AFL Round 13 – Adelaide v North Melbourne: Western Democracy and the Wally Grout Snack Bar

Is there a better-named wine than Jim Barry’s Cover Drive?

A classy and balanced cabernet sauvignon, it is a highlight of the week we’ve been home in South Australia. Earlier, some old school friends said, “Let’s go to the Prince Albert.” I’m glad they didn’t say, “Let’s get a Prince Albert” as that would’ve been excruciating and brash.

So there I was on Thursday, waiting in the dining room of Adelaide’s Prince Albert Hotel and contemplating my glass of red. Years ago a mate met Nick Cave after an incendiary gig at the Thebby. Instead of the usual, fawning fan stuff, he opened with, “Who do you think was the better cover driver? David Gower or GS Chappell?” N. Cave had no hesitation. Australia’s thirty-fifth Test captain.

As these images of cricket, the Clare Valley and music that NME once described as that of the “gothic psycho-sexual apocalypse” settled around me, I received an invitation by text to Saturday’s Crows and Kangaroos match. The digital carrier pigeon!

In a flat and featureless city, Adelaide Oval is a soaring cathedral. I move through the Saturday evening of our screen-doored suburbs, and I’m struck by the darkness. In Singapore there are no shadowy spaces; it is an eternal casino, drowning in excessive light. As Nick Cave would probably note, there’s a certain comfort in the gloom. He’s not a man of the tropics.

Its official website states, “Adelaide Oval will exceed Australian design standards for stadium toilet facilities by 30 percent.” My equatorially conditioned bladder views this happily for winter has finally arrived, with the autumnal glow replaced violently by rain and a decidedly Antarctic wind. Tonight is clear and fine, and this is my first experience at the new ground.

The redevelopment is striking, but the best features are those that have not been re-developed: the scoreboard, the hill and the Moreton Bay Figs. Despite the half-billion dollar investment, the historic flora remains iconic. What other major stadia also have trees?

We get a beer from the new David Hookes Terrace Bar. In a mounted case above the fridges is a set of stumps, a cap and Hookesy’s Gray-Nicolls double scoop bat. The James Squire Pale Ale is good, and reminiscent of the beverage experience I had in 1989 at the Gabba’s tragically demolished Wally Grout Snack Bar. There’s West End Draught on tap, but I remark that there’s no earthly situation I can conceive in which I’d be adequately homesick to actually drink one.

The opening period is mostly dour until Eddie Betts slots a boundary line snap from in front of the Gavin Wanganeen Stand. It ignites the crowd, and is a great kick, but my friend, R. Bowden notes that the Adelaide oval’s pockets are shallow, unlike those at Football Park, so there will probably be more of these. It will be fascinating to watch as the idiosyncrasies of this new/old venue emerge.

Podsiadly continues to perform his role with energy and imagination. He kicks two vital goals. In the third quarter a full moon hangs above the Max Basheer Stand like a Monet, while on the wing below Pods takes a gigantic mark. I understand why Geelong released him, but unlike other mature-aged Crows recruits (R. Burns, W. Carey), he is a success.

Apart from a patch in the second quarter in which they kick three goals, the Kangaroos do not threaten. North’s forward line is dysfunctional, and they only claim nine contested marks. Petrie is invisible, and Thomas is gifted his four goals by Martian umpiring and absurdly generous teammates.

Dangerfield is solid, but does not dominate. I suggest that this is positive as on occasion Adelaide can present as a one-man team. Across half-back Brodie Smith has his best game in the tri-colours, and rebounds frequently. His goal from fifty in the third quarter is telling.

Tex Walker seems to be growing in confidence. His vision and ball use is inventive and he takes five bustling contested marks. But his kicking fluctuates wildly, bizarrely. R. Bowden says that he appears to have a wooden leg. However, he asserts himself across half-forward, pushing opponents away, like blowflies. We remember that, after all, Tex is a Broken Hill boy.

