Round 17 – Adelaide v Gold Coast: A Pillar of (Chicken) Salt

Sporting teams are rarely singular, and often present as splintered groups, but wearing the same uniform. The Australian cricket eleven is an example. Under the fractious leadership of Bradman there were edgy subtexts between the Catholics and Protestants, while in recent years Ponting and Clarke’s sides have been dogged by dressing room divides.

 

But this Gold Coast Suns team is a peculiar ensemble. In one corner, gathered in pre-game worship, there’s the Gold Coast sons (of God). Led sermonically by Gazza, the son of another God, they occupy a puritanical enclave. And in a night-clubbish corner, under strobing lights, with UDL cans and thin boundary lines of white powder present (not the type used at ancient footy ovals) we have the Gold Coast Sins.

 

This is our family’s first footy match. We’ve been back in Australia for a few weeks, and today is both our Mitani Chicken Salt Adelaide Oval and AFL debut. We take the Glenelg tram in.

 

For the first time the Crows have three Rorys in their side, but the Gold Coast dominate early with two quick goals. Charlie Dixon is monolithic and we don’t have anyone who can match him.

 

Kade Kolodjashnij gets the ball across to Nick Malceski during the first quarter, and I wonder how local commentator KG Cunningham might have mangled that with his exotic pronunciation. Soon after the Crows finally locate some fluency with a tidy sequence of disposals and Walker gets us away. It’s close and spirited match, and scores are locked at the break.

 

I explore Adelaide Oval’s eastern side and see the Garry McIntosh Bar. In the depths of winter I once saw the iconic Norwood hard man in a Parade pub. He was sitting alone on a stool, and wearing shorts, singlet and thongs as if he’d come from the cricket. He wasn’t having a drink, but a large cigar.

 

I then strolled by the Graham Cornes Deck, and thought it well-named given that there have been many who’d like to deck Graham Cornes.

 

The dream match-up of Tom Lynch v Tom Lynch hasn’t happened, but Betts is vibrant and slots the stanza’s first. Looking reminiscent of Nathan Burke with his black helmet, Rory Sloane is providing his usual grunt. It’s a bright and breezy afternoon, and Chaz Dixon is immovable and takes a one handed grab, which symbolises his hulking menace.

 

But we have Charlie Cameron, a fleet fox in the forward line, and his confidence is growing. He runs onto a loose ball, collects it and converts. But the big Suns are threatening, and their Lynch is dominant. It’s tight.

 

Our boys are enjoying the footy. They clap and cheer. They inhale food like Merv on twelfth man duties. The wife gets a chiko roll. It’s disappointing. I think she’s right. They’re great conceptually, but ultimately a culinary frustration.

 

Some officiating decisions go against the home side, and the crowd boos like we’re at a Christmas panto. They have a point as you’d expect umpires Farmer and Hay to share a better affinity.

 

Beneath the grandstand at half time I look at a menu. Mmmm. I go to a different stall. Each is the same. Like a Huxley novel or an episode of Lost in Space emptily nodding servers point at an identical laminated menu-

 

Entree

Portions of lightly pan-fried fritz dusted with chicken salt

Main

A proudly upside-down meat pie submerged in thick pea soup, tomato sauce and dusted with chicken salt

Dessert

Sponge cake kitchen-sculptured into the shape of a frog’s head and bejewelled with cream and green fondant icing*

* May contain traces of chicken salt

 

For the Crows Lever and Laird have been impressive in defence, against the Suns’ behemoths. In his breakout season Laird is likely leading our best and fairest. For his size he’s a solid mark, and an excellent decision-maker.

 

Jenkins goals, but as some have noted, he’s got the chassis of a Leyland P76, while under his bonnet is a misfiring lawnmower engine. Mercifully, at the other end the Charlie Dixon line is astray, with his kicking affected by the swirling breeze.

 

Dangerfield goals after bursting from the pack. But we have yet another video review. The tension is assembled like the superficial theatre of reality TV. The goal stands!

 

At three-quarter time we have a double substitution. Our youngest is done for the day, and he and his mum head to the tram. Both have played well.

 

Sixteen seconds into the final period, and Douglas runs through half forward and with his deceptively long kick he goals. Harley Bennell has been good in his first game back for the Suns, but yet again the loss of Ablett is telling. Without the son, the Suns are eclipsed.

 

Young Crow Knight goals tidily to kill the game, and he just misses the Mitani Chicken Salt hoarding on the Riverbank Stand. If he’d struck it we all would’ve received a lifetime supply of chicken salt.

 

After the match we’re siphoned across the Torrens footbridge to the canary yellow tram. We’ve had a top afternoon in Row X of the Gavin Wanganeen Stand.

 

It’s great to be home.

