Round 3 – Port Adelaide v Adelaide: Crows Go Top Of The Tree
South Australia woke up a happy and contented state this morning due to the mighty Adelaide Crows defeating Lord Voldemort and his cronies by 17 points to move to the top of the AFL ladder. After all, we ARE the team for ALL South Aussies (that will hopefully upset a few people!).
The talk before the game was about how Port’s midfield, especially the bash and crash brothers Wines and Powell-Pepper, may prove too tough re inside ball. This stems from our disappointing finals loss to Sydney, is the footy world reading too much into that game? In reality Sydney have a very strong midfield (the loss of Tom Mitchell may have been bigger than we realised and upset the balance), they were just too good on the night. Sloane and Matt Crouch, in particular, have always been good in the clinches and so it was again tonight, at the end of the game Adelaide dominated contested possessions winning the stat 176-145.
Port got away to a flyer, kicking the opening 3 goals of the contest. The first set up by Charlie Dixon, giving off to Robbie Gray. Justin Westhoff and Ollie Wines followed, and as in the opening two games the Crows then responded and through their first real clean entry Taylor Walker kicked long to Sir Edward Betts who outbodied Tom Jonas to kick the good guys first, (there you are Michael Wilson),then a snap from Tom Lynch and we were back in it.
A couple of misses from the dark side and Port were up by 9 points at quarter time.
The Crows then completely dominated the 2nd quarter with consistent entries in to our 50 and locked the ball in but frittered away chances as well, kicking 5-6 to 2 straight. The football brain of Andy Otten was on display several times during this stanza, with some of these just innate and can’t be taught, he also kicked 2 goals and was crucial.
Half time arrived with the Crows leading by 9 points in what had been a frenetic and pulsating half of footy.
During the 3rd quarter the Crows gradually got on top, with not only the usual suspects in Sloane and Matt Crouch, but Richard Douglas and Curltly Hampton influential on ball. It was Hampton’s most promising game yet in the beautiful tri colors. Taylor Walker, who had been reasonably well held by Tom Clurey, burst in to the game kicked a couple of goals to kick the Crows clear only for Brett Eddy and the well held Chad Wingard to goal, and it was 14 points the difference at oranges time.
Port through Wingard had cut the margin to 6 pts but cometh the hour cometh the TEX, with a goal from 52 meters out, with suspense added by waiting for it to be confirmed by goal line video technology. ‘The connector’ the best half forward gut running effectively another mid fielder, the elite Tom Lynch (how’s that magical and half woman?) kicked a goal and then the impressive newcomer for Port, Sam Powell-Pepper kicked a goal (we had the pathetic garbage article in the week re the Crows supposedly asking its players to take a salary cut so Jake the Snake Lever and Mitch McGovern could be accommodated, how about a journo do some inquiries and find out about a Victorian club where there were heated arguments during the week re the non selection by that club of Powell-Pepper in the draft!). The game was effectively iced when Tex Walker
marked and played on and calmly bombed through a huge goal to get the fat lady singing. A dumb free kick given away by Paddy Ryder resulted in Riley Knight goaling, before a soft free kick to Robbie Gray ended the game with a 17 point win to the Crows.
The surprising match up of Kyle Hartigan on Robbie Gray was a masterstroke, with the athletic Hartigan winning the majority of one on ones. Luke Brown kept Chad Whinegard under control (deliberate misspelling of his name). Whinegard just doesn’t work hard enough at times as well. Rory Laird was unobtrusively effective as always and Daniel Talia kept his record of Charlie Dixon being his bitch intact. Port wise Ollie Wines was very good, hard at the contest as always, Travis Boak, Darcy Byrne-Jones and Brad Ebert were solid.
Before the game I thought the Crows batted deeper than Port and that it would get a more even contribution than Port with all 22 involved. In the end thankfully that is exactly what transpired!
Now to my soap box of the week, GOAL KICKING! Clubs will spend hours and hours on set plays and yet not practice anywhere near enough the aspect which decides more games than not. Richmond have won the first 3 games in which in two of them, Collingwood and West Coast kicked like drunken sailors gift wrapping the win, ditto Melbourne against Geelong yesterday. Hell, anyone would think Dees assistant coach Troy Chaplin was goal kicking coach (thought he’d escaped didn’t you!). Goal kicking should be the most practiced aspect of footy just like fielding should be in cricket, but it isn’t and effectively it is criminal that it is not!
In other footy happenings, Norwood got the season away to a good start in the SANFL with a workman like win over North Adelaide with a lot of improvement needed and hopefully to come. On arriving to umpire the Adelaide University FC Scum side and being handed the Payneham team I noticed the buzzing bees in Burrows and Battams, where is an Indian bookmaker when you need one for a plunge on the falcons (only joking)! A shout out to one of life’s great blokes in Damian Tofan who dislocated his elbow, geez it was horrific to look at thank goodness the doctor in hospital managed to put it back in (First dislocated elbow I reckon I have known in any game of footy playing or umpiring I have seen). The bastards defeated Fitzroy easily with Hamish Crouch remarking on the ground “hey ‘Book, surely the front page of the mail tomorrow will be bastards Premiership odds shorten dramatically, bugger the Crows and Power!” (Crouchy, your nonchalant best.) Payneham defeated Adelaide University in the A grade, going a long way to regaining the most prestigious trophy in world sport, The Ashwood-Darrington Cup!
So after 3 rounds the Crows are on top of the tree, unless there is a huge win today.
The birds are singing and it is a contented old Adelaide town, Go The Crows!
Adelaide 15-10-100 (Don Bradman) def Port Adelaide 12-11-83
Adelaide: Walker 4, Betts 3, Lynch, Otten, Knight 2, MacKay, Sloane
Port Adelaide: Wingard 2, R Gray 2, Wines 2, Eddy, Powell-Pepper, Dixon, Impey, Westoff, Boak
Adelaide: Sloane, M Crouch, Douglas, Lynch, Hartigan, Laird, Otten, Talia, Brown
Port Adelaide: Wines, Boak, Ebert, Hartlett, Ryder, Powell-Pepper, R Gray, Byrne-Jones
Malarkey Medal Votes: 3. Sloane (Ad), 2. Wines (PA), 1. M Crouch (Ad)