It’s just not her time.
And then, when it matters most, Erin Phillips goals once more out of congestion for the second time.
It might be enough with a quarter to go.
Captain Zielke gives away a 50 metre penalty in the last quarter and a shot at momentum. It is unlucky but unforgivable. Umpire Birthday Boy can’t stay off the whistle. He’s composing a symphony out there. It was not a free. A Gold Logie for the dive perhaps but not a free kick. Nevertheless, a skipper should not put herself in that position to begin with.
There’s nothing left in the tank. Both sides are playing on fumes alone. Frederick-Traub nails Phillips in a tackle. It’s dropping the ball every day of the week but Birthday Boy has already tucked his whistle back into the protective pouch that it came in. What they should have bought him instead was a sense of occasion. From 40 metres out Frederick-Traub would make the distance and an entire footballing nation would have ridden the kick every inch of the way.
I don’t hear the siren but I can see small pockets of jubilation break out across the ground and I’m painfully aware of its meaning.
A heavy sadness engulfs me. I never noticed it before but it suddenly occurs to me how much I dislike Adele’s music.
On the plus side Adelaide have helped draft Brisbane a Christmas list:
- One full time Ruckperson to release Frederick-Traub into the forward line permanently
- One defender with penetration by foot
- One big bodied mid-fielder
Failing that, Santa, just an oval where we can play, train and… who knows, maybe even host a final should the occasion demand, would be greatly appreciated.
Congratulations Adelaide. Sheer weight of offensive numbers wins out on the day and was majestically engineered by one of this country’s truly gifted all-round sportswomen in Erin Phillips. She wins the medal for best afield. No arguments there. If she’d overslept or missed the plane then Brisbane win, plain and simple.
A mother of two, an Olympian and now the most celebrated individual in Women’s Football and I’m genuinely pleased that I was there to see that unfold.
It hurts a little though and is only accentuated by the long march back to a car most likely buried beneath a canopy of parking tickets. Perhaps a quick stop for a Gold Coast commemorative spoon or snow dome on the way back might cheer me up.
Brisbane 1.0 2.1 3.3 4.5 (29)
Adelaide 2.1 2.7 4.9 4.11 (35)
Brisbane – Wuetschner 2 Frederick-Traub, Harris 1
Adelaide – Phillips 2 Gibson, Varnhagen 1
Brisbane – Kaslar, Campbell, Bates, Frederick-Traub, Virgo, Hunt
Adelaide – Phillips, Randall, Marinhoff, Cramey, Gibson, Bevan
Umpires: Rodger, Bryce, Cheeve Crowd: 15, 610
Our Votes: Phillips (A) 3, Randall (A) 2, Kaslar (B) 1