Round 15 – Adelaide v West Coast: June 30 Write-off?

I’d originally planned our now-traditional annual Adelaide Oval visit for the Crows’ Round 2 fixture against The Wrap’s Striped Marvels, but had to settle for a mediocre matchup against the Relocatables in Round 6 instead when outside events intervened.

When Mrs Swish and I returned east from that trip, our youngest, the now at Uni, promoted at the MCG, Outlet 2IC Girl suggested that she would like to take a mid-season break during her mid-semester break.

When we went to 5-2 after seeing off Carlton at home, the Round 15 game against the Weagles looked like it could be the clash of the season to date. It also had the benefit of being the last game for the financial year, so I reasoned that I could write off the trip as a tax deduction if I took a couple of photos of AO cash registers and walked past an accountant’s office in Pirie Street while we were there.

With the tickets locked in for the return trip, the only thing that became a write off from that point was Adelaide’s 2018 season, as they found new ways to become a national laughing stock with more low points than the World Anaconda Limbo Festival.

After enduring the appalling second half at the freezing MCG against the Hawks, the next three Crows games against West Coast, Richmond and Geelong looked as appealing to me as a Sky News 24 Hour Georgina Downer Appreciation Marathon. At least we’d be able to look forward to fresh Fruchocs, I thought.

That was before a Darlingless and Kennedyless West Coast capitulated meekly to Essendon at SBS Dome during our bye week, then lost LeCras while our injury list subsided somewhat (although we did lose Eddie Betts to hamstring mindfulness). The Crows suddenly looked better without actually doing anything on the park for a fortnight. Were the odds-makers losing their collective mind by installing Adelaide as favourites when they’d shown no signs of cohesive footy for months?

We arrived on Friday, strolling over to the Central Market around dusk, passing by a sparsely attended pop-up ice-skating carnival in Victoria Square en route. Our go-to Asian food court was more chocka than a Fred Bloch impersonators convention so we accidentally discovered Nordburger, Adelaide’s very own fast food chain. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to admit that we went there and enjoyed it, but the three of us thought that it was way better than some of the premium priced joints back home, let down only by the Tip Top (but not tip top) buns that they used.

 

Seeing the Cats struggle against the Dogs when we got back to our digs saw the OptimismometerTM move a couple of clicks to the right (or was that the RealismometerTM trending leftwards?).

The 4:05pm bounce made for an awkward Saturday; too early for us to venture out too widely as I knew I’d be looking nervously at the clock if we went too far from the action. Mrs Swish, bless her heart, knew that I’d want to drop in on O’Connell’s second hand book shop, which always seems to be closed whenever we are in Adelaide, so put up with my half an hour or so of browsing. I only left with one book and here it is, that most South Australian of South Australian publications (although as Almanacker Mark Duffett pointed out, Les and The Don were both NSW imports).

Ms Uni Girl did a bit of clothes trying on, then we grabbed a light lunch, the morning’s pancake repast still sitting solidly in our guts not fully digested.

On the way back to our weekend HQ, I popped into the AFL Store as it is a novelty for us to see one of these places with any Crows gear at all. I was told that we don’t need any more coffee mugs (“but they’re 2 for $5”) but I wasn’t prepared for this grotesquery on the back wall, which inspired much national comment.

I decided that we’d take the scenic route to the ground, taking the opportunity to show Ms Uni Girl what a real university looked like, rather than the minor league institution that she decided to attend. “I’ll see your Baillieu and raise you a Barr-Smith”. She thinks that I feel threatened, but I secretly know that she would leave Old Arts behind permanently to spend just a day in the Napier Building.

One of the awful things about a Saturday game at AO is that Bob Neil #1 remains stoically vacant. The vast Blacks fleet of Jaguars, MGs and Ford Lasers that normally park on War Memorial Drive would not have left any room for those Crow fans that could not catch one of the scores of Adelaide Oval Express buses that bring the tricolour hordes in from Flagstaff Hill, Somerton Park or Ridgehaven.

After a brief line up and bag check (performed psychically rather than physically if the cursory patting bag patting routine employed was any indication), we took the stairs to Row X of the Jack Oatey Stand. Our legs are still aching.

Which Adelaide was going to turn up today? The one that beat Richmond and Sydney or the one that’s been there since early mid-May? How would the two Rory’s (sic) go? Will the Eagles manufacture a forward line?  Did Baz rely on Peter Plus too much? Was Pilko’s contribution underrated? What’s Steve Whitham doing these days? Would Jane Reilly have kicked on without winning the Beach Girl quest? Winne Pelz v Indira Naidoo?

Adelaide, so much to answer for.

 

The first half was nothing to write home about, which was fortunate because there were no mail deliveries until Monday anyway.

Defensively, Adelaide held up pretty well. Rory Laird didn’t miss a beat after a few weeks off but as Max Hall used to say, for mine Sauce Jacobs stood head and shoulders above the rest, after having a shocker against Hawthorn. He was the fortunate recipient of a gift goal in the second quarter, our only other accurate pops were provided by <sigh> Josh Jenkins.

