AFLW Round 6 – Adelaide v Melbourne: Home away from home
Adelaide versus Melbourne
5:40pm, Saturday 11th March 2017
TIO Oval, Darwin
- a house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of a person, family, or household.
- the place in which one’s domestic affections are centered.
- an institution for the homeless, sick, etc.:
Where is home?
Of course there is the obvious answer – the residence that serves as ‘Point A’ for a person or family as they go about their daily existence.
Further to this conventional definition of home though, I think most of us have somewhere alternative to our usual abode for which we have a certain level of affection for. Usually it’s somewhere that has acted as a place of comfort, refuge, or reflection for us at some point during our journey through life.
The Riverland in regional South Australia is one of those places for me. My mother was a born and raised a Loxton girl, and my childhood is regularly timestamped by the two hour journey from the Adelaide Hills to visit Grandma & Grandpa (You knew you were getting close when you spotted the 5A TV tower – “We’re part of your day, looking great 5A!”).
The smell of citrus and jacaranda brings back memories of hot Christmas Days wrecking Grandpa’s back lawn with our backyard cricket sessions, and October long weekends wandering through the Loxton show hall counting how many knitting prizes Grandma had won again; of Bazza the Bunyip, Fallands milk, Nippys juice (the tangy lemon was intense, not sure if they still make it or not); and of walking down the street with some pocket money to grab some lollies from Clarks Foodland, or to rent a movie on VHS to keep us entertained. A place of relaxation and sanctuary – a place where you could leave your cares behind for just a little while. Sadly Grandma passed away in December at the ripe old age of 92, and with her the last remaining connection to that chapter.
As fortune would have it though, I ended up marrying a Riverland girl and so I now get the opportunity to create the same sorts of memories for my children. Their lives are now timestamped with the two hour journey from hills to river as was mine, the destination being Nana & Pops place in bustling downtown Ramco, a few k’s out of Waikerie. Now, when I say ‘bustling’, I mean it’s a reasonable amount of cars drive through each day – and when I say ‘downtown’, I mean there’s a primary school, a footy oval, and a handful of houses. Mind you, don’t be too hasty in passing judgement – said primary school was responsible for educating arguably the greatest South Australian footballer of the AFL era, the one and only Mark Ricciuto! There is a Ricciuto Road, but it’s unsigned these days as it kept getting pinched.
The Adelaide Cup long weekend (as with pretty much every long weekend) presents the perfect opportunity to shoot through and get back up to Ramco. After a Saturday of relaxation (well for me anyway, punching out a solid hour plus afternoon nap while the kids had water balloon fights outside with Nana & Mum!), we settle around the table for dinner.
In the background the telly shows the Adelaide girls kicking things off at their own home away from home in Darwin. A good percentage of the squad come from there and would be super keen to put on a good show for their family and friends.
Between the food, the wine and the laughter I catch glimpses of Adelaide bolting out of the blocks, working harder and kicking straighter than Melbourne. The game is crucial for both sides with Adelaide trying to stay in the hunt for a home grand final, and Melbourne desperate to stay in the hunt for a grand final berth full stop. Adelaide seem well on the way to achieving their goal as the quarter time siren sounds.
Dinner is concluded and the inevitable night time routine plays out, thankfully there’s no need for the kids to have a bath tonight after the afternoon water fights. I get them into their pj’s while keeping one eye on the TV – the tide seems to have turned dramatically with Melbourne having the best of it and getting themselves well back into the game by half time.
I tear myself away and take the young lad to bed. When I re-emerge Adelaide are well under the pump in the late stages of the 3rd. The cameras pan out to show ominous clouds and the occasional flash of lightning. Looks like Darwin has turned it on for them tonight.
Some late magic from Sarah Perkins with a cracking snap across the body is enough to prompt some speculation from the father-in-law and I about how good she’ll be with a couple more years under the belt – but unfortunately it’s not enough to get Adelaide over the line.
The close scoreboard probably flatters Adelaide in the end, realistically apart from the first quarter and the final 5 minutes of the last they were outplayed. The home Grand Final is officially off the cards now, and in fact a spot in the Grand Final is no certainty. They will be disappointed, particularly the girls from Darwin. I’m sure their family and friends will be proud of them despite the result, and at least for tonight they have their own places of refuge to which they can retreat to ease some of the pain.
ADELAIDE 2.1 3.1 3.1 5.2 (32)
MELBOURNE 0.0 2.1 4.3 5.4 (34)
GOALS Adelaide: Riley, Bevan, Randall, Gibson, Perkins
Melbourne: Berry, Pearce, Mifsud, Scott, Newman
BEST Adelaide: Phillips, Foley, Bevan, Randall, Radan
Melbourne: Pearce, Newman, Smith
Umpires: Andrew Crosby, Brodie Raynor and Nathan Toner.
Official attendance: 5,100
OUR VOTES Pearce (Melbourne) 3, Newman (Melbourne) 2, Phillips (Adelaide) 1.