Finals Week 3 – Adelaide v Geelong: River Dancing in the Riverbank Stand

 

With spring’s warmth kissing our little city on this exquisite Friday evening, where else to meet for this Crows and Cats preliminary final clash, but at the Malcolm Blight statue?  

 

Yes, the man who fostered enduring belief in Corio Bay by taking Geelong to three grand finals, and then with a magical swiftness, scurried in and out of Adelaide, but gifted them successive flags.

 

I shake Citrus Bob’s hand. We chat, and I ask after his dogs, “How’s Freddie Flintoff and Chloe on Flinders?” I wonder if the real Mr Flintoff has ever ascended the stairs at Young and Jackson to admire the eponymous bar’s nude portrait. No, I decide. That’d distract Fred from his singular, ferocious work on the ground floor.

 

Standing by Blighty with Bob must be like flopping down on a Trafalgar Square bench with Mick Jagger. Celebrities, past presidents, parents of players, media identities: Bob knows them all. As Patrick Dangerfield’s grandfather, this is no surprise, but Bob’s a star himself. Olympians, octogenarians, off-spinners: all say howdy to Citrus. And we’re not inside the ground yet.

 

Our seats are in Bay 130 of the Riverbank Stand, next to the Geelong players’ race. Finishing his warm-up Paddy runs down the tunnel. His grandfather waves a hot chip at him. “No thanks,” Paddy nods. He was always respectful.

 

After the curious theatre of the national anthem and the Crows’ warrior stance we’re away. Torrents of sound drown us, like a mallet banging the inside of a 44-gallon drum. Betts and Cameron establish their key theme early with a pair of conjured scores inside two minutes.

 

It’s hot at Adelaide Oval and the giant ceiling fans are twirling in the Riverbank Stand like the helicopter rotors of Captain Willard’s nightmares, but the Crows fashion a dream start. Cricket Australia would welcome a balmy (barmy) evening such as this for the inaugural Day/Night Ashes Test.

 

Paddy begins forward and completes a contested grab, to the roaring delight of the Cats who surround me, like a TS Eliot creation. But he pushes the drop-punt to the right, as if he, too, is puzzled by the haunting, inexcusable absence of the Chicken Salt hoarding.

 

It’s Flemington fast footy. However, the locals are quick by hand and foot, and run to space in ominous formation, while the Cats seem hesitant and lack precision when travelling goalward. Betts registers his second and I ask Citrus, “Has there been a more fun footballer to watch?” Bob has witnessed many decades of this game, and smiles an instant no.

 

Adelaide dominates the stanza and a message blinks through, not from my man in Amsterdam, but a lad in Largs. It’s raining. What might this mean? There’s not much in it, and I think of my wife’s late grandfather, who would’ve described it as, “three squirts of nanny-goat piss.”

 

Despite its habitual, incurable dropping, Joel Selwood’s neck continues to play well, and enjoys gushing admiration from the umpires, who offer Secret-Service-murmuring-into-their-lapels levels of protection to the Cats captain’s décolletage.

 

The third quarter sees the Cats produce some fleeting patches in which they look poised to snatch a canary or two, but the Crows respond and counterattack, if not accurately, at least with psychological potency. The Crouch industrial/ military complex again dominates and as we steadily build a lead, the record crowd begins to sense something special, two decades in the making.

 

When big Cat Hawkins is caught juggling the ball, like it’s the opening hour of Circus School, I ease into the moment. Then, a mostly subdued Tex Walker curls one through from just inside the boundary immediately in front of our bay, and our collective ecstasy finally commences. The Cats fans are gracious, if resigned. A Mexican wave does a few rippling circuits and once the demons of 1993 have vaporised, throaty baritones belt though the Crows song.

 

With the siren, I feel a couple of hot tears, and wonder at the berserk week ahead. My phone pings a message from Louisville, Kentucky, and then one from Harrow in London. I thank Citrus Bob for a great night. He’s going down to the Geelong rooms to see his grandson.

