NAB CUP: Melbourne, Adelaide, Port Adelaide

By Steve Healy

It was imminent that the return of footy in 2011 would be a completely different experience from previous seasons. I really couldn’t, and still can’t, get my head around the round-robin planning of the first round of the NAB cup. It just isn’t footy. Our game is meant to be a sacred game, but with these new rules and new format for the preseason competition, it was quite simply an abused version that I was watching (“illegally”) on Justin TV. But I had to stick by my beloved Demons, there is nothing like seeing your team play, even if they are participating in something that isn’t truly real.

“Last touch out of bounds. To be trialled in the first round of matches only, a free kick will be paid against the last player to touch the ball before it goes out of bounds”- The aforementioned rule sounds stupid enough, and was brought in to “quicken the game” (which doesn’t even make sense because they brought in the sub rule to slow it down). But it only got worse as the play began. Players, especially defenders, look to walk the ball over the line, or fist it out of bounds instinctively. Over the course of the evening, it was apparent that players can just not adapt to this rule in such a quick space of time. Football isn’t basketball. You’re meant to be able to kick the ball inside fifty and use the boundary line as a tactic to get on the scoreboard. Also, having a non-stop countdown clock in footy is the worst thing possible- it just makes play seem meaningless when time can tick away that quickly.

I could go on about the rules, but most importantly, the Dees had two games of footy to win. First up, Adelaide were to play us, followed by Port Adelaide directly afterwards. Scandalously not choosing to open the NAB cup on free-to-air, I slumbered in my room with the radio on. It was dull to listen to, the Crows kicked the first goal and it seemed apparent that we still couldn’t overcome our AAMI Stadium blues. But, coincidentally, when Adam Bulman gave me a link to an online stream, the Dees sparkled. Addam Maric snapped a goal and the Dees never looked back. Jurrah went on an explosive run but missed to the left, Watts intercepted in defence and goaled. Jurrah made the most of his mismatch with troubled ex-tiger Richard Tambling and tore the Crows apart. We lead by three goals. In the second half, the Dees tapered a bit. Shaun McKernan, a  player who has been very unlucky in recent times, kicked two second half goals to keep the Crows in touch. Andy Otten (back from a knee injury) was proving his hype as a good fantasy pick by racking up possessions in the midfield. The Crows got close, but in this version of the game, it seems like the team in front is always in control. Maric kicked his second and the Dees were victors.

In the second match it appeared the Power had come in much better prepared than the previous South Australian mob. Cassisi stormed through the centre, but just missed on the run. Trengove snapped a superb goal, but Port answered. Dwayne Russell went on about how good Port’s jumper is. I beg to differ. When it seemed as though we had the edge, Strauss spoilt the ball out of bounds in defence, which could’ve been deemed to have been in a contest. The umpire didn’t look at it that way. It proved costly. Ebert was handed the ball and kicked the night’s only nine-pointer. Chad Cornes looked lost in the forward line. Sylvia bombed it long to Bate who marked at the siren, and kicked a much-needed goal to keep us within a kick. Port had ample chances to win, but simply couldn’t kick straight. There seemed to be a breeze pushing the ball to the right when they shot at goal. Watts kicked one. Jurrah gathered the ball in the pocket, turned sharply, and snapped it over his head for a goal. I love him. We ran out victors by nine points. I didn’t bother following the third game, in which Adelaide beat Port easily.

This night was an abomination of Australian Rules football. However, the Dees were victorious, so I still had an excited smile on my face. Colin Garland was fantastic in defence. Sylvia starred in the midfield, Davey looked better than last season. Michael Evans and Daniel Nicholson, both rookies, already looked comfortable in their roles and found plenty of the footy. Jeremy Howe didn’t get a possession, he will still take a little while to get going I think. Lucas Cook also showed promise as a future key position player. I don’t even think we played extremely well. We just did what was required to hold off the opposition. And even in games as bland and blasphemous as these, that’s all that matters.

There is an exciting season ahead.

Melbourne 0.5.4 (34) d Adelaide 0.3.6 (24)

Melbourne 0.5.6 (36) d Port Adelaide 1.2.6 (27)

About Steve Healy

Steve Healy is an entity of a Melbourne supporter.


  1. Good report Steve, although I may have to dob in this Adam Bulman person who gave you the JustinTV link as that is quite illegal.

    I didn’t listen or watch any of the game, except the second half of the first game. Melbourne were looking good in their pink clash guernsey though.

  2. Steve Healy says

    hahaha its not pink? Thanks anyway, illegal? nah. convinient? yes!

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