AFL Round 16 – GWS v Adelaide: Day trippers

Round 16

Spotlight Stadium (Showground)

Sydney

July 5 2014

 

My friend Peter Crossing and I set out from Canberra at 10.30am for a day at the football in Sydney. Last time we made this trip we went to a Friday trial game in March at the Giants home ground in Blacktown. After an even game the Crows came away with a truck-load of serious injuries that contributed to their slow start to the season. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen again. Since then the Crows have easily beaten the Giants in Round 5 in Adelaide.

This time we’re off to the Showground at Homebush (Spotless Stadium). We both have split loyalties as we joined the Giants as our local Canberra team while retaining our love (in my case membership) of Adelaide. That means we sit quietly, taking it all in, happy that the Crows are winning but not wanting the Giants to be demolished. We share the raucous enjoyment of the travelling Crows fans nearby while feeling the pain of loyal Giants supporters.

Spotless Stadium impresses us. It is the sort of smaller stadium that regional AFL centres, like Canberra, should aspire to. Its more like Canberra Stadium, where the Brumbies and the Canberra Raiders play, than Manuka (Startrek) Oval. One day soon it will be full but there’s only 8,000 enthusiasts today. We’re sitting on the top deck of the Martin and Angus Stand with a terrific view. But it is a shaded ground, and in mid-winter the lights are on by three-quarter time.

Adelaide maintain their good recent form after last week’s great victory over Port. No one has played better against GWS on average over the past three years than Adelaide. In the same game last year Tom Lynch kicked ten goals.

The Crows are in charge almost all day other than a couple of small charges from the Giants. For instance, GWS scored two goals in two minutes to start the third quarter. Adelaide’s play featured great intensity around the ball and  good structure and spread, despite not having it all their own way against Shane Mumford in the ruck. They came out of defence much better than the Giants who were often hemmed in.

The Giants contributed to their own downfall and at key moments either made clangers to turn the ball over or kicked badly for goal when they were dangerous. Five minutes into the second quarter they were 0-10. No one wins games with that sort of a start. They gave the Crows a five goal lead at quarter time and Adelaide didn’t look back. They never really looked like losing.

Adelaide missed chances too, but when the game was there to be won they had smaller players, especially Eddie Betts, who made the most of opportunities around goal. He ended up with five. Running players, like Sloan, Ben Crouch, Thompson and Martin, were also strong and won the hard as well as the open ball. It was also great to have a runner likeHenderson back for his first game for the season after injury. Adam Treloar was the Giants best and Smith, Palmer and Coniglio battled hard.

On both sides the big forwards were largely absent. The swirling wind and some sun made conditions difficult for them. For GWS Patton and, especially Cameron, didn’t do much until very late in the game. For Adelaide Tex Walker was strangely out of sorts and didn’t register a single goal in Adelaide’s final score of 20.20. Podsiadly (three goals) and Jenkins (two) were Adelaide’s best talls and Lynch only kicked a single major this time. But all of Adelaide’s four big forwards are mobile and get up the ground well when they need to defend.

Once again against GWS, Adelaide had a bugger of a day with injuries. Rutten was subbed off early in the first quarter with concussion and Dangerfield once again took plenty of punishment. Thompson and Talia both suffered corkies; Thompson spent the last quarter on the bench and Talia went forward. One report after the game said that all four were in ‘grave doubt’ for next week’s big game against Hawthorn. Bugger! Let’s hope not.

The parking station eats my ticket but we’re on the road by 5.00pm, deciding to pass on the after-game function with Crows players and supporters at The Brewery in the Novotel. Luckily Peter is a skilled navigator and soon we’re on the A4, heading for the A7 and then the Hume Highway to Canberra. As it is its after 8.00pm by the time we’re back home, tired but satisfied that we’ve seen a good game. Adelaide look like possible contenders and I always enjoy the young Giants, like our favourites, Lachie Whitfield and Will Hoskin-Elliott.

Final scores: Adelaide 20.20:140 to GWS 9.18:72

My best:  Sloan (A) 3, Betts (A) 2, Martin (A) 1

Comments

  1. Dr Goatboat says

    Spoken like a good Redlegs man, John….fair and evenhanded….

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks John sounds like a great day with , Noughts . The Pomms wouldn’t mind being
    O 10 . Henderson back is v important for the crows , Brad Crouch is building form as are the redlegs big games for the crows and the legs v eagles this week thanks John

  3. kath presdee says

    I think you should give some credit to Timmy (Bear) Mohr for helping to keep Tex goal-less. Mohr is one of those players who has taken a big step up in performance this year (his third season) and his presence down back in the first part of the season was sorely missed. For mine he was one of the Giants’ best players – it wasn’t the men he was playing on who were scoring.

    If Lachie Whitfield is one of your favourite players, it is sad that he did not perform to his usual high standards on Saturday. I often praise Lachie for his footy smarts and maturity in decision-making for a second year player (worthy of his No.1 pick; which would probably have still been top 3 if O’Meara was in the draft that year). It deserted him for most of the game.

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