AFLW Round 1 – Adelaide v GWS: Adelaide’s first AFLW win: What history!

Sorry to be a little late to this: the extensive travel to watch history in Adelaide, from Canberra, precluded a report last week.

 

I like to eke out my thrills (I’m now old) so arrived in the city of churches a few days early to suck in the atmosphere. And it was a hot and humid atmosphere, causing me to ponder whether I should visit some of those churches and pray for higher intervention and some winter weather.

 

I roamed Glenelg, as a girl has to shop while she’s absorbing the atmosphere. I must have had holiday written all over me as a few people asked what I was doing there on a working day and all. I explained and a few of the (female) shopkeepers told me they didn’t think AFLW would take off. Oh, I said, just you watch.

 

My luck included a visit to the Crows’ Nest to have a coffee with my niece* and her colleagues. I also managed to attend the launch of the Crows’ season: an incredibly moving affair as we were fast approaching Game Day. The women were sharp, athletic looking and, to a person, very happy to be selected by the Crows. The highlight for me was meeting Sarah “Tex” Perkins who, before Round 1, I decided would be my favourite player.

 

Adelaide staff graciously allowed me to watch the Friday press conference with Coach Bec Goddard. By that stage, the team list for Saturday was out and, of course, there was some disappointment that all 27 women on the playing roster wouldn’t get a run in the first game. One of the (male**) journos asked about why there wasn’t room for one of the “glamour girls” who is on the roster. As an aside, I think they’re all glamour girls because they can run, mark, kick and tackle like no other! Coach Goddard’s response was that Adelaide doesn’t have glamour girls. They have footballers. Touché. Her key messages were that:

  • The team doesn’t get nervous – it gets ready.
  • The aim is for the opposition who play against the Crows to feel uncomfortable, whether the Crows win or lose.
  • It’s all about the Crows. They’re going to do the things they need to do to win.

 

I had to watch the Carlton v Collingwood match on replay as I was preparing for Saturday’s excitement with a little fine dining with friends – fabulous flounder with a crisp chardonnay. It was spine tingling – actually both the meal and the replay.

 

Saturday dawned: a hot day for the first AFLW match in Adelaide. We had a huge number of family and friends in our party, not to mention a number of the Canberra Capitals WNBL players who had won against Adelaide Lightning the previous evening (74-66), keeping their finals hopes alive. The café for breakfast was groaning with Crows and Caps supporters.

 

We arrived at Thebarton Oval (known locally as Thebbie) to find a queue waiting to get into the ground. By this stage the cloud had come over, it was still hot and humid, but a sizeable crowd considering the weather. Yay! Footie is back in the community!

 

My brother-in-law*** looked pale and wan. He couldn’t have a beer. He was on the edge of his seat. With his notebook. Jacinda Barclay scored first; happily for the Crows it was a behind. But a minute later the first goal in AFLW history in SA was kicked by one of Adelaide’s marquee players, Kellie Gibson.

 

Now this is when it became interesting. I was sitting next to one of my old friends from Canberra, who would usually be a GWS supporter, and we both commented about the shiver that went through us. Indeed, the entire row of supporters had the same feeling. We knew we were watching history, something big, and could it be the path to an Adelaide win?

 

My friend’s husband then encountered the crowd: who’d have thunk that more than 9,000 people would stay at Thebbie in the rain, precluding him from having a beer when he felt like it? The queues for food and drink were ridiculous, suggesting that no one expected a crowd like that.

 

The top scorer for the match was the fabulous Erin Phillips, leading by example, and doing a great job of being Eddie The Expert at the elite level in two sports. She scored 3.3.

 

But the highlight of the match for me was when Sarah Perkins goaled halfway through the last quarter. It was compelling. And my brother-in-law started to get some colour back in his face.

 

We were sorry for our Canberra Caps friend who joins GWS as a rookie, Jess Bibby, given that her team lost. But we were very proud of her too, as she played well, coming off the bench.

 

Adelaide was dominant in the centre, which is where the significant difference occurred with 23 hitouts to 9.

 

I got back to my hotel latish, as of course there was some family celebration to attend to and merry making to be done. But I did get the opportunity to watch the replay twice more!

 

Oh, and then Round 2: other than family or friends, I don’t think anyone expected the Crows to trounce the Bulldogs. But trounce them they did, demonstrating that Adelaide is a force to be reckoned with. Have a look at Alex Docherty and Ben Footner’s reports.

 

I’m looking forward to Round 3 against the Blues at Thebbie next Sunday!

 

ROUND 1: Adelaide v Greater Western Sydney
Adelaide:           1.3.9    3.6.24              6.6.42             7.6.48
GWS                   0.1.1     0.2.2                0.3.3                1.6.12

 

Goals:
Adelaide         Phillips 3, Barclay, Varnhagen, Randall, Perkins
GWS                McWilliams

 

Crowd:            9,250 at Thebarton Oval.

 

*Declaration of conflict of interest: Coach Bec Goddard is my niece who I’ve written lots about in The Footy Almanac! Try looking here and here.

**All the journos at the press conference were male. I guess this will change one day too.

***My brother-in-law is Coach Bec Goddard’s proud Dad.

About Anne Cahill Lambert

One of the first females to be admitted to membership of the G. Thank you Mr Cain. Nicknamed The Hyphen by Alamanac Editor, despite the fact I don't have one.

Comments

  1. Yvette Wroby says:

    Thanks for the great report Anne. So many great stories rolled into one. I too am enamored with Tex, among so many others. The level of commitment and toughness is awe inspiring. Keep writing. Loved reading your piece.

  2. I am fast becoming a great fan of your niece, Anne

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