AFL Preliminary Final – Hawthorn v Adelaide: Crows refuse to bow out quietly

I enjoy the reduced stress associated with attending finals matches, when the Blues have put the cue in the rack. It affords an opportunity to watch football of generally high quality, with an attitude of relative detachment. Of course one is almost never an absolute neutral, most typically, in my case, there is a team I would prefer to lose, even if I don’t care that the other mob win. This is based on grievances nurtured sometimes over decades. However, my general attitude is to set out for the game hoping for a contest.

I’ve been spoilt in September 2012. I missed a ticket for Hawthorn-Collingwood, but I’ve been to the other finals at the “G” – each one a memorable battle.

Saturday night was a ripper, made so by Hawthorn’s surprising inefficiency, but more by Adelaide’s audacious defiance. The Crows refused to play their assigned role of a stepping stone in the Hawks’ Stairway to Heaven.

Even when the tide turned in Hawthorn’s favour with a third quarter surge which brought three goals in two and a half minutes* the Crows refused to capitulate. This goal spree seemed to put the game beyond Adelaide’s reach, and in truth it had seemed that this threat was in prospect, as the Hawks progressively asserted their (supposed) ascendancy from early in the 2nd quarter.

Adelaide seemed to be hanging by the most tenuous threads of their finger-nails at ¾ time, and it seemed inevitable that the favourites would blow them away in the final quarter. Hawks fans were then tortured by a series of behinds, as their heroes failed to land the killer blow. Meanwhile the Crows came like stealth bombers accumulating unexpected goals to snatch a lead that was not so much improbable as incredible. With the match now definitely on a knife-edge, Burgoyne’s matchless kicking precision enabled Rioli to mark close in, directly in front to restore Hawthorn’s lead. Barely two minutes later, Rioli’s hand-pass released Franklin for what must surely be the decisive goal. Yet even then, the Crows refused to concede, as they forced the ball forward several times. Walker demonstrated his ice-cold temperament yet again, with a set shot from beyond fifty, but his very deliberate preparation soaked up critical seconds. So when Hawthorn managed to clear the following centre bounce, time had run out for the gallant Crows.

* that’s elapsed time, so allowing the obligatory 45 seconds ad breaks, it must have been three goals in little more than a minute actual playing time.

About Peter Fuller

Male, 60 something, idle retiree; Blues supporter; played park/paddock standard football in Victoria's western district until mid teens, then Melbourne suburbs; umpired for approximately 20 years (still engaged on light duties - occasionally fieldie, regularly on the line). I thank the goddess at least weekly, that I was born and grew up in the southern States of Oz, so that Aussie Rules was my game from earliest childhood. I still love it with a passion, although I can't pretend to a thorough understanding of the tactical complexities of the contemporary game.

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