AFL Round 8 – Adelaide v St.Kilda: Young love survival guide, part 4 – the footy

Score a footy and Crows gear

Score a footy and Crows gear

So you’ve been hanging out, dating, it’s complicated, in a relationship for a while now. You’re an Adelaide Crows fan and he’s a St Kilda Saints man and you’ve voluntarily decided to attend a match between these two teams for the first time in your courtship. You might find it hard to sleep the night before because you’re that excited for the two loves of your life to come together. But alas, game day rolls around and things don’t go according to plan. The rosy picture you had in your head is slowly darkening as inevitably one team starts to win as the other loses.

Below is a list of four key strategies for surviving a relationship when your other half supports the opposition. This list is compiled from personal experiences of the match Crows versus Saints at AAMI Stadium, round eight 2013.


1.  Do your homework

Doing your pre-match homework relates to sussing out your partner’s level of passion and their fan form leading up to the game. My Mr Saints, Jason, falls into the fanatical category of supporter-ship. He bleeds red, black and white and has felt the full brunt of St Kilda’s inability to win a premiership. He doesn’t take losing well.

Adjust your state of mind to compliment, not hinder, your lover’s level of keenness. I decided to go into the game with a level head and a may the best team win attitude.

I was thankful for the fairly even opening quarter where behinds reigned supreme. Each side managed two goals four with Mackay and McKernan booting majors for the Crows and Milne and Saad converting for the Saints.

The game was unfolding how I had hoped. Play was even-steven resulting in both Jason and I sitting comfortably, and still next to each other, at quarter time.

2.  Bite your tongue

As footy fans we can all get a little rowdy from time to time. Who doesn’t love cheering like a maniac and ripping shreds off the opposition? But it is absolutely pivotal to bite your tongue when your team is taking on your beloved’s club. Leave the insults and finger pointing at home. It’s just not worth the trouble.

I said so long to my Nick Riewoldt show pony calls and I most certainly did not boo Stephen Milne. I didn’t even utter a ‘Hurry up and kick it!’ When Ahmed Saad took 20 years to take his set shots at goal.

The second quarter played out much like the first with both teams struggling with their execution across the ground. However the Crows were starting to climb on top of the Saints and held a steady nine point advantage at half time.

3.  Show support for the opposition (even if you don’t mean it). This is arguably the most controversial of the five key strategies but I can’t stress its importance. It is imperative to show support for the opposition and even more so when they’re is losing. Yes, for most this will be a bitter pill to swallow especially if your significant other barracks for opposing rival teams. Thank god I dodged the Port Adelaide bullet.

Showing support for the opposition is essentially a way of showing support for your partner. Unless you’re in a dysfunctional relationship I’m guessing you don’t enjoy seeing them upset. This is when a gentle show of support can go a long way. And yes, you can fake it. Lets be honest deep down you’re bursting inside with joy that your team is winning.

Take the third term for example. St Kilda hung on for about ten minutes before Adelaide kicked away with the game. You know it’s not going to be your night when Crows fullback Daniel Talia kicks a goal to outscore your full forward. By the final break, after Nathan van Berlo kicked truly after the siren, we had a situation on our hands.

Here, a gentle and encouraging pat on their shoulder when their team does something well or a comment about how Jack Steven is really your favourite player (remember faking is allowed) can show humbleness and most importantly compassion for your love.

4.  Be prepared – It never ends well

Employing this final strategy will ultimately guarantee success in the above key points. You don’t have to be a genius to know there is always, and I mean ALWAYS, a winner and a loser in sport. This means there will always be a winner and a loser in your relationship. Unless you just so happened to be a Fremantle or Sydney fan this past weekend (FYI they drew so technically no one lost).

Preparation and handling yourself in victory, as well as defeat, are the keys to the success of this strategy. Prepare yourself and your partner by talking about the possibility of defeat. This will be harder if you have both tipped your own team to win.

Jason had not tipped St Kilda to beat  Adelaide however, a blistering last quarter where the Crows piled on the goals and the Saints fell by the wayside did not help this cause. My Saints man was just as disappointed in defeat as if he had expected his side to snare the four points. This made cheering for my team, the Crows, in the fourth term near impossible if I wanted to walk out of AAMI Stadium with my man on my arm.

The air was admittedly a tad icy between us but by showing humility and graciousness in victory, as Adelaide stitched up a 40 point win, I held at bay World War III. To Jason’s credit too he came around not long after the final siren and an arm around my shoulder made everything just fine.

