AFL Round 5 – Adelaide v GWS: the (remarkable) view from the mountain

I first came to Melrose in the Southern Flinders Ranges for Easter in the late 1980s. More than 25 years later it has very much become a family tradition. Back then I came as a 12 year old with my parents and siblings. These days we all still come but it includes another generation of the family – when you go somewhere once a year you notice yourself ageing much more quickly than your surrounds. We initially started coming for the tennis tournament (I still hang my hat off being the 1993 boys singles champion). In its day the tournament was so big that tennis courts in nearby towns were used to get through all of the scheduled matches over the four days. These days while the tournament is still going the town is no longer all about tennis at Easter. As the tournament has somewhat declined in popularity, the caravan park has remained filled with newly acquired mountain bikers.

Melrose sits at the base of the 996m high Mount Remarkable, named for obvious reasons by Edward John Eyre in 1840. For the walker on the Heysen Trail, the ascent from Melrose covers almost 7km in distance and 600m in elevation. The path to the summit is narrow with steep scree gullies that must be crossed and large potential falls most of the way – you don’t so much conquer this mountain as be barely tolerated by it while you are in its presence – it gave me a disparaging glance as I climbed it earlier that day. This mountain has provided the town with new energy, however, as cyclists have discovered the tracks (mostly) around its base. In addition to the two pubs and a couple of other retailers, the town now boasts a bike shop and a more consistent source of income year round.

Having been to Melrose at Easter for most of my footy following life there have been plenty of good footballing memories. Two immediately spring to mind. The Jarman brothers combining for 14 goals against Fitzroy in 1996 was a fun day (but sadly a misleading start to the season). The second was the palpable sense of schadenfreude that spread throughout the caravan park as the roar emanated from the pub signalling the Suns’ first ever win by beating the Power. More than one drunken rendition of the Gold Coast song was attempted loudly by Crows fans in the park that evening. Funnier still because the carousers knew the song just as poorly as the Suns players.

The world has changed somewhat since then. Power gear was confidently on display in the caravan park this weekend while the Crows fans were more circumspect in their displays of support. However, things were looking up for the Crows as the reserves had notched up their first win on the Saturday with Otten, Grigg and Johnston firing. All of a sudden the club has some depth – Taylor Walker is a chance for Anzac Day too! It is with some trepidation you approach a game against the Giants. You like your chances of winning but each game is one game closer to the seemingly inevitable first loss and potential future domination. Add to that an indifferent start to the season with the debut of Tom Boyd and the heart rate has gone up a couple of beats per minute.

The Mount Remarkable Hotel is a good place to watch your team on an Easter long weekend. The pub’s ceiling is adorned with the hand scrawled names (in appropriate formation) of the premiership winning teams of the BMW (Booleroo, Melrose, Wilmington) Lions in the Northern Areas Football Association. The club’s more famous alumni include the Smart brothers (Doug was drafted in the inaugural draft by Carlton but never left SA and played for North Adelaide, Norwood and briefly the Brisbane Bears reserves while Sam spent time on the Crows list while playing for Norwood and played one game for Carlton in 1997). More recently Justin Clarke can be seen plying his Dustin Fletcher like trade at the Brisbane Lions – as a farm boy he is the closest the AFL has to an Achilles Jones at the moment.

For those too young or too lazy to head to the pub, the eight year old nephew was eagerly relaying the score via his radio at the campsite – each Crows goal was celebrated with a victory dance while each Giants score was greeted with a howl of dismay. In the end Crows fans needn’t have worried. Someone finally found the ‘on’ switch for Patrick Dangerfield and he tore them to bits, rampaging through the middle and slotting a handy five goals when it mattered. Thompson again made it look easy against an overpowered opponent in his 250th. Sam Jacobs continued his return to best form showing his ability to dominate average rucking opponents while the Crow defence was up to the challenge of the hulking GWS youngsters, today anyway.

GWS’s promise was evident in the second half as Coniglio got the ball out into the open but as long as the Crows could continue to disrupt any Giants momentum the game was effectively done and dusted. Crows fans filtered out amongst the caravan park population, quietly optimistic that we will be competitive this year. The only evidence of hubris was from the eight year old nephew, justified in his spirited defence of Dangerfield over the weekend.

About Dave Brown

Upholding the honour of the colony. "Play up Norwoods!"


  1. Ben Footner says

    The Jarman brothers kicking 14 between them, I remember that Easter!

    Judging by Matt Crouch’s performance on Sunday, we may just have another combination of brothers combining for what will most likely be a more meaningful and lengthy joint impact than the Jarmans sole ’96 season together. Having both Brad and Matt in the midfield for the next 10+ years is a mouthwatering prospect.

  2. Dave Brown says

    Yep, Ben, Matt Crouch is one of a group of bargains taken between 20 and 30 in the draft. He, Zach Merrett and Sean Lemmens all playing regular first team football. So much for a shallow draft. As you say it looks as though the Crows have the backbone of a midfield for the foreseeable future. No go home factor for boys from the country either!

  3. mickey randall says

    Thanks for that. Cracking read Dave. I always think it a shame the Jarmans did not play more games together. Still the brutality of the purge after 1996 doubtless helped to win the flags. You have also made me homesick for a country pub, on a Sunday!

  4. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Good enjoyable read Dave sounds like a great holiday spot and the prospect of the
    Crouch boys playing together is indeed mouth watering ( Brad needs a good month in the SANFL tho for his fitness was exposed in the showdown before getting injured )
    Dangerfield when on is as good to watch as any one ! Thanks Dave

  5. I Still remember that Easter, Melrose is my favourite place in the world.

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