AFLW Round 7 – Collingwood v Adelaide: Where’s Chelsea?

Ok, so I know what you’re probably expecting – a semi-melancholic, semi-uplifting set of words about the disappointment of missing the grand final while at the same time being proud of a team that overcame so many disadvantages just to get into that position in the first place.


All of these things are true, but that’s not what I’m writing about.


I could write about how the Crows get off to a good start at whatever they call that football ground that’s not a proper footy venue. How the Crows have an opportunity to almost end that game by quarter time with straighter kicking in a clearly tricky breeze, despite how stuffed Erin Phillips’s quad clearly is. But I’m not going to write about that.


I could write about how Collingwood’s more mobile midfield get away from the Crows in the second quarter for just long enough to kick two quick goals and keep the visitors within arm’s reach. Or how the Crows get them back under control with a series of Chelsea Randall intercept marks, assisted as always by Ange Foley. Or how we finally get to see Sarah Perkins’s outstanding football brain at work as she sets up Stevie-Lee Thompson’s goal through a mass of bodies. But, no, not that either.


Perhaps, I could say a bit about how Collingwood run the Crows off their feet in the second half. Lambert, Barden and Molloy feeding the ball through to Garner, Bernardi and Hope who are too mobile, too assured for their rattled opponents.


Or maybe, the lack of common sense that leads to the umpire not just stopping play to tell Courtney Cramey that Lauren Tesoriero has nominated for the ruck contest, there being clear confusion on the matter (noting Tesoriero makes no attempt to go to Rhiannon Metcalfe). Of course, contact occurs and the umpire hands Collingwood the back breaking goal. Nup, going to leave that one alone, too.


What I will write about, though, is the experience of sitting down to watch your team play interstate. When you’re in the lounge room, you can only see what the camera shows. You do not see what happens behind the ball, nor in front of it. The fan in the loungeroom (well the one that’s not on the ceiling anyway), which is how the vast majority of people watch footy, is entirely reliant on the commentary team to build the context around the camera’s narrow frame.


It’s just as well, then, that football commentary teams have well established systems to provide this content: one or two commentators to call the play as it happens; one or two special comments people – experts who can analyse the game strategically and highlight what is important to the outcome of the game; and, finally, the boundary rider, who monitors the interchange benches to provide updates on any relevant injury issues.


For this game Fox Footy has all of these things in place.


So why, then, when one of the team’s captains (also the lay-down misere for the team’s Best and Fairest, runaway leader in the AFL Coaches Association Champion Player of the Year award, and a fair shot for the MVP) starts the second half on the bench is this not noticed?


When she stays on the bench as Collingwood, mysteriously, start finding it easier to move the ball past half forward you’d think the commentary team might note her absence. The boundary rider might check in with the club to see what the situation is and point out how significant this is to the likely outcome of the game.


Maybe, towards the end of the third quarter, instead of one of the special comments people suggesting she be moved to a different position on the ground, someone might point out one of the best players in the game has not been on the ground for the entire quarter.


Imagine the colour the boundary rider could have provided as the Crows’ interchange steward has to (so I hear) repeatedly prevent said player from attempting to re-enter the field of play as her team’s season slips away. The drama of those shots would have been incredible!


In the end, it takes Fox Sports until late in the last quarter to notice that Chelsea Randall has been ruled out of further participation in the game as a result of a head knock sustained in the second quarter. The Crows correctly discharged their duty of care heedless of all that is riding on the game.


Despite the Crows, the AFL and the ABC all having tweeted about it a fair while before, Fox Footy carries on blithely not noticeing Randall’s absence. Let’s be honest, it is simply incompetent. And while terrible commentary performances are not specific to AFLW (if only they were), it does raise the question about how much we can reasonably expect from these teams.


The failure for Fox Sports here appears to be twofold: first, that the boundary rider does not sufficiently forcefully note that a player is effectively off injured for the half. You’d expect them to do that whether they’d had 14 disposals or two at half time. Secondly, that no-one seems to have sufficient knowledge of the Crows, six rounds into the season, to understand how important Randall is to Adelaide; to notice her absence.


