AFLW Round 7 – Collingwood v Adelaide: The Number Is Seven
1.35 pm, 19 March 2017
Olympic Park Oval, Melbourne
This was a must win game for Adelaide if they were to maintain their spot in the grand final. So the media put the coach* under significant scrutiny during the lead up. We all hang out for her bon mots and one-liners and weren’t let down this week.
On being quizzed about the pressure, the coach answered that the team knew it was like a preliminary final with plenty of pressure: “You look at a hardened, stale grain of rice. You put that into a pressure cooker and within 12 minutes it comes out as lovely fluffy rice that can be served with a beautiful curry. Quite tasty. So pressure does actually benefit some people…” As I cooked some rice during the week, I sent the coach a photo so that she knew we were all thinking about the pressure.
Seven goals to just two Crows’ players (Phillips and Perkins): this was the difference between Adelaide, Collingwood and Melbourne – the latter was the elephant on the oval and had a chance of knocking the Crows out of grand final contention.
The Crows stormed into the grand final with a stellar performance in its last quarter of the home and away series. But it didn’t look like that would happen as late as one minute into the final quarter.
While I know a few players have enjoyed the heat, I’d have to wonder whether that was the case for these two fabulous teams on Sunday afternoon where the temperature was in the 30s, with an apparent temperature in the high 30s. And the humidity: it ruined my hair!
Sally Riley didn’t score the first goal as she has over the last few weeks. The should-be knighted Erin Phillips scored truly first (actually, let’s just make her a Dame now) and Sarah Perkins gave us all great hope of fabulous things to follow. They started the way they meant to finish. The Pies were on the case with only 4 points separating the teams at quarter time.
The second quarter demonstrated an indication that this would be a higher scoring match than a number of the previous matches. Perhaps by now the players have figured out that they just have to hurry up and get on with it, given that there is no time on and therefore the quarters are only 15 minutes long. The Pies have their own Hope (Moana) who gave us glimpses of why she is one of the key players in the competition. She has a terrific skill level and is an impressive unit.
But my fave, Sarah Perkins kicked two goals in the quarter, igniting the supporters on our side of the ground. Indeed, Sarah’s Mum had escorted me around the ground to my family when I arrived. How nice it was to meet some of her family and celebrate her successes.
Would I be a traitor if I left the ground and went back to my hotel to watch the match at half time? I just couldn’t cope with the heat. But a good (Collingwood) saviour came to our aid. I was worried that we would be lynched if we sat in the Collingwood social club, but it turns out there were a few Adelaide supporters there – we didn’t find them till the last quarter when they found their brave voices.
The third quarter was one to forget for the Crows, but one that would have given both the Pies and Demons great inspiration, not to mention hope, when Moana also scored truly for the Pies. It looked for all that the Crows would be done when Jess Cameron kicked a major just before three quarter time, complementing the goals of Eva and Hope. The Crows were scoreless in the traditionally premiership quarter. It would be fair to say that the Victorian teams were supporting Collingwood, because they wanted a Victorian team in the final.
When Jess Cameron lined up in front of goal at the start of the last quarter, I thought it was over for the Crows. But she missed and it was enough for the Crows to re-group and get on with it. Sarah Perkins inspired the team with two goals in quick succession and Erin Phillips also kicked truly, twice. By then, the Adelaide supporters in the Glasshouse revealed their hand with everyone starting to work out how they would travel to Queensland. And then another Jess (Sedunary) finished the game off.
The statistics show that Adelaide should have won: again they almost doubled the inside 50s and scoring shots. It’s just that they missed a few. The winning stroke was moving Chelsea Randall out of defence and further down the field. She was able to feed the ball to the attack and turn things around.
Collingwood: 2.1 4.1 7.3 7.4 (44)
Adelaide: 2.5 5.8 5.8 10.10 (70)
Collingwood: Cameron 2, Hope 2, Eva, Bernardi, Garner
Adelaide: Perkins 4, Phillips 3, McCormick, Sedunary, Killian
Phillips 3, Perkins, 2, Randall 1
Cheever, Rodger, Bryce
Officially, 2,500: at least 1,000 suffered from the heat and left at half time. There would have been more if the game had been held at a ground that had seating and shade. And easily accessible toilets. And water.
*I continue to be the coach’s aunt whose travel budget is being sorely tested.