Round 12 – Port Adelaide v Richmond: Up against it in Adelaide

 

 

 

 

As the impressive silhouette of Adelaide Oval appeared on the overcast horizon, the flashbacks began. Back to that awful day in 2014 that began with so much promise but ended almost losing a daughter … to another footy team. They say a week is a long time in footy and they are right. A week earlier I’d been in Sydney with my cousin Kate, watching Dusty kick the sealer against Sydney to book a spot in the finals after nine straight wins. Bliss! The following Sunday we were plonked in the middle of the Richmond Cheer Squad being taunted by a Port fan waving his scarf in our faces after the home team had slammed on seven goals in the first 15 minutes to ice the game. Awkward. By half time my daughter Jess was asking to go home – and researching Gold Coast memberships on the phone. “I’m not driving 800 kilometres for us to leave early!” was all I could offer. It was the stuff of nightmares, followed by the longest 9-hour drive in the history of the universe, with two sooky teenagers and thoughts of Human Services declaring me an unfit mother for putting them through it all.

 

Two years later it wasn’t much more fun when my husband Brian and I sat in the rain, surrounded by Port scarves waving in unison before their team beat us by 38 points. Not again!

 

Fast forward to 2018 and Tiger fans were on cloud 9 after breaking a 37 year premiership drought against Adelaide in the 2017 Grand Final. Nine months later, I was STILL pinching myself. After Round 11, we were sitting on 9-2 after smashing Essendon in Dreamtime at the G and on track for more finals action. Port fans even liked us after we destroyed their mortal enemy in the Grand Final.

 

But… almost four decades of Tiger trauma is hard to shake and memories of that horrible day in 2014 were on a loop as we made our way deep into enemy territory. Dusty had also joined Bachar Houli, Dion Prestia and Daniel Rioli our injured. This was going to be a big ask. Not to mention the home crowd bias. 

From start to finish you’re up against it at Adelaide Oval, in this case starting with Port’s stirring rendition of Never Tear us Apart that sees 90 per cent of the crowd waving scarves around the ground in unison. It really is one of the great footy fan moments – except when your team is on the receiving end.

A small but vocal contingent of Tiger fans was there as usual, but they were completely outnumbered and out-yelled by the home team. All this makes winning on the road even sweeter – and losing more painful.

 

Extortionate food and drink prices aside (around $10 for a beer, $5.70 for a pie and $6.20 for pump water), Adelaide Oval, is a brilliant venue for footy. The facilities are modern, but the ground retains some of its old world charm with the old scoreboard and the hill.

 

Unfortunately, in this case, the game itself was nothing to write home about. A tight first quarter saw Port start strongly before the Tigers steadied to take a two point lead into quarter time. The second quarter was more of the same until Port turned on a red hot 10 minutes that set up the win. It kicked six goals to two and led by 23 points at the main break.

 

The second half was an arm wrestle that saw Richmond fail to capitalise on Port’s lack of scoring – the home team kicked just 1.7 after half time. The Tigers didn’t do much better, adding 3.4. Whenever Richmond looked like threatening, Port cleared the ball out of danger and took it forward, but in most cases failed to convert. In the end, Port’s domination of the centre clearances and contested ball proved to be the difference.

 

Neither side had consistent stand-outs apart from Port’s Ollie Wines and Sam Powell-Pepper. They smashed their undersized opponents in the midfield and set the play up countless times. Shane Edwards and Alex Rance showed signs of brilliance for Richmond, and Jack Riewoldt did his bit with three goals, but no-one stood up when it counted. Josh Caddy was well held and didn’t kick a goal.

 

In the end, the undermanned Tigers had too many passengers and fell short by 14 points. Once again, we left the Adelaide fortress empty-handed. But at least this time we could console ourselves with the fact we were reigning premiers. And how pleasant those memories would always be…

 

 

PORT ADELAIDE: 2.2 9.5 10.7 10.12 (72)

RICHMOND: 3.3 5.6 7.8 8.10 (58)

 

 

Goals

PORT ADELAIDE: Westhoff 3, S. Gray 2, R. Gray 2, Dixon, Polec, Motlop

RICHMOND: Riewoldt 3, Edwards 2, Costagna 2, Miles.

 

 

Best

PORT ADELAIDE: Wines, Powell-Pepper, Westhoff, Polec, Wingard

RICHMOND: Edwards, Riewoldt, Short, Lambert, Rance

 

 

Our votes: Wines 3 (Port), Powell-Pepper 2 (Port), Westhoff 1 (Port)

 

Crowd: 39,936

 

 

Umpires: Chamberlain, Harris, Ryan.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Hi Cheryl,

    Last year, Richmond won over Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval, so I thought your Tigers would won on Friday. I tipped Richmond indeed.

    But I reckon being waved their scarves overwrote my tipping and hope. I can sense your pain.

    I’m glad that Jess didn’t change the club to support. You would be upset when Suns kick a goal and play their song. I can’t stand it.

    I’m so happy to support St Kilda even we are so struggling.

    All the best

    Yoshi

  2. Cheryl Critchley says:

    Thanks Yoshi. It was disappointing but we are still so excited about how the Tigers are going! And thankfully Jess stuck with them and is now enjoying the benefits of being loyal :-)

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