Round 15 – Adelaide v West Coast: The Fat Lady Sings

Adelaide v West Coast

4:05PM, Saturday June 30

Adelaide Oval

 

 

Seven seasons of writing Eagles match reports on the Almanac.  Biggest mistake for young players – anticipating a result and having “one I prepared earlier”.  Half a dozen introductory paras of sparkling wit, insight and metaphor anticipating a win – sunk by hubris – every time without fail. 

 

 

The clever verse of DB and the Poet Lorikeet/Rogers (WA) on the Almanac site have really got me going in recent weeks.  By 3/4 time on Saturday my notebook suggests “Coast/boast/riposte/Crows”.  Now I’m scratching my head over “Eagles/feeble/weevils/Evil”.

 

 

What a difference a midfield – or absence thereof – makes.

 

 

Bert Van Simpson has literally been burning the midnight oil all weekend studying how the Socceroos plan to win games without a scoring forward.  Men behind the ball.  Slow the game down.  Switch and chip the ball endlessly.  Probing for an opening with the certainty of a drunk looking for his keys.

 

 

Injury has reduced my Eagles forward line to dwarfs and light poles.  In desperation we kick long to the light poles a few times hoping for a random spill to an unmarked dwarf.  The ball pings between half back lines for most of the first half, with both forward lines unable to take a mark.  Pongs seems a better descriptor given the stinker both teams are turning on.

 

 

The Crows look worse if anything.  Both teams splutter like V8’s trying to climb the Adelaide Hills on 4 spark plugs and a cracked cylinder head.  Smoke spews from the exhausts of coaches and fans alike.

 

 

Tex seems to have decided that leadership involves running around trying to knock blokes over.  What happened to leading and marking?  He used to be able to play football, but that option seems not to have occurred to him (yet).

 

 

Simmo struggles with an Eagles lineup that resembles a jigsaw puzzle with the corner and centre pieces missing from the box.  Yeo is doing a number on Tex at centre half back.  ‘Gov less comfortable at centre half forward trying to read where our players will kick it, than when he reads the opposition. He leads too early, like me on the dance floor, and then stumbles to recover – tripping  over multiple feet.  Mostly his own and his team mates (“Ouch!”- Avenging Eagle).

 

 

The Eagles forward line is like watching a performance of Lucia de Lammermoor when Pavarotti and Dame Kiri both have called in sick.  Waterman the boy soprano and Rioli and Ryan the chorus girls look capable in support – but get stage fright in leading roles.

 

 

Still compared to last week our midfield is holding its own at the clearances and pressuring resolutely to ensure the Crows get no cohesive ball in the first half.  Gaff is tireless, while Hutchings, Redden, Masten, Cripps and Shuey are all tackling and running.  Hurn and Sheppard mark and rebound reliably.  

 

 

Scott Lycett is competing ably with Jacobs in the ruck, and is our most dangerous marking forward when “resting”.  Nic Nait has been absent for weeks.  There are reports that he is carrying an injury, and while you can feel his effort he lacks the smarts to threaten when his athleticism deserts him.

 

 

He is the best “burst” player in the comp, but when he has to step up from sprints to middle distance to cover for our injured talls he punctures quickly.  It’s like watching Usain Bolt try run the 10,000 metres.

 

 

Crows fans seem to believe that their half time deficit is due to umpiring rather than their players’ ineptitude.  Always easier to blame the staff than the family for your failings.

 

 

I feel sorry for the umpires who thought they had graduated beyond the Ferryden Park Under 12’s they have been stuck with today.  “You boys spread out”.  Kicks rebound off herded bodies like pinball in Hindley Street.  Falcons outnumber goals 2:1.

 

 

My fury is directed at the stupid 50 metre interpretation for not throwing the ball back correctly.  Sam Jacobs gets an indecipherable free in a marking contest near the point post late in the second quarter.  I shrug my shoulders at the free as we have won a couple of similarly confusing ones against Daniel Talia that resulted in goals.  

 

 

It’s easier to understand quantum physics than marking interference.  But Tex shrewdly decides to call for the ball and as no-one can understand what the free was for, his claims seem as plausible as any, so Redden throws it to him.

 

 

Do we want football games decided on such technicalities and ‘sharp practice’?  The rule is there to penalise time wasting not innocent confusion.  Are umpires allowed no discretion, or have they completely lost any sense of “feel for the game”?

 

 

Our “rope a dope” strategy seems to work in the third quarter when a football match unexpectedly breaks out with 4 quick Eagles goals and we lead by 27 points deep in the quarter.  Mark Ricciuto can no longer contain himself in the commentary box and suggests “we need one before the break”.  Tex hears him and finally presents to soccer a goal in the last 30 seconds.

 

 

Bugger the AirBNB bond – I throw a brick at the landlord’s TV.  We are holidaying with friends in sunny Broome to celebrate my retirement from the paid workforce.  Neither are footy people and they still shake their heads about the poltergeist that took over my body when we offered them seats to a game at Subi a few seasons ago.