I have no idea how much a footy commentator gets paid; how many hours per week they can be expected to put into preparation given their remuneration. However, surely watching at most three games a week for six weeks (presuming they are actually commentating at least one game a week) is not too much to ask. Special comments people who understand all teams well enough to spot a glaring absence – not too much to ask either.


Ahh, blow it all, perhaps they were just having a bad day. We all have them. The AFLW does deserve better, though, particularly from a provider that wants to charge the viewer for its service.


As a Crows fan, as disappointing as this loss is, I have little to complain about this season. They won more games that they should have lost, than lost games that they should have won. It would be churlish to expect more than that. The Crows can be reasonably criticised following the second edition of AFLW of being too reliant on too few players. Despite that, to get within a few kicks of the Grand Final is not too shabby at all.



COLLINGWOOD     1.1     3.1     5.3     8.5     (53)
ADELAIDE                 2.5     4.6     4.8     4.8     (32)


Collingwood: Garner 3, Bernardi 2, Hope, Kuys, Tesoriero
Adelaide: Wallace, Hatchard, McCormick, Thompson


Collingwood: Garner, Bernardi, Brazill, Lambert, King
Adelaide: Phillips, Marinoff, Randall, Allan, Thompson


Collingwood: Nil
Adelaide: Randall (head knock)


Reports: Nil


Umpires: Young, Rowe, Guy         Crowd: 2,300 at Olympic Park Oval


Our Votes: Garner (Coll) 3, Bernardi (Coll) 2, Marinoff (Adel) 1

About Dave Brown

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


  1. Far be it for me to, ahem, criticise commentators and commentary teams, but…
    This was inexcusable.
    I, too, had seen it on twitter, but I thought I must have missed it being mentioned on tv.
    Really – nowhere near good enough.

  2. Yvette Wroby says

    I noticed Dave. She was everywhere in the first quarter and kept marking, and then she was gone. How can you not miss the Captain of one of the teams? Bad form. Knew it was over when they finally did mention it. She was the best Adelaide had going on the day.

  3. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I wasn’t attentive enough from our possie behind the Wolf Blass sign in the outer to spot Randall’s prolonged absence.

    Fifth was about right I reckon, seeing that they only had Phillips on two legs for one game. Too much left to too few most weeks.

    A functioning forward line would be nice next season too and a midfield that can hit a target, provided those targets present themselves.

    Enjoyed the run for the money that they gave after the first two weeks. At least they gave a yelp.

  4. Luke Reynolds says

    Very much not a proper venue. I was free on Sunday, and would have driven down the city had it been at Victoria Park. No way am I making the effort to drive two hours to see a game at what is really just a training oval with no seating or decent vantage points.

    As for the commentators, so many it seems just turn up without any research, happy just to ‘wing it’. Think it’s known in the industry as the ‘Mark Taylor Method’. Makes the broadcasters who put the time into their craft really stand out.

  5. Luke Reynolds says

    Btw what a pity the season is ending just as the Pies hit their straps. Really enjoyed watching them the past month or so. Molloy is a star, as composed a footballer as you’d see.
    Hope we are not raided too much by Geelong and North Melbourne.

  6. Dave Brown says

    Thanks for the read and comments, folks. Having just listened to the Geoff Lemon and Adam Collins interview with Gerard Whateley, I have decided I am, too often, one of those people who allows sport to make them miserable. I will try to change that this year.

    Yeah, Yvette, Chelsea is so vital to Adelaide. That will be their challenge for next season, to get some more players to step up.

    Spot on Swish. Our midfield lacks pace and too often it is left to Marinoff kicking the ball around her body in panic. I think Goddard did remarkably well with the resources at her disposal, particularly given a third of her squad is 3000km away.

    Yep, Molloy an absolute gun, Luke. I think that’s the thing that frustrates me the most – people who rock up to commentate sports who so clearly do very little, if any, preparation. It is simply not acceptable for Mark Taylor not to have seen a foreign cricketer before commentating an international match. Five minutes on youtube would fix that problem. Fingers crossed Channel 10 get the cricket broadcast rights.

  7. Very well put,Dave pure and utter incompetence just so lazy

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