AFL Round 1 – Adelaide vs Essendon: And finally the game begins

Score a footy and Crows gear

Score a footy and Crows gear

Adelaide versus Essendon in the opening game of the season. Seems like the two clubs have been playing all summer what with the Tippett affair and the drugs scandal.

I’ve been waiting since Hawthorn’s lucky win against Adelaide in the Preliminary Final last year just to see how good the Crows are, anticipating the thoughts of going one step further this year.

In retrospect they are probably the right teams for the pipe opener having been the media meal for the last four months.  Tonight will be the final act of the saga and we will know whether Tippett has been a loss for the Crows and whether Essendon have had enough needle.

It will be a long year for Crows supporters as each home game will be the next to last for the chardonnay sipping, bratwurst sausage barbequing set prior to the game in the surrounds of AAMI Stadium. None of this will happen next year when games are moved to the Adelaide Oval. History will be gone, finished.  Like most other clubs the murder of Crows will now have to take public transport to the game and walk over the $40 million dollar bridge with not a barbie in site. Twenty three years of swilling and chomping down the sausage will be gone forever. Only ten more penultimates unless they make the finals.  Frank Lowy might have something to say as his Westfield shopping centre is only 200 metres away from the ground and its busiest day is always when the Crows are at home.

Fireworks opened the proceedings and Paddy Perfect was on fire, Tex had kicked a big goal but at the end of the first stanza it was all over for the Crows. The Dons hierarchy, perhaps the highest paid non-players in the competition got their heads together and changed the fate of the game completely.

Essendon took control of the match after that and had winners all over the ground.  Were they playing above themselves?  I don’t think so.

They had winners on every line and Dustin Fletcher in the back half was superb. I calculated that three players had not been born when Fletcher played his first game and 9 were under 2 years of age.  He looks like he could roll on forever.

It certainly had been a lacklustre performance from the Crows.  The way they were playing they would have had no hope anyway.  Their much vaunted “centre clearance speciality” was going at half price. Jacobs was putting up the price tags but the Dons onballers were slashing the prices and getting all the specials.  Perhaps the home team had been reading about themselves too much in the local Crowvertiser.

Essendon had winners all over the ground with Jobe Watson carrying on from where he left of in 2012. The Crows tried Matthew Wright on him but he could not match him in every department and in particular height.  The Croweaters lack a “mongrel” on baller who can contain a key opposition player and until they get one will struggle to let their key midfielders dominate games

Adelaide came back early in the final term but the superb Watson made the game save for his team.  His team mates ran from everywhere to congratulate him when he goaled.  It was pure emotion and love for their skipper – great stuff.  The captain had led by example all night and it was a great relief for a club that had everything thrown at them over the latter part of summer. They could not be denied for a great effort and in particular their dominance around the centre of the ground.  Their troubled summer was over and the autumn of their content was upon them.

For the Crows it looks like being a long year. The loss of Tippett will be minimal, he was only good one in four.  Jenkins will improve up forward but will need the “wingnut” Callinan to pull them together.  Walker will kick near enough to 100 goals this year.  He is easily the best forward kicker in the competition. The big loss will be the redoubtable Doughty.  He was sorely missed in the first game with his control across the back half.

Have I thrown in the towel?  Not yet but maybe they played out of their skins last year after years of predictable footy.

My long term predictions – Essendon 8th, Adelaide 9th.   Might even turn to the Cats for my highlights of 2013.

Brownlow:  Jobe Watson  (Essendon)

Coleman:  Taylor Walker (Adelaide)  94 goals


About Bob Utber

At 80 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he wanted to do as a 14 year-old living on the farm at Lang Lang. Talking, writing, watching sport. Now into his third book on sports history he lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny ) and a groodle named "Chloe On Flinders". How good is that.


  1. Ben Footner says

    Just a shame we drew Essendon at the start of the year when they are usually at their best, rather than after the midway point when they decent into mediocrity…..

    (just stirring bombers fans lol)

    Some worry signs for Adelaide for sure Bob, but I’m holding fire on my pessimists panic button until they serve up that effort for few games in a row.

    I think there’s too much quality on Adelaide’s list to think they won’t respond with a better effort in their next fixture (Brisbane in Brisbane will be a tough ask mind you).

  2. Oh Bob, what detail: “Twenty three years of swilling and chomping down the sausage will be gone forever.” I do envy the Crows fans for doing this before a game – mind you, I wouldn’t swap the pre-match schnitzel and pots at Geelong. But more importantly, why wasn’t the move to the Adelaide Oval knocked on the head so this tradition could be preserved? I’m stunned it was allowed to go ahead.

  3. Hi Bob, the problem with opening game losses is that we’ve waited so long and we’re disappointed and have to wait that little bit longer for a good show from our boys. We were whacked by the Suns. Both the Suns and Essendon have a good solid young team. You have the fabulous GS to watch and that will always give you pleasure. He is so confident and skilled. So just watch him!

    And there is always Geelong. Even I think they are awesome and worth a watch and was cheering as they beat Hawthorn. Hope to see you at some of the events soon,or at my exhibition. be well


  4. Thanks Bob, a great read. I was just thinking how much I would like to hear a new voice talking about the Crows and your article delivered perfectly!

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