AFL Round 9 – North Melbourne v Adelaide: I barrack for Adelaide – sort of

By Barry Nicholls

I barrack for the Adelaide Crows – sort of.

By that I mean I’m a jump on jump off, don’t really care, sort of bloke. I normally get on board around late August if they look like featuring in September. I have no shame although I did baulk when our five year old Harry told me I should stay with the same side. He added  that he knew I’d eaten his Easter egg in the fridge. Harry ‘goes for’ St Kilda. He has a long road ahead.  I supported the Crows on the day they lost the preliminary final by five points last year- sort of. We shouldn’t have given our kids a bath at three quarter. Not that I’m superstitious but it did change the whole tenor of the game.

I barrack for the Adelaide Crows – sort of.

I blame Sturt for my inability to connect with the Crows. That’s what I told my shrink in the 1990s anyhow. My Double Blues kicked 14.26 against Norwood and lost the 1978 SANFL Grand Final by one point to Norwood.  To a fifteen year old it didn’t seem right. Dominate the season. Lead all day. Up by five goals at three quarter time and lose. The natural order of things was disturbed.  Trust gone out the window. For years I wondered why we lost. My shrink said to get it down on paper. I did. I wrote a book about it. It hasn’t helped.

I barrack for the Adelaide Crows- sort of.

The 1993 preliminary final loss to Essendon didn’t help. Up by seven goals at half time the Crows lost. And then the Bombers won the flag. It was 1978 all over again. The Crows finally got over the line in 1997.  But I was blissfully asleep in a London flat.  That was until the phone rang. ‘They won’ Mum yelled down the phone. I watched the replay in a pub in  Shepherd’s Bush that grey, cold September afternoon. ‘They Won.’ I yelled to my mate Martin just as the pub’s raucous sound momentarily stopped. The girl next to us scowled.  She had a Saints jumper on. We watched on big screens. Aussie hoons drank beer and cheered. It felt warmer outside afterwards.

I’m a Crows supporter –sort of.

The next year I watched the ‘come from behind  and steal the grand final’ from North Melbourne. The Roos did exactly what Sturt had done in 1978- throw the game away in the first half with woeful kicking for goal.  I should have felt some sense of retribution. I didn’t.

I’ve been away from Adelaide for 11 years. That could explain why I’m an Adelaide Crows fan- sort of. But maybe it’s the nature of a manufactured club that lacks the traditional tribal vibe. Or even the parochial nature of the crowds. I’m not much one for silence when an opposition teams scores in front of more than forty thousand. Or just maybe it’s that whole chardonnay set I loathe.

I barrack for the Adelaide Crows – sort of.

A few weeks back I saw my first game of AFL I saw live for years.  Collingwood versus Fremantle at Subiaco.  I’d forgotten the sound of the crowd, the pace of the game and the skill of the players.  I sat in the middle of the Fremantle cheer squad where a ginger haired bloke next to me watched on nervously. A mad Freo supporter. His teenage daughters sitting next to him smiled awkwardly every time he stood up and roared.

“You’re a fucking joke umpire.”

He went red in the face each time and looked like a heart attack was just a close loss away.  Too much emotional investment. I was glad I was an Adelaide Crows supporter – sort of.

Round Nine. Adelaide played North Melbourne. Poised at four wins and four losses. A game that could give hope. It  looked like the same old same old.  The Crows too slow out of the blocks and not really in the game.  North Melbourne looked slick

When the Roos went five goals up ten minutes into the last quarter I gave up watching.  A walk in the crisp autumn sunshine had more appeal.

“Dad Adelaide beat North Melbourne by one point.”

I’d just walked in the door.

It’s Harry. The St Kilda supporter. I smile.

There is hope for us all.

I’m an Adelaide Crows supporter – sort of.

North Melbourne 4.4, 10.6 16.6 19.10 ( 124)

Adelaide 1.2, 8.8 12.12 18.17 ( 125)


North Melbourne: Thomas 5, Cunnington 3,Petrie 2, Gibson 2,Harvey, MacMillan, Gibson, Swallow, Black

Adelaide:  Kerridge 6, Jnekins3, Vince 2, McKernan, Douglas, Sloane, Porplyzia, Douglas


North Melbourne:  All played well

Adelaide: All played well

Umpires: Stevic, Wenn, McInerney

Official crowd:23,033

Our Votes: 3 Kerridge ( Ad)  2 Thomas  (NM) 1  Dangerfield (Ad)



  1. Peter Endersbee (first exponent of the check side); ‘Doc’ Clarkson; Keith Chessel; ME Jones; MS ‘Jeep’ Jones; Paul Bagshaw (the most South Australian of footballers);
    Brendon Howard (Bagshaw Mk II); ‘Spud’ Murphy (the hard man’s Bagshaw); Michael ‘Flash’ Graham; Bruce Jarret; Malcolm Greenslade; Rick Schoff; Sandy Nelson; Daryl Hicks; Mick Nunan; Terry Short; Brenton Adcock; Rick Davies; ‘Diamond Jim’ Tilbrook; Robert Klomp. Sturt Magic from my childhood – names and images more clearly set in my mind than last week’s AFL ‘product’.
    Bob Shearman – you stole from us (West Torrens) after we stole him from Essendon. He had a model for a wife – and the Cremorne Hotel – which my great grandfather had owned – and he won flags for you and bugger all for us.
    Enough reason for childhood envy and jealousy.
    Sturt under Jack Oatey were the unattainable lust of my adolescence. You were beautiful to watch. But you weren’t mine. But you weren’t Port Adelaide.
    Pale Blue lace ups (sigh – a life long weakness for busty corsets).

  2. Peter Schumacher says

    As a Norwood barracker long time distant from Adelaide I can identify ezxctly with your comments. Peter Aish, Peter Vivian, Graeme Nicholls, Norm Walker, Bob Fosdike, Bill Wedding, Brian Sawley, Ron Kneebone,, these were my childhood heroes,mostly on the radio it has to be said,I didn’t get to matches very often.

    Then I left South Australia in 1966 and went to live in Port Moresby for a couple years and thought how parochial it all was besides what Aussie Rules could be picked up from up there was bloody Melbourne football, meant little to me. The broadcasts relayed from Australia were mostly Rugby League, didn’t care about that either.

    It was then 1967 and on my little radio in Port Moresby somehow picked up the then 5KA and heard most of the 1967 (or was it 68) Magarey Medal count wnich Peter Darley would have won except for a soft suspension.

    I then spent from 1969 in Far Queensland at a place north of Cooktown, returned in 1970 found my lady, a Queenslander, and life long partner imbuing in her love for the game when Sturt was in its pomp and then departed the state forever in 1977.

    From a distance though was still a Crow Eater until Brisbane got started.. I shared the frustration of that loss against Essendon this really stirred up my South Aus juices again and have since followed them with almost the same fanaticism that I would normally reserve for “my” Lions. Apart from Brisbane, I too am a Crows supporter, sort of.

Leave a Comment