AFLW Round 7 – Collingwood v Adelaide: Much better than the first round
Much better than the first round
Collingwood versus Adelaide Crows
1.35pm, 19 March
Olympic Park Oval, Melbourne
It was a very nice day out in Melbourne, as I sauntered from my Richmond abode down Swan St, and along Olympic Boulevard, arriving at the ground at about 1.20. I moved around to just west of the northern goals, with the aim to have the sun at my back. It was now 1.25, and both teams were just running out onto the ground. As the Adelaide Crows cheer squad honor guard made its way off the field, I realised I’d ended up standing on the grassy mound behind their reserved position. Collingwood’s cheer squad was opposite, to the right of the southern goals. Both sets of posts bracketed are by nets. The umpires are 1, 8 and 28. The Adelaide co-captains both attend the toss, which is won by Collingwood, who kick to the north (street) end.
The match begins. There’s a good mark in Adelaide’s forward line, but the resultant kick is rushed through. All play is away from my vantage point, on the eastern and southern sections of the field. A goal to Adelaide. Most of the marks have been from the Crows. Collingwood can’t seem to get it beyond half way. There’s the occasional bit of wind across the ground. I’m sweating just standing in the sun, collar up, hat pulled down, so I just imagine how hard it is for the players. Collingwood goal and it’s the cue for music to blast from the nearby speakers. Collingwood take advantage from a free, the passage of play looks good, but it results in just a point. Then there’s a great mark to Collingwood, and the set shot brings up a goal. Good marks to Adelaide result in a point and a goal, and the lead going in to half-time. But it’s a tight match, everyone playing well.
At quarter time towards the northern goals, Chemist Warehouse sponsors a ‘kick into the red house’ for a lucky crowd member. But he is unsuccessful at 30 m, then 20 m and even the final 10 m. He receives a $150 voucher, just not the maximum he could have won. The goal post padding at this end reads: Chemist Warehouse. Walking around to a position in the shade behind the northern goals, I’m handed a free note pad courtesy Three Threes. This means I’m a bit lower to watch the next quarter, and the nets are still up, but being in the shade more than outweighs those quibbles. From here I can see the main scoreboard on the Collingwood building to the west, and the smaller one on the eastern side of the ground. This one is a bit problematic, as both the time clock section and the scores part aren’t updated that often. Neither board offers any video or images.
Play gets underway at 1.58 pm. The first clearance and goal goes to Collingwood up the other end. I notice the guy in front of me taking a selfie of himself and the players in the background is Dave Hughes, there with his son. Dave holds a Crows branded Sherrin, but it has his son’s name textaed on it. Collingwood has more action, a kick to a forward mark, but just a point. Then the action switches to our end. 3 points to Adelaide, the last from a set shot right in front (5 McCormick). 28 Sarah Perkins has been involved in all of them, either having a shot herself, or setting them up. The Adelaide fans call her ‘Tex’, presumably a surname reference. But she’s not done yet, having a great quarter. Adelaide finally goal, then Perkins gets another one from a set shot, almost over the net to the road. Dave comments that she reminds him of Brendan Fevola, and a crowd member behind me says ‘that’s a bit unfair’. I chip in saying that it’s an okay comment, Fev was a good player, is still going in the country leagues, and seems to have made the most of his celebrity. Collingwood get the clearance, but advantage from a free and running play gives another Adelaide goal. There’s good defence from Collingwood. But Perkins steps up again, to mark, play on and just miss for a point to end the quarter.
At half-time I undertake a bit of a walk around the ground. To the west is the Collingwood building. Before the game it was for Collingwood social club members only, but I’m not sure of its status now. They are selling drinks near its entrance. Nearby are two food vans: Dairy Whip and Juan Fiddy (hot dogs). It looks like no access past the front of the building. So round past the northern goals, and there are two more food trucks 3 Lil Monsters and a pizza truck, and mrburger.com. Brew crew coffee also have a stand. The queues are pretty long at half time, as you’d expect. Another important installation on the corner near the traffic lights between Olympic Park Oval and AAMI Park are the 5 portaloos. Their queues rival those for food. So all your food and other necessities are at the northern end, with Collingwood stuff to the west.