 

 

The fourth quarter starts with a flurry of Crows goals, and I am possessed – hurling garlic, crucifixes and epithets at the TV.  Nic Nait is leaking oil and marks, while the “rope a dope” tactic appears to have exhausted our midfield before our opponent’s.  Sam Jacobs is putting on a clinic.  Tex is marking and bombing goals.

 

 

Even Josh Jenkins emerges from the phone box where he has been hiding in his guise as a mild mannered full forward for the Daily Planet.  He dons the cape and pulls his underpants over his shorts to goal.

 

 

Huddo screams “it’s raining goals – this game is over”.  “Hang on there’s still 15 minutes left and we are only a goal behind, you twerp,” I scream at the sticky tape holding the OLED’s together. 

 

 

Our Dutch coach shifts ‘Gov back and Yeo to the midfield but our dyke has sprung more holes than the Eagles have fingers, and the Crows flood becomes a deluge.

 

 

I am grateful that I have lost Swish’s number and Rulebook no longer inhabits Bob Neil #2.  No need for grovelling retreats from earlier imagined texts.

 

 

Where to from here for my Eagles?  My ladder predictor has us finishing 7th and playing Hawthorn in an Elimination Final at the MCG in the first week.  And even that is an optimistic reading of 4 more wins over the Bulldogs, Dockers, Demons and Lions.  When Darling, Kennedy, Barras and LeCras come back in a few weeks that should be possible.

 

 

My biggest concern is whether my pre-season predictions of a dodgy midfield and an underdone Nic Nait struggling with fitness over a long season come true – later rather than sooner.

 

 

This is a strange season where only Richmond and Sydney have shown any consistency.  The Bulldogs, Saints and Lions have found belief and method after long periods in the wilderness.  But most teams are as reliable as an LG warranty, and as sustainable as a Bill Shorten tax policy.

 

 

I’m thinking Bob Dylan – “the losers now shall later be first, for the times they are a changing”.  Fingers and toes crossed.  

 

 

Anything is possible for any number of teams if they find a spark in August that sets flame to September.  The Tigers are overdue some injuries to key players.  Lets see if their chorus can sing acapella without Rance and Riewoldt conducting the orchestra?

 

 

Broome in the last week in September now looks much more attractive (and likely) than the MCG.

 

 

ADELAIDE           1.3  3.8   6.10   12.16   (88)

WEST COAST     2.4  5.5   10.6     12.6   (78)

 

GOALS
Adelaide: Walker 3, Jenkins 2, Jacobs, Fogarty, Poholke, Doedee, Greenwood, Hampton, Seedsman
West Coast: McGovern 2, Lycett 2, Cripps 2, Shuey, McInnes, Ah Chee, Gaff, Ryan, Yeo

BEST
Adelaide: Jacobs, M.Crouch, Laird, Gibbs, Walker, Doedee
West Coast:  Gaff, Shuey, Hutchings, Cripps, Hurn, Yeo

Crowd: 44,771

 

 

Comments

  1. Luke Reynolds says:

    Peter, congratulations on your retirement. Enjoy.

    Get your injured stars back and I still think the Eagles can do some damage in September.

    You’re lucky Norwood are on a roll and keeping Rulebook’s mind off the Crows, have no doubt he has enough contacts in Broome to track you down.

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    Weird season. We’ve beaten both Sydney and Richmond. Your mob don’t bat very deep.

    Let me know what retirement is like. I’m running out of institutions to fool with my supposed knowledge of on-line abacii.

    You’ve got my number. Good luck with your bond.

  3. Enjoy your retirement Peter! Good luck with the Air B’n’B bond. Might be easier to get a new tele. Love a season with twists and turns which mean the eight’s not settled until the minor rounds are done. Given the closeness of some of the games surely one of the rounds of the year.

  4. Peter Fuller says:

    Peter,
    While I was surprised by the final quarter fadeout, I thought that your blokes were decidedly the better side for the first three quarters. In the first half, the Eagles ball use gave them the slight advantage, and they built on that in the 3rd quarter. I think the Crows supporters were as surprised by the dominant opening to the last term, which settled the issue. 15 minutes usually doesn’t accomplish that against an opponent at approximately the same level. I agree with Luke, you just need a couple of returnees from the hospital ward.

  5. John Butler says:

    All taken in your usual equitable stride, PB.

    What was looking promising for the Eagles has been derailed by injury. I think Swish is correct, you have a long tail. As a Carlton supporter, I can speak to the subject of lack of depth with weary experience.

    The last two premiers have got on a roll at the right time. I see nothing so far in this season to suggest that mightn’t happen again. Keep your eyes peeled four out from the barrier.

    PS: white collar workers never really retire, we just get paid by different means.

  6. Rulebook says:

    Entertaining PB congrats re retirement not even a challenge,Luke.Get aboard the Alex G train,PB.
    Seriously this Sat re MND is just so important and thank you to Tex,Eddie,Michael Aish,Michael Taylor
    Soders and others for really getting it and understanding what is really important in life realising that
    MND is just so much more important than a game of footy
    ( frustration that I can’t comment when I am home any more )

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