It had been a crap game dour spectacle to half time as the mid-winter Adelaide brightness gave way to the multi coloured twilight hues above the Western suburbs. (Alvin Purple Stardust perhaps?). We were still in it, but we weren’t playing well enough to win.

 

Adelaide’s third quarters have been their worst all year (thanks to http://www.matterofstats.com/mafl-team-dashboards/matterofstats-2018-team-dashboard-for-round-15 for the confirmation). We, along with the other 44k there thought that Adelaide’s season was about as alive as Craig Hutchison’s Gold Logie chances after Scott Lycett scored his second major. Tex’s belated goal square scramble in the shadows of three quarter time was a rare positive contribution from the skipper. Another less than stellar third quarter.

Even though the statistical indicators could have been interpreted as the Crows just needing to make some fine tuning in the finishing off department, it didn’t look like that from our lofty possie. It was very rare to see an Adelaide player find free space or snaffle a loose ball. 6.10 to 10.6 seemed a fair reflection of both team’s efforts and efficiency.

From the bounce, Tex had a hasty early ping from a long way out which missed once more. More of the same, and not in a good way. Not long after, he presented about 55m out, launched one from his sweet spot and you could hear the crowd collectively edge forward in their seats.

Rising Star contender Tom Doedee turned the game when he forced a “ball, yeah” in the tennis courts pocket and registered his first goal in senior company. In a grab reminiscent of Port’s Tim Evans, Tex left terra firma for the first time in many weeks, wheeled around and tied the scores.

West Coast hadn’t had a forward chance to that point of the quarter and it just got worse when Hugh Greenwood capped off an forward thrust from Gallucci. A few minutes later, Hampton converted from outside the Vic Richardson Gates but there was still enough time for Adelaide to lose if they were bad (or cocky) enough.

Yeo gave the Eags a sniff, but 1.1 from the Seeeeed sealed an unexpected win.

Our travelling party was less than impressed with the initial 75% of the game, but all agreed that the last ¼ made up for it. The Swish family Adelaide Oval streak continues, now up to five in a row since 2015.

With the winter chill setting in, we briskly made our way back into the city, wanting to take full advantage of Adelaide’s famed nightlife. We weren’t disappointed.

And we were back home in time for the replay.

I can’t see us making the eight, everything would need to go right and some of the mobs above us would need to fall in a hole. Our 2018 season has a very faint pulse. Which is better than the alternative.

Bring on Richmond. (Actually, I’ll be pleased if we can get the margin below 119 48 points).

Per afl.com.au

ADELAIDE         1.3  3.8   6.10   12.16 (88)
WEST COAST     2.4  5.5   10.6  12.6   (78)

GOALS
Adelaide: Walker 3, Jenkins 2, Jacobs, Fogarty, Poholke, Doedee, Greenwood, Hampton, Seedsman
West Coast: McGovern 2, Lycett 2, Cripps 2, Shuey, McInnes, Ah Chee, Gaff, Ryan, Yeo

BEST
Adelaide: Walker, M.Crouch, Laird, Gibbs, Jacobs, Doedee
West Coast:  Gaff, Shuey, Hutchings, Cripps, Hurn, McGovern

INJURIES
Adelaide: Mackay (ribs)
West Coast: Nil 

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Mollison, Stephens, Rosebury

Official crowd: 44,771 at the Adelaide Oval

About Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt

Saw my first SANFL game in 1967 - Dogs v Peckers. Have only ever seen the Dogs win 1 final in the flesh (1972 1st Semi) Mediocre forward pocket for the AUFC Blacks (1982-89) Life member - Ormond Netball Club -That's me on the right

Comments

  1. Peter_B says:

    I enjoyed the Les Favell memory. And the pix of Thebby Town Hall on your AFLX feed. Agree that Sauce Jacobs was clearly BOG all night.
    All the parrots in the pet store are raving about the Texan. Thought he was terrible and clearly beaten by Yeo for 3 quarters. He’ll be a footballer when he learns to play the ball and not the man.
    I’m back in cold and miserable Perth. Liam Ryan hit a tree on Sunday night. First shot on target by an Eagle in the last month..

  2. Dave Brown says:

    Good stuff, Swish. Glad you all were able to find equal parts good and hideous in our fair city, once more. Working in a building that overlooks Victoria Square, I was shocked the other day to turn around and see a ferris wheel – presumably it will get ‘busy’ during the school holidays.

    Relying on the delayed coverage on free to air, I was saved the trouble of watching the first two and a half quarters of the Crows and tuned in for the end. The Friday night game as it turned out was a highlight, Walkerville falling just short of Tea Tree Gully by three points.

  3. Rulebook says:

    Great stuff,Swish love the photos spot on bloody vfl garbage and good to see,Rundle mall going off,
    entertaining read yes the footy especially the 1st half was deplorable by both sides

  4. Ha ha, a Crows cap with a VFL logo on it. Amazing!

    A great write-up, Swish.

    I must agree: that university playing fields area is stunning.

    No Kennedy/Darling, no West Coast? A good come-back by the Crows.
    Must have been an enjoyable final term.

  5. By the way, where is O’Connell’s?? I must drop in there next time I am in town.

  6. Luke Reynolds says:

    Nordburger short for Norwoodburger??