ADELAIDE            2.4          3.8          9.12        12.15     (87)

ST KILDA              2.4          3.5          5.7          6.11        (47)



Adelaide: Jenkins 2, Lynch 2, Mackay, McKernan, Vince, Thompson, Talia, Douglas, van Berlo, Porplyzia.

St Kilda: Milne 2, Saad 2, Armitage, Riewoldt



Adelaide: Sloane, Mackay, Douglas, Jacobs, Talia St Kilda: Montagna, Newnes, Roberton, Riewoldt



Sloane 3, Mackay 2, Talia 1


Official Crowd: 34,605




  1. Gareth Andrews says

    Anne I am surprised he hasnt already converted to being an Adelaide fan!!!

  2. Anne

    Realy good piece, loved it.

    (although as a man I don’t understand the bit about faking being allowed?)

    My 13 year old follows Hawthorn, me Richmond, and we go as a grudge match every year. It’s been incredibly hard, when the Hawks are flying and the Tigers out of finals contention, to see us win, as we did last year, and not be able to enjoy it as he’s cracking a wobbly and demanding we leave early.

    Four excellent suggestions, well played


  3. Has never bothered me who my girlfriend barracked for (although have never had a girlfriend barrack for Essendon). Table manners, though, that’s an entirely different manner. I once broke up with a girl because she held her knife like a pencil. Unforgivable.

  4. Great piece, Anne. My own approach to game day when the OTHER half supports the OTHER team is to sit on the OTHER side of the stadium. This might seem somewhat extreme but I think it works well.

    The idea is to have a drink and/or meal with her before the game and then part ways just prior to the first siren. The assumption here is that she’ll have fellow supporters to meet up with for the game itself while I do the same with my mates.

    As the game unfolds I can ride the twists and turns, the highs and lows of the match (as can she) and throw myself (verbally, mainly) passionately into the game without having to worry about (a) copping a return tirade from my partner and (b) having her realise what a dickhead I can be.

    If my team wins a thriller, I can go nuts and sing the song with gusto without having to worry about how “she who sleeps next to me” will be feeling.

    Then, we’ll meet up for another drink after the game, and with the passion of the footy having subsided, the chance of any frosty silences is commensurately lessened.

    Whether or not any other sort of passion can be stirred later on that day or night might still depend on what the winning or losing margin was!

  5. Andrew Fithall says

    Excellent and amusing report Anne. I should have read this before I watched Collingwood Geelong with my Geelong supporting wife last Saturday night. I could have learned a few things and spared myself some icy responses. I definitely should not have related the Tony Wilson Friday night tweet that stated “Mrs Selwood says childbirth ‘a breeze’ because all the boys dropped the shoulders.“ Didn’t go over well. I thought that as a trained midwife, Helen would enjoy the humour. Apparently not.

    My lesson to you Anne, that it doesn’t get any easier with time.


  6. Lord Bogan says


    religion, politics, race, you can negotiate that petty stuff, but footy teams? I hate to admit this publicly, but I went out with a Carlton fanatic once. When things started to progress I couldn’t help but think of Ted Hopkins, Jezza, Wayne Harmes and George Harris at the most inconvenient times. I told her that it’s not you, it’s me and she agreed.

    Loved the article. Well done :)

  7. Brilliant stuff, Anne.
    As the years have passed, my wife (Bulldog supporter) and I (Kangas) have taken to having small wagers on the outcome of North v WB matches.
    These bets never involve money.
    Strangely, two weeks ago the missus announced that all bets were IFC until the Bulldogs improved.

  8. Andrew Weiss says

    Nice piece Anne.

    I took my son (who is 6 yrs old) to his first AFL game last year as he was barracking for Port and i was for Brisbane. Port were playing well for most of the match which made my son very happy and enabled me to praise the port players even though deep down i was cursing them.

    Then in the last quarter when Brisbane hit the front my inner thoughts came to the fore with me cheering loudly as Brisbane hit the front and kicked away to win the match only for my son to be in tears not only for the last part of the game but the 20 minute walk to the car after the match.

    Must remeber your pieces of advice for this year.

  9. Peter Fuller says

    I’m very grateful for your valuable rules, Anne. They are very timely for me, as my SO’s Lions host my Blues. Happily, she isn’t fanatical, which means that World War III isn’t likely to break out at our place, irrespective of the result, although I’ll probably be in a foul mood, if Carlton perform poorly.

    May I also congratulate you on your self-awareness which has you adopting (faked or not) the mantra of Vince Lombardi, “win without crowing (pardon the pun), lose without crying”.
    I appreciate the several thoughtful comments explaining how others negotiate this sensitive issue.

  10. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Great Amusing Peice Anne I must admit Personally you showed more decorum than I ever could and I concur completely with Gigs Approach

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