Round 15 – Melbourne v Adelaide: Melbourne by foot, Part 3 (Job done!)

Sunday, ostensibly the reason for the visit. The Crows are the only game in town precisely on the first anniversary of Phil Walsh’s death. It revives sad memories: breaking the news to the lad as he was wearing his Crows onesie to ‘pyjamas day’ at school; watching from a distance a week later as a devastated group trudged off Subiaco. Not sure it’s a wise decision to uncoincidentally schedule this game. The Crows surprised us all last year with their end of season run so who knows?


The afternoon starts with a couple of beers in Young and Jackson’s with the Almanac’s Hobart based Crows correspondent, Mark Duffett. It’s great to put another corporeal existence to an electronic presence. We wander over to the MCG as part of a movement much smaller than the night before and set up shop on the bottom level of the Ponsford Stand this time. There’s a bit to like about $25 footy tickets but a decent beer at the MCG is actually more expensive than Adelaide Oval.


We are joined by Swish and the Pie (now Hotdog) Girl. As we guess what sort of crowd we’ll get today she estimates it as ‘a 100 hotdog crowd’ – brilliant! Less brilliant that she remembers me as the bloke that kept going to get beer at the Blues game last year. To be fair I only got three – the first one was a mistake, the second to confirm my taste buds weren’t fibbing and the third a failed attempt at something better. I go and get a beer.


The Crows run out to a friendly welcome from what turns out to be 29,000 fans with a reasonable 19th man presence. It makes you realise how much Victorian attendance figures are propped up (or not) by away team fans. Different cultures.


The Crows start out much the brighter as they are able to get enough control of the football to move into 50 often and quick enough to post five goals to the city end. These are accented by a couple of Melbourne goals earned through midfield pressure. The Crows defence appear to have a tough day of it with Hogan, Watts and Garlett looking dangerous. I’m not the first to observe it but Melbourne aren’t too far away from being a very good team. If they can continue improving over the next two seasons, while Nathan Jones is at the peak of his powers, they’ll be there or thereabouts.


Betts isn’t quite his usual self, Jetta making life hard for him and Jenkins has a touch of the fumbles – each mark he takes he takes twice. With each possession and mistake, a wag a couple of rows back live tracks Jenkins’s contract value. The range increases in line with the beers consumed in that row. Meanwhile Melbourne storm back in the second quarter, moving the ball with purpose and capitalising on some horrid Adelaide turnovers in defence. Melbourne manage eight goals for the quarter and go into the sheds up by a couple.


The Melbourne supporters I’ve managed to annoy in front of me give me a couple of dirty looks as they head off for their half time refreshments. Meanwhile news filters through from Adelaide that Ms 5 told the significant other at footy this morning she should shout more because ‘that’s what daddy normally does’. Do I lack control? I am never personally abusive or sexist, racist or homophobic (not asking for a medal, mind). Should the footy ground be a safe place for normally quiet people to shout at the top of their lungs? Do we otherwise lack such spaces in our everyday lives?


The Crows are out early in the second half, no doubt shot out of the change rooms by Don Pyke’s rocket. They form a huddle mid pitch, not sure if that is a normal thing, as Tex looks to be imparting some words. I have not been a fan of his captaincy this year, preferring another, but this is a perfect example of where the spectator is in no position to have an educated opinion on the matter. Who sees what happens in the change rooms or hears what is said in the huddles?


Regardless, the Crows play with a renewed sense of urgency and put on five goals in the first 10 minutes of the quarter. The midfield led by Sloane and the Crouches are reining in the contested ball and clearance deficits from the first half. Melbourne keep themselves in the contest with a couple of against the flow goals and it’s a nine point game at the last break. Given most of the scoring to date has occurred to the city end, it’s not a comfortable three quarter time break. Mark talks of his two consecutive trips to the Ponderosa to see his and Swish’s beloved Centrals. I avoid talking of Norwood.


