AFL Preliminary Finals – Hawthorn v Adelaide: The words I most want to read

by Simon Wilcox


Six to one in a two horse race…



The article I most want to read would have to a be a nicely worded one about how all the pundits had got it wrong about Adelaide and their right to be in the prelim. It would only be a small piece of humble pie with no cream on the side because in the prelim weekend battle of the birds the two most likely to win did in fact get up. But it so nearly wasn’t the case.


I suppose the followers of the poos and wees jumpers will tell you it would have been a travesty if the best performed team in the second half of the season didn’t get an invitation to the big dance. They will say they were almost robbed when Schoenmakers forgot The G is a porpoise-friendly zone and got a free kick to the Hawks reversed into a Crows goal. They will say they kicked poorly had more entries and made skill errors that were uncharacteristic. However, with Walker keeping Gibson honest and stopping him from being third man Tippett was proving too strong and mobile. Buddy, despite the most open final in years, was being well held and even when he grabbed Rutten in a head lock and got a free from Truck’s retaliation was unable to convert.


A fast open game would seem to favour the Hawks scoring options but it was a Taylor Walker goal after the half time siren that put the Crows in front for the second week in a row at the big break. The 50 metre penalty to Shiels which gave Hawthorn their second goal was soft, the throw against Brodie Smith from the umpire 120m away was just plain wrong. Another throw against Tippett when he obviously got a fist on the ball, or the fact he wore Hale as a necklace on a number of occasions without being compensated was to be expected. Interstate teams never seem to get the rub of the green from the umpires under the weight of crowd support for the home side.


Watching the game again in replay it would have made little difference; the result in the end was the right one. Burgoyne’s inspired steal in the centre from a Jacob’s tap that wrested the lead back almost immediately after the Crows kicked back in front was crucial.  The devastation on the Adelaide faces was not a team that felt fortunate to be there to make up the numbers, they genuinely expected to win. With Sando’s structures and Dangerfield’s endeavour they almost did.


I would love to read about Brodie Smith’s amazing poise for a rookie, or the way Rory Sloane beat three and literally ripped the ball out of hardened Hawk warrior Jordan Lewis’s arms to send it forward in that manic last quarter. Whether I read about it or not matters little as the window for the Crows is now officially open.


The other good news is that next week looks even better with the Hawks exposed as mortal and the Swans with an extra days break making things look pretty even.


It could be one of the great grand finals.



Leave a Comment