Round 14 – Adelaide v Geelong: Match Report

The game not played

Adelaide versus Geelong

2.50pm, Sunday 5 July
Adelaide Oval

Rob Bath

The siren sounds promptly at 2.50 this winter afternoon. But there is no bounce-down. In the centre there is no umpire, no ruckmen vying for the tap, no midfielders for the clearance.

The stands are empty. There are something like 20,000 souls on the ground itself, but no players; no Crows, no Cats.

Today there will be no exhilarating three-bounce runs, no hard-fought inside balls, no controversial tackles, no snapped goals from deep in the forward pocket, no slick hand-passing, no Brownlow votes, no hangers or speccies, none of those things that make Australian Rules football great.

The coaches’ boxes are empty. Chris Scott is with his players, safe in Geelong. And Phil Walsh…

Phillip Walsh, the sixth senior coach of the Adelaide Football Club, died sixty-two hours ago, in his own house, in the dead of a freezing cold full-moon July night – the victim of an horrific, bizarre, tragic domestic crime which, try though we must, we will never fully understand.

Following due deliberation the AFL has determined that today’s match will be cancelled and the sides each awarded two premiership points.

And still 20,000 spectators have attended; not spectators so much as participants in a game not played, here to mourn, to pay respect, to feel the safety in numbers, to be alone with their thoughts.

Adelaide        0.0       0.0       0.0       0.0       (0.0)

Geelong           0.0       0.0       0.0       0.0       (0.0)

GOALS  Adelaide:

BEST    Adelaide:

UMPIRES                      CROWD 20,000




  1. Yvette Wroby says

    Beautifully done Rob. Perfectly reported. Thoughts are with all Adelaide and Port Adelaide families. Hugs and kisses to each and every member of our own.


  2. Beautiful work, Rob. When future footy historians look back on this fixture, they will try to make sense of why the game wasn’t played, while those of us who are here now are trying to make sense of the act that led to its cancellation – and failing, because it makes no sense at all.


  3. Dave Brown says

    Yep, perfect, Rob. Tempted to suggest six votes to the broader footballing community – just a brilliant response to a devastating situation.

  4. Such a tragic circumstance but this is truly the sort and standard of writing which makes our Almanac site so great.

  5. Patrick Skene says

    Thanks Rob!
    Footy in its finest hour.

  6. Couldn’t believe the numbers that turned up. Extraordinary.

  7. Nice Rob

    Found myself very proud of football this weekend. There’s a lot to criticise usually but I was tremendously impressed with how footy handled itself.

    Like many, I struggle to make sense of what cannot be made sense of. I didn’t know him and am deeply saddened, so can only imagine how those close to him or influenced by him are going to be.


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