The last quarter continues as a spirited affair, although a bit tighter on the scoreboard. Missed shots are the only thing traded for the first half of the quarter but some of the moments stick with you. Luke Brown, who has been stretched (I refuse to say beaten) today by the Demons’ small forwards, comes from out of position to force a one on one contest which he eventually wins, clearing the ball up ground to a contest and over the boundary. It’s key moments like that that can make all the difference in a close contest. Soon after, the Crows kick two quick ones through Cameron and McGovern and appear to have done enough with 20 minutes elapsed. A small trickle of the most pessimistic of Melbourne fans leaving seems to confirm that as does the siren 10 minutes and a goal to each team later.


Job done! It’s hard to know what impact this weekend and the last year have had on this team. Every single Crow out there today was woken by an early morning phone call a year ago, groggily unbelieving of its import. Today they sit equal second on the ladder, a genuine premiership threat.


I often marvel at the resilience of children – the lass, soon after breaking her leg as a two year old, insisting on walking everywhere, swinging her becasted leg like a pirate captain. I also marvel at the resilience shown by this group of young men. One day in the future, when careers are over and the petty jealousies of club football have faded, words will be written of this group – words worth reading.


There are plenty of words worth reading on the Footy Almanac. It is for the most part an incredibly supportive community where the only barrier to admission is putting some words on a page. Getting to meet such a diverse group of people and spend some time with some of them at the footy is a great privilege – the best!


Adelaide 18.12 120 def Melbourne 15.8 98


Malarkey Medal: 3. Jones (Melb), 2. Sloane (Adel), 1. Laird (Adel)

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About Dave Brown

Upholding the honour of the colony. "Play up Norwoods!"


  1. Rulebook says

    Dave great read as always yep can never judge the inner sanctum from the outside, the legs of 2016 are like the war don’t mention it.What this group has done is extraordinary and in time will be recognised more.Love meeting fellow knackers and finding out more about the writer getting that connection and I am not,Marcel Marceau at the footy

  2. E.regnans says

    Well played D Brown.
    Excellent mini series.
    And well played Adelaide.

    We humans are an interesting/ dull, noisy/ quiet, supportive/ disruptive bunch. Play on.

  3. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Fine words Dave and keen observations of our surrounds.

    That spot you picked out at the Ponsford end was quite good, we might park ourselves thereabouts on Sunday. Will be interesting to see how many Crows make the visit, now that SA holidays have started.

    I was too tardy getting tickets for the Geelong game, so this week might be the last time we see Adelaide in the flesh until the Grand Final (!!!)

  4. Great capture of a great heavy-hearted Crows Afl game, enjoyed by all!! May Footy Long life!!

  5. Luke Reynolds says

    Excellent end to your trip Dave, best trilogy since The Dark Knight series.

  6. Ben Footner says

    Very good observation about this Adelaide group having a compelling story that I hope will be told in print one day. All the more compelling if they manage to achieve the ultimate in the wake of such a tragedy – not forgetting the death of Dean Bailey and the Tippett affair thrown in for good measure as well.

    Resilience personified IMO, very proud to support this club.

  7. Dave Brown says

    Thanks for the comments, peoples.

    Hard to believe, Rulebook.

    Thanks ER, I shall if for no other reason than the alternative being unpalatable.

    I am sending over two Browns and a Hammond this weekend, Swish. They’ll fly the flag.

    Thanks Bec

    Very big call, Luke (but thanks)

    Agreed, Ben. I really don’t like the AFL, but, boy, I like this club

  8. Mark Duffett says

    Pretty comprehensive and entirely in accord with my observations, so not much I can add except perhaps a one-line review of Young and Jackson’s as a pleasantly convivial watering hole. (Remembered the WPA invocation though Dave, ‘Roaring Days’ Their pie floater didn’t quite have the oomph of the old Parade pie cart version, but still went down well with a Tasmanian dark ale. Altogether one of the more enjoyable afternoons I’ve ever spent, thanks Dave and Swish.

  9. Great yarns, Dave. Thanks.
    Sounds like you had a ripping weekend in Melbourne town.

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