Brent Harvey is the Kangaroos’ best player. Despite his age, he is still quick and finds space throughout the game. Someone yells out, “Good work Harvey, but Joe Hockey needs you to play until you’re seventy!”

It’s the best fun I’ve had at Adelaide oval since the 2006 Ashes Test. I was there on Day Five when SK Warne bowled us to an improbable, famous victory with 4/49 in England’s second innings. As my train speeds through the wintry night, I reflect upon Nick Cave, and the aesthetic joy of various Cover Drives.

 

ADELAIDE                                     4.4   8.7    13.10   16.13   (109)

NORTH MELBOURNE                  1.2   4.3    6.7        10.13    (73)

 

GOALS

Adelaide: Kerridge 4, Betts 3, Podsiadly 2, Walker 2, Jenkins 2, Wright, Smith, Mackay

North Melbourne: Thomas 4, Harvey 2, Hansen, Greenwood, Bastinac, Petrie

 

BEST

Adelaide: Smith, Betts, Kerridge, Sloane, Podsiadly, Dangerfield

North Melbourne: Harvey, Greenwood, Cunnington, Thomas, Hansen

INJURIES

Adelaide: Nil

North Melbourne: Nil

 

SUBSTITUTES

Adelaide: Brodie Martin replaced Matt Crouch in the third quarter

North Melbourne: Liam Anthony replaced Robbie Tarrant in the third quarter

 

Reports: Nil

 

Umpires: Fleer, Bannister, Rosebury

 

Official crowd: 47,205 at Adelaide Oval

 

Our votes: Brodie Smith-3, Rory Sloane-2, Brent Harvey-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Mickey Randall

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption Favourite song: Khe Sahn Favourite holiday destination: Gold Coast Favourite food: steak Favourite beer: VB Best player seen: Dogga Worst player seen: Frogga Last score on beep test: 3.14159 Favourite minor character in Joyce’s Ulysses: Punch Costello

Comments

  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Good to see that J-Pod and Eddie are settling in. I’m impressed with the work around the ground that Podsiadelaide is doing, I don’t recall a Crows player able to perform a similar role before.

    And being there in the flesh Mickey, you didn’t have to put up with the inanities of BT & Co, sharing with us such insights that J-Pod had started his AFL career quite late (who knew?) or that Crows assistant coach Noble is “refutedly” quite good. At least three times the ball went sailing through the big sticks without even a hint from the commentary that a “shot on goal” was in the offing.

    I didn’t realise until I saw that stats that Kerridge’s four goals were his only kicks.

    Agree with you about Thomas’ four goals – he is a downhill skier in the Jean-Claude Killy league, all he seemed to care about was how many goals he kicked, not how is team was going (although “… glass houses …” in my case)

    They should have kept some of the hard, grey painted wooden benches from the old Creswell Stand as part of the redevelopment if they were really serious about heritage.

    And Mostyn Evan should feel hard done by, as a one-time captain of “the old Adelaide Football Club”

    http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/64049460

  2. Lovely reminiscence Mickey. The ‘screen-doored suburbs’ says it all. I’m going home in a month’s time to see my Dad, and take in the Hawks/Crows game at the Adelaide Oval. Love that they have kept some grassed mounds, the Moreton Bay figs at the Cathedral End, and the traditional score board.
    Loved the Thebby reference. You can always tell an interstate interloper when they ask how to get to “The Barton”.
    Nothing evokes childhood and adolescent memories in me like cricket and footy grounds and the Adelaide Oval in particular. I’m eternally 12 years old as soon as I walk through the gates.

  3. Thanks Swish and Peter. J Pod and Eddie are both excellent recruits. I’m most impressed by their defensive efforts too.

    I did say that a bonus of going to the game was not sitting through BT. I saw Eddie’s goal this morning and heard BT’s commentary of it. I could only guess at the stirring sense of appropriate theatre that someone like Tim Lane would have given the moment.