    Great read Swish, always enjoy your trips back to the City of Churches.

  7. Peter Crossing says:

    City of Ledgers?
    Enjoyable read McSwish.
    Uni Oval hasn’t recovered from the Past Players reunion of the previous week as yet.
    We held up the drive-thru queue in the Hilton Hotel (the real one) bottle-o watching the finale on the big screen.
    Well spotted in O’Connells. As good a cricket book as any from that era. And your find matches Mickey R’s recent $5 purchase of David Headon’s Best Ever Australian Sports Writing in the Salvo shop next to the Broadway Hotel.
    Aah the Broadway on a cold winter’s eve.
    Me: “I’ll have a black and tan please”
    Young bloke behind bar: “What’s that?”
    Older bloke behind bar: “Don’t you know we’ve got Coopers Dark Ale these days, mate”
    Me: “Sigh”

  8. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    Thanks PB – it was one of the first cricket books that I’d read. There was another, autographed copy there, but I thought that $50 was a bit rich.

    Is the Ice Arena still going at Thebby Dave? If so, that would make the Vic Square circus even more incongruous. Enjoyed the idea of a replay, not sure what I would have thought if I was a local and had to wait for it.

    We should have thought about a trip to Alberton on Sunday ‘Book, but the M-I-Law’s homemade pasties won the day.

    Thanks Smokie – allow a few hours if you go to all of these

    https://indaily.com.au/arts-and-culture/books-and-poetry/2018/06/28/the-never-ending-story-of-adelaides-second-hand-bookshops/

    Ta Luke, apparently not, even though the first one opened on The Parade.

    I meant City of Sledgers, “Railways”

  9. Dave Brown says:

    Not only is the Ice Arena still going, Swish, but there is also a ‘winter wonderland’ set up this time of year in Glenelg. And they’re going to build a permanent rink in Elizabeth, too. I’d say the market was saturated if it wasn’t frozen.

  10. What’s Steve Whitham doing these days? is a very good question, Swish. He might be playing connect four with John Pemberton and Greg Meyer.

    Personally being in Melbourne for the weekend it seems you and I were engaged in some kind of Pina Colada Song dynamic. Well done on getting the Crows home, while I, err, helped the Power salute.

    Looks like it was another successful trip home for you and Mrs. Swish. Hopefully see you next time.

  11. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    I know what went on at the Elizabeth Pool in my day Dave. Never skate on yellow ice.

    Mickey, would you believe that tonight on the way home I was listening to a podcast hosted by Studley – his guest was John Pemberton. We Sunday breakfasted at the same place that you met with Mrs Swish and I a few weeks ago. They asked me whether my scruffy intellectual friend would be joining us again but I told them that he’d gone on a cauliflower soup bender over the border.

  12. Mark Duffett says:

    Though I sadly bade farewell to my copy years ago, I can still remember a particular passage from Favell’s book. He recounts watching a teammate smash one through the covers “like a jindivik. ‘Gee, I wish I could hit them like that’, I said. “If you got your feet closer to the ball, you would” came a voice from the back of the dressing room. Sir Donald Bradman doesn’t miss much.”

    “Like a jindivik”. A phrase so redolent of this particular time and place. Regrettably a simile that has fallen from popular usage, if it ever was such. Irrespective of his birth, Les showed he was South Australian through and through.

  13. Charlie Brown says:

    Swish, the Asian Food Court you contemplated eating at was almost destroyed by fire this morning. Very crispy noodles I understand.

  14. Baz and Pilko? John Vincent was streets ahead!
    Uni Oval doesn’t look to have changed much!

  15. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    “Alvin Purple Stardust”. That cracked me up Swish. Great report. Is this the start of a late surge for the Crows?

  16. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    Had to look up “jindivik” Mark, thanks for the tip.

    I saw that news Charlie, it seems that the damage was somewhat targeted.

    6% – you are 100% re Vinnie, but alas, he isn’t up to much these days. The flash electronic scoreboard and the plush Long Room are a bit hard to spot too.

    I’ll keep checking for In: Bradbury in the Crows selections Phil, but it’s a big ask from here.

  17. Dave Brown says:

    And of course, sadly, Jeff Sunderland died a couple of days ago. I don’t think it had anything to do with your visit.

  18. Peter Crossing says:

    Swish
    Love your work.

    Ledgers vs Sledgers
    Here ’tis. The best I can come up with under the circumstances.

    Ledgers and Sledgers but no Jindiviks
    City of Ledgers
    City of Sledgers
    I know of some ledgers
    And one or two sledgers
    I once read in a ledger
    An account of a sledger
    Well known as an edger
    Whose teammate alleges
    That watching him bat
    Caused nerves to fray at the edges

    After stumps
    Near the hedges
    Over gin and lemon wedges
    This particular sledger
    Made numerous pledges
    There would be no more edges
    Or sledges
    To add to the ledger

  19. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    Well played Noughts.

    In one of my rare appearances for Central Juniors U15s, Mark Bishop kicked one off the side of his right boot and was told by Scoffa Davies that he was “even edgy at footy”. A cricket/footy edge sledge.

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