Round behind the southern goals there is a fenced off section where the Melbourne Olympic Park Automatic Weather Station is situated, who knew? In the nearby Collingwood cheer squad section, quite a few people have the black-and-white cardboard ‘side-by-side/miss’ handouts, but most appear to be used as a hand fan or a sun shade. For the next quarter’s viewing I set up in the shadow of a light tower, to the right of the southern goals. Every light tower around the ground has its own cohort standing in its shadow, moving as the afternoon progresses. Indeed, in just a quarter we move from the back of the path to almost on the fence. A couple of large trees behind us also provide shade, but it is back across a roadway. There is the advantage that you can sit up on a fence to see things, but by three quarter time even that good shade has moved, and is almost inaccessible. 2.34 the umpires are out. 2.35 both teams are back on the field, with Collingwood running through the auskick line up. The goal post padding this end reads: Holden (with their circular symbol).
2.39 pm and the third quarter is on. The action is all up the northern end, with Collingwood hitting the scoreboard. Adelaide try a few passages of play, but can’t get it past half forward. Handballs are missing targets, they are not picking up the ball cleanly. Another Collingwood goal and scores are level! There’s plenty of back and forth, and two good smothers from Collingwood, right in my area of their back pocket. Despite almost ten minutes of play all in Adelaide’s half, they do not score, and a free kick to a Collingwood defender in the goal square sums up their quarter. Collingwood do a good running break but it ends in a point. Then they intercept, get a goal and the music blares out. There are speakers on the fence up this end of the ground too (see my first quarter comment). Collingwood take a lead into the final break.
Now I find out that you can circle the ground, but it’s a bit of a walk. In front of the western building it says ‘no access’, and it looks like broadcast crews only beyond that point. Following the roadway around, there’s an electronic red NO ENTRY flashing on a boom gate for cars, but pedestrians can easily follow a path around. This takes you along the road, up to the traffic lights next to Swan Street bridge, then back around the Holden centre and along Olympic Boulevard. I notice the Collingwood shop is open today, which makes sense. In my walk around I notice a t-shirt printed with the lyrics ‘Running bare (sic) loved little white dove …’. Hmmm. I end up back in the shade behind the northern goals, and say high to the two Collinwood supporters I’d stood next to during the second quarter. They had enjoyed all the action up that end last quarter, and hoped I’d be an omen in that the action should be where I wasn’t again this quarter.
3.04 pm sees the start of the final quarter. Collingwood do manage the first score, a point. But then Perkins continues her great form in front of these northern gaols, and gets a goal. It soon becomes three unanswered Adelaide goals in a row. One floats through just over the Collingwood defenders’ hands, they couldn’t touch it. The Adelaide cheer squad become vocal when there’s a free right in front of them. It was for a push in the back, which seem to be only paid when they are blatant in a marking contest. That leads to the fourth unanswered goal. The nearby Collingwood crowd are not happy when there’s another free over in the other pocket, and the kick gets moved to right in front, and the fifth straight goal to the Crows! It is now 3.20, and some of the crowd are heading off. The small eastern scoreboard is completely dead. After an 18:55 quarter the siren goes. There’s one last shot at goal, but it does not register a score.
Adelaide have won, and will play in the grand final.
I think the AFLW also won today.
Collingwood 2.1 4.1 7.3 7.4 (46)
Adelaide Crows 2.5 5.8 5.8 10.10 (70)
Adelaide Crows: Perkins 4; Phillips 3; Killian, McCormick, Sedunary
Collingwood: Cameron, Hope 2; Garner, Tesorirero, Eva
Adelaide Crows: Phillips, Perkins, Marinoff, McCormick, Killian, Thompson.
Collingwood: Chiocci, King, D’Arcy, Cameron, Eva, Hope
UMPIRES Cheever, Rodger, Bryce CROWD 2500
MY VOTES Perkins (AC) 3; Phillips (AC) 2; Cameron (C) 1