AFL Round 3: Showdown XXXIV

Score a footy and Crows gear

Score a footy and Crows gear

I, for one, am looking forward to attending the first Showdown of the year between the Adelaide Crows and Port Power.  It will also be a showdown of a more personal nature as the director of finances and all things is a firm Power supporter while I will be supporting the Crows – albeit in a covert manner.  Off field, my team – Essendon – are in more strife than the early settlers, but I will be supporting them anyway.

A disturbing fact has emerged this week when I was speaking to friends of mine, all who are dyed-in-the-wool Power supporters who told me that they will not be going to the Showdown because of the bad behaviour and antics of some football fans.  Maybe I was living in cloud cuckoo land when I believed that a spirited contest, with the crowd of roughly equal opposing fans, was what our great game was all about.  The trouble with going to AAMI Stadium for a Crows or Power game is that the crowd is usually heavily weighted in favour of the local (or home) side, with a smattering of fans travelling from interstate for the battle.

At the risk of sounding old fashioned – when I was a youngster in my formative years, supporting football was the way it should be – with fans of both sides making up roughly equal numbers – and you enjoyed the banter and wisecracks that went with it, especially if you were on a suicide mission and decided to stand in the middle of the opposition’s cheer squad!

Yet people nowadays seemed turned off by this phenomenon.  Is it because the behaviour of some has become so rabid that it is off-putting?  Or is it that people just don’t want to see good crowd support for someone other than their own side.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating hooliganism or foul language, I’m simply saying that a spirited crowd contest surely must be better than the one-sided affairs we have now.  If crowd support spurs the players on to perform better and engender confidence in them, then surely this has to be good for the competition.

I don’t know whether this is a phenomenon that occurs with other derbies in Western Australia, Queensland or new South Wales – I hope not.

So – go to the Showdown – support your team with all your heart – and yell your lungs out – and let’s take our frustration out on those that really deserve it – the Umpires!

About Mark Seja

Now retired after working in the public sector for 38 years. With more time on my hands I have re-kindled my interest and love for Australian Rules Football. I call it this because it's not only the AFL that is important to me but grass roots football also. My local league, the SANFL in which I support the mighty Eagles, is the one I grew up with and I remember going to some wonderful games when you could reach out and touch the players and smell the liniment. Fortunately this still holds true, but the players seem to be a lot younger!


  1. Good thoughts Mark. I must be about your vintage and a mad West Torrens supporter who expatriated interstate in the mid 80’s. Now a (mostly) contented WCE supporter domiciled in Perth.
    This “home ground/one eyed” supporter issue is a genuine problem in Perth too. I have never been to a Dockers home Derby as an Eagles supporter, but I did go to the Crows/Dockers game at Subi last year. My 81 year old Dad was over from Adelaide and he had Crows tickets for the game. I was saying the same things about the Dockers players that the Purple Haze were saying about the Crows (perhaps a bit more vehemently but we were outnumbered 50:1 – and the Crows were 5 goals in front at half time).
    One incensed Dockers supporter wanted to thump me for having the timidity to suggest his boys were slow and had hearts like peas (and similar jovial banter). When I took the sandwiches from my Eagles bag at half time he was incensed, and asked why I had chosen to come to a Dockers game.
    Surprisingly my response of “to see you mob get thumped” seemed to only antagonise him further. When the Dockers briefly hit the front in the last quarter he was in my face, but when the Crows kicked clear to win by 3 goals he was beside himself (perhaps because I was mocking the Dockers more than cheering the Crows off).
    Anyway, 2 middle aged men who couldn’t blow the skin off a rice pudding, standing toe to toe yelling abuse at each other is not edifying. Nor is having their spouses pull them back (the spouses feared heart attacks not physical violence).
    So I think you’re right Mark, the modern fan in Adelaide and Perth where the crowd is overwhelmingly one-sided have no idea of the traditional football “barracking and chiacking” culture.
    Lest this be seen as an anti-Dockers rant, I have a friend who is one of the nicest people you would meet. She is dyed in the wool Collingwood and refuses to go to Subi when they travel here once every decade. She and her daughter got abused and spat on by Eagles supporters just for walking into the ground wearing the Magpies scarf. Go figure.
    Back in the 60’s/70’s my grandparents used to take me to every Torrens game in the SANFL. Only exceptions were Elizabeth (too far) and Alberton (too violent). I think the truth was that they were such mad Torrens supporters they were bound to stir up a fight and Alberton was the place where the fight was more likely to be physical than rhetorical.
    Who is your SANFL side? The Blood and Tars going on your previous piece?

  2. Mark Seja says

    Pete, I’m a Woodville-West Torrens member supporter and unfortunately they got kicked off their home ground by the Bloods last week. It was sad to see, particularly as they opened the season so well against the Double Blues the week before. In the AFL, I support the Bombers with a Beyond the Boundary membership, as I have since before the Crows and Power entered the AFL and my loyalty hasn’t waned. And finally, in order to see as many teams play here in Adelaide, I’m an AAMI Stadium member. I think I’ve got most footy covered!
    By the way – I won’t travel to Elizabeth either for the same reasons, but I’m always up for Alberton!

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