 

The world’s a shadowy, sometimes unknowable place, but right now Adelaide’s golden.

 

ADELAIDE       6.3       11.7     14.10   21.10 (136)

GEELONG        1.2       5.8       8.11     10.15 (75)

GOALS

Adelaide: Cameron 5, Jenkins 4, Walker 2, Betts 2, Lynch 2, Seedsman 2, Jacobs, Otten, M.Crouch, Knight

Geelong: Dangerfield 2, Cockatoo, Duncan, Selwood, Lang, Hawkins, Motlop, Henderson, Menegola

BEST 

Adelaide: Laird, Cameron, M.Crouch, Seedsman, B.Crouch, Talia

Geelong: J.Selwood, Motlop, Taylor, Mackie, Dangerfield

INJURIES 

Adelaide: Nil

Geelong: S.Selwood (hamstring), Lonergan (corked quad), J.Selwood (groin)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Rosebury, Stevic, Schmitt

Official crowd: 53,817 at Adelaide Oval

Our best- Cameron, Laird, M Crouch.

 

Read more of our Adelaide v Geelong coverage HERE.

About Mickey Randall

Late afternoon beer, Exile on Main St playing. Sport like cricket, most types of football, golf, squash, horse racing. Travel, with Vancouver my favourite city, but there’s nowhere I’ve not happily been. Except Luton.

Reading. Writing about family, sport, music, the stuff that amuses me. Conversation. Wit. Irony.

McLaren Vale cabernet sauvignon, Barossa shiraz, Coopers Sparkling Ale. Jazz and especially Miles Davis. Lots and lots of music.

I live in Adelaide with my wife Kerry-ann and our boys Alex and Max.

Comments

  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    Bonza Mickey

    I’ve been wearing my Back to Back t-shirt to bed this week. Hope I get the chance to buy a new one next week.

    Now the wait begins to see which seat I get allocated. Meanwhile, I need to go back through all of my comments this year and remove all references to doubting the Crows (and the occasional dig at Charlie’s form).

    #weflyasone

  2. Nice Report Mickey.
    We did it for Walshy didn’t we.
    This will be my first AFL mens crows grand final,.
    Eddie Betts and Charlie Cameron are unbelievable.
    Like Swish said; #weflyasone.

  3. Yvette Wroby says:

    This is where the happy people live!!

  4. No mutterings of “we’re a team not a one man band without him” or “he must feel like the bloke that dropped out of the winning lotto syndicate to save for retirement”? Gracious of you.
    Raised a Super Bock to you over dinner in the amazing Lisbon markets last night. (Who knew Nathan was so universally celebrated?) Tigers on toast for brekky. Phil will feel like Maximus leading the Giants out onto the Coliseum. Great theatre. Will watch it tucked up in bed over here.
    Have you booked seats for you and the boys on the Overland? Remember to change trains at Serviceton. Don’t want to be left behind and miss the big dance.

  5. Well played Mickey sounds like you had a bonza night ( we await the MRP lottery results they have been disgraceful even with the diabolical legal garbage system in place )

  6. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    Wonderful recap Mickey – Captured the feeling. Exciting times for you Book, Swish and Dave B. It doesn’t feel like 19 years since the Crows’ last GF. The possibility of Paul Seedsman being a premiership player irks me a little, but otherwise enjoy the week and best of luck in the big one !!

  7. Good luck securing a ticket Swish. Within minutes of the final siren AFC emailed the first souvenir t-shirt offer. We’ll be in the Clare Valley, watching in the Taminga pub. While you’re redacting please attend to my Charlie critiques too.

    Enjoy the week Aidan. There’s lots of folk who make a team successful, but Walshy will be prominent in these reflections.

    Thanks Yvette. I always love grand final week- and have good memories of ’97 and ’98. This’ll be fun, even at work!