    Finding a spot for the “Duck Pond” banner that was always on the fence on the southern mound during the cricket would increase the heritage value.

    Peter- I reckon you’ll really enjoy your Adelaide oval visit. Please share your thoughts on it. Perhaps couple the footy with a concert at The Thebby!

    Thanks.

  4. Dave Brown says

    Nice work, Mickey! I managed to get there last night too, sitting cheer squad adjacent at the southern end. Smith was outstanding and it’s great to have someone like Podsiadly who actually has some footy smarts and a feel for the game.

    There was a real sense of humour at the game last night – the laughter when the young Roos supporter’s clapper thingy fell apart on the big screen, the howls when Jenkins was highlighted as the man of the moment, and the umpires were clearly having a laugh when they pinged Browny.

    The new stadium works really well with the exception of the buses, which turn King William Road into a sprawling and confused mess post game. Hence the people streaming out the gates with 5 minutes to go.

  5. Thanks Dave.

    I agree that it was a good-natured evening. I laughed every time the “Crow call” came over the PA following a goal. It sounds like a seagull squawking for a hot chip! An ornithologist might be able to point out the differences, but I can’t hear them!

    The footbridge and the trains worked pretty well. From final siren to where I’m staying was about forty-five minutes. About the same as Footy Park, but free!

  6. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Great report Mickey great summary , Brodie Smith is getting better and Tahlia continue to improve and are in line re all aust selection . Love the Joe Hockey line re
    Harvey love your description and feel of the night you have given us of your experience . Watched part of the game at the general havelock where a bonus is you can’t hear , BT . If you saw Ad Uni A grade kick 11 22 yest and your next question is did , Nick Gill ex crow make his debut for the blacks yest ? Yep in his defence he did kick , 3 Gls as we’ll ! Thanks Mickey !

  7. Annie McDonnell says

    Hello Micheal . It’s Singapore Annie….I am glad you got to see a game at the Crowval…As you know I managed to see the power v crows game in March before flying back it Singapore.. That was a very forgettable game..Kev and I tried to catch the crows v freo game in a sports bar in Istanbul but the pub didn’t open til 11.30 which was half time..At that stage we were in front..unfortunately the second half was very forgettable..luckily the manager couldn’t get the telecast to work..he then proceeded to tell us all about his love affair with a young girl from Sideny. Now we are on the south coast of Turkey and after a day sailing around on a boat looking at ruins and delicious little villages, I eagerly rushed back to hotel and opened AFL web site to see a 6 goal victory to the crows…what a great end to a beautiful day..We were going to have an AFD day but headed down to the terrace to celebrate Eddie’s great goal and Tex’s bullocking body work…Wonder where we will catch the EssendonGame? I think we will be in Mykonos for that.

  8. Thanks Malcolm. Agree that Talia should be on the long list for AA selection. Well done to The Blacks too. Always good to be in the Havey, especially when you can’t hear BT!

    Hello Annie. Sounds like you’re enjoying your trip. I wish I was with you for the Freo game. Most miserable second half; still most teams get rolled in Perth. You may well see many of the Bombers players in Mykonos too! They could already be on their end of season trip! Apparently Hirdy is now going to buy the vineyard where he is staying in France. Travel well!

  9. Poofta bear says

    Wow Mikey. it was terrible good. Your old school friends at the Prince Albert sound like spunks. Luv ya xxx

  10. Hello PB. They most certainly are! Glad you found it “terrible good.”

  11. Luke Reynolds says

    Great stuff Mickey. Don’t mind a James Squire Pale Ale myself. Glad the Crows performed for you given you’d travelled from Singapore for the game!

  12. Thanks Luke. It was an excellent evening. I was keen to experience the redeveloped oval, but was worried about how the Crows might perform, given their inconsistent season. Most people reckon it was Adelaide’s best game of 2014 (so far).

    The James Squire Pale Ale also performed very solidly.

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