AFLW Round 4 – GWS v Adelaide: Draw in the Dark

4:35pm, Sunday 25th of February

Blacktown International Sportspark, Sydney

 

 

Is it me or has the AFL cut back on AFLW Season 2? Last season I remember sitting on the couch watching almost every game on my big screen TV. Now, I’m cramped in front of a tiny iPad trying to watch the game on a device that’s 1/20th of the screen I want to watch it on.

 

The weather gods aren’t helping today either. Blacktown is blanketed in black skies and, at times, the game is barely visible due to the heaviness of the rain.

 

After the first bounce the Crows pounce on the ball and they’re pressing early but to no avail. Instead, GWS are the first to score. It turns into a 7-point play following an errant kick and some loose checking.

 

I’m not deterred by this. Last week’s better players have started well and my hopes are high. Bec Goddard is employing the David Parkin style of offense and has instigated Phillips’ Paddock. Erin’s looking dangerous but the conditions are horrendous and the Crows aren’t coping with them well (except for Marinoff who looks set to regain the AFLW tackling record).

 

GWS are cleaner and seem to be managing the wet better. They’re taking the first option, playing direct footy and not taking chances with clever or cute handballs.

 

When the rain comes in it really comes in. It’s torrential. The commentators claim that players will be lucky to see 10 metres in front of them and, while I’m squinting to make out players in the grey that now dominates the screen, they’re doing well to call the game without missing a beat.

 

Adelaide manage to level the scores at 7 all but at the start of the second quarter they move Phillips to the midfield to try and bring her into the game. While much of the plaudits go to Adelaide’s Randall for her superb reading of the play, GWS’ Randall needs recognition for the lockdown job she’s done on Erin Phillips.

 

A little in to the quarter and a dubious free kick to GWS results in a goal. Replays from the other angle show there was no real contact and the late reaction was more akin to soccer, so it’s not surprising when the commentators reveal that Staunton has a background in soccer (on top of her Gaelic football career). The disappointing thing about the free kick is the fact that there’s been fierce contests all over the ground with no umpire intervention and this one, which was soft, got paid.

 

There’s a lucky free kick down the other end to even the score, except the Crows don’t convert their shot. As such, the actual score is still in GWS’ favour.

 

At this stage, the game is more about courage than skill. Players are forcing the ball forward but it’s through scrubby kicks and tap-ons rather than clean possessions. Near the end of the quarter, Hicks pressures Thompson into a potentially costly mistake but GWS can’t make the Crows pay. Nevertheless, the Giants are doing all the attacking and Adelaide’s chances are looking as gloomy as the sky.

 

GWS take an 8-point lead into halftime and, in these conditions, that looks like an insurmountable lead. During the break in play I watch the highlights of the men’s game between Adelaide and Freo. After a bit of a scare, the Crows come home with a flurry to win – I’m hopeful the same can happen for the women.

 

I suffer through the third quarter. GWS start strong and Adelaide are trying to do too much. Wet weather football isn’t conducive to tackle-breaking runs. The only highlight is a Marinoff barrel out of defence that leads to a Crows’ score. It’s touched on the line but it’s a great passage of play. The Crows up their intensity but they also give away three 50m penalties to undermine all of their hard work.

 

On the other hand, Staunton appears to be relishing the conditions but GWS only increase their lead by one as a total of three behinds are scored in the quarter.

 

I don’t like to admit it but I’ve given up hope. I heat a choc-chip muffin up in the microwave and add it to a bowl of ice-cream. Comfort food!

 

I sit back down to watch Adelaide’s chances of going back-to-back slip away but an early goal, thanks to a fantastic snap from Wallace, means that all of a sudden, it’s back to game on. Wallace’s second attempt doesn’t make it over the line but Adelaide are on the front foot.

 

GWS appear under pressure now through injuries and errors. Now it’s the Crows who are dominating possession and position but they can’t split the big sticks. The scores are level halfway through the final quarter and I’m on the edge of my seat.

 

When GWS go forward, for what feels like the first time in an eon, my heart is in my throat. The ball is kicked deep into the 50m arc and it’s a footrace to gain possession. The Giants score but they miss the chance to regain the lead.

 

The Crows are clean now and I’m willing them on but GWS regain their composure in the final minutes. It’s hard to watch now, not because it’s stoppage after stoppage but because it’s so tense.

 

When the siren sounds to signify it’s a draw I’m only a little disappointed; both teams fought hard in terrible conditions today and would have been unlucky had they lost. Neither team is likely to make the Grand Final now, too much would need to go right for it to be plausible, but for today at least they were inseparable.

 

 

GWS               1.1       2.3       2.6       2.7       (19)

Adelaide         1.1       1.2       1.3       2.7       (19)

GOALS

GWS: Beeson, Staunton.
Adelaide: Cramey, Wallace.

BEST 

GWS: Randall, Eva, Staunton, Barr.
Adelaide: Randall, Wallace, Marinoff.

CROWD 2,409

OUR VOTES      Randall (Adel) 3, Eva (GWS) 2, Marinoff (Adel) 1.

 

About Ron Barton

Published poet, blogger and teacher - Ron Barton works with words.

Comments

  1. Yvette Wroby says

    Good work Ron. You summed up this mighty tussle well. No one wants a draw when seasons are on the line. It was a tense enthralling game. Every game seems to have such massive season consequences. Every week there is shock and awe and results you just don’t see coming. I tipped GWS. The only wrong one was Collingwood v Melbourne. Who saw that coming!

  2. You did well to write this game up, given the rain and how you were forced to watch it! Nice job, always enjoy reading the perspective of the other team’s fans.

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