Round 11 midweek grab

We had dinner with Sara and Sophie last Sunday night;
that was pleasant – these are fine women. Baked chicken
and olives, lettuce wedges, a dessert of cooked apple,
nuts and yoghurt. Red wine, green tea. A lovely night.

May comes to a close – above average rain and the
coldest sequence of autumn days in Adelaide for thirty years.
Is this weather or climate change? That dreary debate forges on.
Actors Cate Blanchett and Michael Caton fronted a TV ad,

promoting Labor’s carbon tax; the dailies said it was rich
for a millionaire to promote a tax which will hurt all citizens.
Thus, she is now known as Carbon Cate. That’s cant. They were
quiet when mining millionaires spent their money against Rudd’s

plan to tax their output. Q&A established the right for the rich
to have a point of view. Guy Rundle attacked the coalition’s
direct action response as “a plan that socialises the costs
and privatises the profits”. He was so happy with that line
he said it twice.

On the weekend, Karmichael Hunt kicked his first goal in the AFL,
running through the centre, one bounce and a long-raking 60 metre
droppie. All team-mates ran to him, roughed his hair, slapped his
shoulders, shared his joy. Later, he was reported for an unruly bump

and received a one-match ban. He’s a genuine AFL footballer now,
on these two counts. Pity that it’s cost the AFL a million and a half.
The Suns were good for two quarters against Geelong. Up 6.2 to 3.2
after Q1 and then 9.8 to 8.3 at half time, they were smashed

in the second half to finish 10.13 to 21.13. Never mind. The Suns
add fun to stunted gameplay; they have some freaky players
who do freaky things. They are good TV and, in the last two weeks,
little Gazza is playing as well as he ever has. The dare is working;

they’ve beaten Port and Brisbane but have slipped back to
the foot of the ladder, where they belong. They need time.
Back home, Taylor Walker has strained his knee; he’ll miss
three or four. His flatmate, Bernie Vince, was best on ground

for West Torrens/Woodville and will return this week
against North in Round 11 for only his fifth game this year.
Or, at least he should. Adelaide were so bad on Sunday,
so incomplete, that Craig will surely shift the dynamic of the team.

The coach has no choice. Flatmates Bernie and Taylor,
apparently two young party men, have had interrupted seasons.
You wonder about their conversations over breakfast;
the swapping of their notes. Greater Western Sydney may

want both of them next year. That may work for Taylor;
Bernie should think long and hard about a career
under Sheedy and the moody Mark Williams. Sydney
is a party town but those two coaches are not party men.

Today, the Advertiser ran Michelangelo Rucci’s story
on Port’s hour of reckoning on page one*. The SANFL,
Rucci wrote, was ready to take back Port’s AFL license.
By the end of the day, the AFL said they would bankroll Port

for the next two years until their shift to the River Torrens.
A strange day. Port claimed this as a success for the club.
The truth is that they should never have been given
a license in the first place. That club was never going

to increase its appeal. Port has Carlton at AAMI this Sunday
at 4.40pm. It will be dark at 5.15pm and cold and it will rain.
They have no hope at all. I don’t know why I’m going.
Yes, I do! I can watch Chris Judd and Bryce Gibbs with glee.

I’ve given up all hope, by the way, on the pre-season Gibbs’ bet
to win the Medal. He’s having a stellar season (4.6, 150 kicks,
61 handballs, 66 marks, 35 tackles) after ten rounds. But that’s
not enough. He’s a linkman, a facilitator, often a tagger.

He might be the fairest player on the field; often he’s
the most consistent, often the most valuable – but he’s
not the best. He doesn’t turn games; he doesn’t change fortune;
he doesn’t win impossible balls. One day, when he is stronger,

older, smarter than the rest, he might win a medal. But not
this year. Collingwood’s Thomas, Pendlebury and Swan
will get more votes than him but neither of those three will win.
Gary Ablett and Chris Judd will poll well; but it may be a year

for ruckmen or even darker horses. There are some lovely
dominant players out there now – Dean Cox has been
staggering; Aaron Sandilands was a chance, too,
until he turfed his toe and lost a month. Brisbane’s

Jack Redden and Richmond’s Robin Nahas are silly chances
but we are not yet half way there. Do you miss footy, Rhys?
Do you see games on that big boat? Or are you happy
to have a break from Caroline Wilson’s hair that keeps

falling in her eyes; or Bruce McAvaney’s annoying habit
of couching his commentary as a series of questions
to his fellow panellists; or watching the steam that rises
from Chris Judd’s naked skull when he’s interviewed

after night games. Those shots make him
look like a smouldering fire. It makes me
want to call the MFS. Or the RSPCA.
There’s a dragon loose on the field.

* Rucci: “Once upon a time, we used to argue long and hard to get a sports story in the first half of the book. These days, we argue with our editors to keep sport off page one.”


  1. John Butler says

    I like the observations on Gibbs JK.

    Blues fans regularly debate whether a number 1 pick should be used as a tagger, but he’s certainly done some big jobs in the last two seasons. Wherever the team is weak, he’s generally been given the task of filling the gap.

    Are Adelaide going anywhere at present? Does the apparent confidence in Craig hold fast? They looked so good in round 1, the rest has seemed quite a let down.

  2. John Kingsmill says

    Adelaide need to win ten from the next thirteen to scrape into the eight. That’s a big ask. They could beat North, West Coast, (twice)., Bulldogs, Sydney, Port, Brisbane, Suns and Richmond and still miss out.

    The club and the players have faith in Craig. The fans are losing it. Craig won’t be sacked – he’s on staff now, as coach, not on contract. The agreement is that Craig will walk as soon as he thinks he has nothing left to offer. And he will as soon as someone better emerges. That might be Mark Bickley or Simon Goodwin and my guess is that that might happen around Round 16 or so in 2012 if Adelaide’s output remains mediocre.

    My view is that the problems aren’;t with the coach. Adelaide has some good new talent – Rory Sloane, Patrick Dangerfield, Sam Jacobs… but they’re taking their time to learn how to click. And there are better teams out there now.

  3. Andrew Starkie says

    John, I accidentally deleted your ‘Deeper Water’ email, referring to PK. Thanks so much for going to the trouble. Wow, what a thrill. Thumbs up from a legend!



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