Finals Week 1 – Port Adelaide v West Coast: 20 minutes


Twenty minute football matches could be just as popular as 20/20 cricket games, writes PETER SWEENEY


In anybody’s language, it was a 10 out of 10.


Even the toughest marking judge would have penned “faultless” to what Port Adelaide and the West Coast Eagles served up in extra time in their elimination final.


It begs questions. Is there a need for 20 minute matches? And how popular would they be?


That 10 and something minutes deep into Saturday evening was arguably the best 10 and something minutes of football the game has ever seen. Unquestionably, it was the most exciting, the most enthralling. To not have a result until after the final siren after extra time couldn’t have been dreamt, let alone scripted.


It was 60 all after the first match. That’s 120 points in 120 minutes. A point a minute.


It was 78-76 after the second match. That’s 34 points in 10 minutes and time on. The players scored much more quickly in extra time than they did when supposedly fresher, faster, fiercer.


“They” say everything in life is about timing. Time, or the lack of it. Takeaway food is so popular because people say they haven’t got the time to cook. Life does, or supposedly has to, move quicker and quicker. Maybe footy’s rulemakers will have something else on the agenda at the discussion table over summer: does the game go for too long? Cricket has been shortened and fans go gangbusters over 20/20 matches. Would it be the same for football? How would five, or 10, or 15 or 20 minute quarters go?


Whatever, saying you were at Adelaide Oval on Saturday evening is one of those “where were you when” moments. It had everything. And some.


When the “first” elimination contest couldn’t be split, my mind raced back to the ‘good ol’ days.’


Now granted, there wasn’t a “lay day” between the end of the home and away season and finals. But a draw in a final, any final, meant a replay the following week.


We would have had another grand final in October and everything would have been sent into disarray, like travel and accommodation arrangements, holiday plans and much more. And what about the Crows and the Tigers? Another week off, more time to worry and wonder about what’s the ‘perfect preparation’.


As thousands of disbelieving and dejected Power fans departed the ground, these words appeared on the scoreboard.


“THANK YOU. Hope you’ve enjoyed your time at the Adelaide Oval. See you next time.”


All would’ve enjoyed the game, the majority not the result. But it’s hard to imagine many in the crowd will be back the weekend after next, when footy is next at Adelaide Oval. After all, there’s little love lost between the Crows and the Power camps.


On Saturday night, the Eagles won on the scoreboard, Crow supporters won verbal ammunition but by far the biggest winner was the game.


Anybody who doesn’t think so, has got chewy on the boot. Or is that Shuey on the boot?


Read more coverage of the Port Adelaide v West Coast game here.


  1. Interesting thing about T20 for me Peter, is it is about the length of a footy match. My perspective is that is about the right length for people to feel like it’s worth bothering to go to at all. Suspect AFLX if it ever gets off the ground would look to foreshorten it somewhat or possibly add value by having double headers.

    p.s. there was footy at Adelaide Oval the following day and will be next weekend too. Hopefully, Port supporters will get there in a couple of weeks time to make a SANFL Grand Final (hopefully against Sturt) a grand event

  2. That extra time was stunning.

    Worth watching again I reckon.

    If you didn’t notice Shuey until the end, go back and watch his ten minutes. He was such a creator. And that suggests he understood the moment. And maybe the Sherrin fell for him a bit.

    Very disappointed for Port.

  3. Terrific stuff, Sweens, I love the 120 points in 120 minutes and 34 in 10 stat.
    Not having an AFL team these days (though admittedly hoping that Port would win on Saturday night), I thoroughly enjoy close games.
    I think “20/20 footy” is best kept for preseason or perhaps as a post-qualifying-rounds comp for the 10 teams that miss the eight (a week or so after Mad Monday).
    By way of comparison, I enjoy 20/20 cricket but the five-day game remains king.

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