    PB- at its most basic and logical, disparaging Paddy for going home means D. Jarman, Scott Thompson, and now Eddie, Sauce et al can’t be welcomed back. Plus, he gave us a brilliant decade. I love that the two non-expansion sides with the longest GF appearance droughts are playing. Enjoy the game bright and early from wherever in Europe you and the AE are.

    Thanks RB. Doubtless, the MRP will be a significant early week narrative. Enjoy the week.

    Phil- thanks for that. Lots to like about the Seed: beautiful, long kick and great pace. Nineteen years? How did this happen?

  8. Luke Reynolds says:

    Great stuff Mickey. Reckon you got Freddie spot on.

    Enjoy the week and the GF!

  9. Great stuff, Mickey.
    That was a wild old Friday night.
    Your Crows are pinging it around , sharing it around, running and cavorting beautifully.
    All the best for the week ahead.

  10. Thanks Luke. Was only reflecting yesterday that when the Crows last made it in ’98 I didn’t own a mobile phone, and recorded the game on a VHS tape, which I have somewhere. Haven’t yet seen any of the obligatory articles including data on the last time such as a litre of fuel cost, a pint of beer was X shillings etc.

    Cheers Er. The noise was fantastic. I especially love the anticipatory roar as the crowd sections with clear sight of the ball’s goalward trajectory let you know what’s about to happen a second or so beforehand. These are intoxicating moments.

  11. A wonderful night Mickey, you did well. Regardless of the outcome this week, I think a few Crows fans could well do with reviewing their mid-season comments – apply the benefit of the doubt when it has been earned. But then again it’s footy, that would be no fun. Enjoy the wonderful Clare Valley!

  12. Ben Footner says:

    A fantastic write up as usual Mickey. What a wonderful night.

    They appear to be on a real mission this year, and I’m not sure the Tigers will be able to stop that mission from being completed this week. I just love watching them team play. Guts, determination, and above all, resilience. I watched the little piece Channel 7 produced on the Saturday morning after the game and I had wet eyes as well. There will be more tears on Saturday if they can get the job done, I can guarantee that.

  13. Enjoy it Mickey, the Crows deserved it. Cats weren’t in the same league. What a massive week Grand Final week is. If the Tigers win they’ll pull Richmond (the suburb) apart. If they lose, they’ll tear Richmond (the suburb) apart. Either way I might get on a tram after the game and wander down to Swan Street. It should be incredible viewing!!

  14. Dave- I had a massive weekend of Adelaide Oval footy, with two different but great experiences. Somehow I didn’t get around to buying a SANFL ticket beforehand and the queue extended across the plaza, nearly to the road. About ten minutes into our wait, a stranger thrust a complimentary pass into my paw- thank you, kind sir. Especially loved the final quarter- being a neutral can have many blessings!

    Seriously considered heading up to Nuri Saturday to watch the Kapunda Bombers A grade against Barossa Districts. After a solitary goal in the first half, we kicked seven in the third quarter, and got out to eleven points up before going down by thirteen.

    The front bar of the Taminga promises to be fun. Hope you enjoy the week, and day too.

    Ben- I saw that clip last night. Who’d have thought Lleyton to be such an emotive narrator? He did well. Watching the highlights when I got home Friday night I noted that Bruce got the growl out in the first minute! He is a Crows fan, so I reckon we can let him off.

    Dips- on our now annual Melbourne trip for footy and an Almanac lunch we sneak into the All Nations prior to Saturday afternoon at the MCG. Gee, I’d love to spend an hour in there this week, despite my Crows allegiance. Enjoy the day and your Swan St adventure!

    Thanks to everyone.

  15. I’ll remember to get in contact next year Mickey. Now I’m in the junior coaching caper I actually turned down a couple of complementary passes. Was very glad to walk past that line yesterday – the one thing about Adelaide Oval; they’re not actually used to selling tickets on the day.

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