 

ADELAIDE       4.1   9.5   11.10  19.11  (125)

GOLD COAST   4.1   7.4   10.7    12.8    (80)

 

GOALS

Adelaide: Cameron 4, Jenkins, Betts 3, Walker, Douglas, Sloane 2, Dangerfield, Laird, Martin

Gold Coast: Lynch 4, Dixon 3, Matera 2, Day, Russell, Lonergan

 

BEST

Adelaide: Douglas, Dangerfield, Laird, Lever, Thompson, Jacobs

Gold Coast: Lynch, Bennell, Lonergan, Dixon, Hall, Kolodjashnij

 

INJURIES

Adelaide: Nil Gold Coast: Ablett (knee)

 

SUBSTITUTES

Adelaide: Rory Atkins replaced Matthew Wright at three-quarter time

Gold Coast: Joshua Glenn replaced Gary Ablett at quarter time

 

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Farmer, Hay, Harris

Official crowd: 42,656 at Adelaide Oval

Our Votes: Laird, Lever, Bennell

About Mickey Randall

Late afternoon beer, Exile on Main St playing. Sport like cricket, most types of football, golf, squash, horse racing. Travel, with Vancouver my favourite city, but there’s nowhere I’ve not happily been. Except Luton. Reading. Writing about family, sport, music, the stuff that amuses me. Conversation. Wit. Irony. McLaren Vale cabernet sauvignon, Barossa shiraz, Coopers Sparkling Ale. Jazz and especially Miles Davis. Lots and lots of music. I live in Adelaide with my wife Kerry-ann and our boys Alex and Max.

Comments

  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    Bravo Mickey.

    As you know, there is Mitani moolah in my kick, as we sold our home to them, in the posh part of Para Hills.

    Now that the statute of limitations is over, I can share with the world how they made their fortune.

    One midweek afternoon in the early 70s after collecting a poultice on the young Nevada Smoke (and putting most of the winnings over the bar), Angle Vale chicken farmer Enrico Mitani turned right instead of left when exiting the Globe Derby carpark, and ended up bogging his 1963 Valiant in the salt pans.

    Enrico was at the time grappling with the unfortunate problem of producing chickens that were too fat for his main client, Chick Hansen’s Charcoal Chicken on Main North Road, Nailsworth.

    In a blinding flash of genius, he decided to construct his first poultry gymnasium and sauna next to one of the salt pans. Not wanting to waste a thing, he rigged together an impressive drainage system to collect their sweaty juices. However, Enrico wasn’t that good with the Selley’s sealant and his first session’s secretions a few weeks later, ended up in Pan #3 instead of the reconfigured Rocca Brothers drip tray he was using.

    He scooped up the now soggy amalgam of cackle NaCl, chucked in onto the back of his Bedford tray top and forgot about it. A few days later, his dog was seen furiously licking the dried yellowing pile of flakes, emitting howls of pleasure.

    Enrico didn’t tell Chick about how he came up with his new flavour enhancer, Chick didn’t want to know, as long as he kept delivering it in 10kg buckets each week. That’s a lot of sweaty chooks.

    The rest was history, history writ large at the Southern End of Adelaide Oval each winter weekend.

  2. Dave Brown says:

    Well done Mickey (and Swish). Every time I go to the Garry McIntosh Bar I half expect the man himself to be propping it up. Charlie Cameron grows by the week (as a player). Lever and Laird outstanding. Jenkins starting to become an accountable footballer (hopefully Matty Robran is giving him lessons in the art of bringing the ball to ground). How interstate football venues survive without chicken salt on offer is beyond me.

  3. Peter_B says:

    Abbott and Costello. Morecambe and Wise. Randall and Schwerdt.
    I can’t work out which one is the straight man feeding the lines.
    Well played those men. As someone who refuses to eat sporting stadium food on the grounds of price, price, price, taste, texture and health – I have no comment on chicken salt.
    I saw a lass in front of us at Subiaco bring back a $9 half filled thimble of red (probably Coolabah) to accompany her man’s sudsy, flat Carlton Light (vomit). I remember thinking “I hope she’s an alky and either drank or spilled the other half on the way back to her seat”.
    Well done Mickey on using early exposure as a strategy for warning your family off a life of chiko rolls, heart disease and bowel cancer.

  4. Dan Hansen says:

    Great description of Jenkins. I wonder if he’d be any better with a sprinkle of chicken salt.

  5. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Gold Mickey and KG a happy,76 birthday today.Laird has been fantastic and should be in all aust contention but surely,Danger is leading the b and f.Dixons kicking helped it what was a attacking game of footy.Lever s good now and will be a gun,welcome home,Mickey a very entertaining summary

  6. Thanks men. Sorry I missed you. Just got home from a terrific lunch up at Balhannah. The pork roast was a treat!

    Swish- finally the true story of chicken salt has been told. What a great yarn that is. I can imagine it as an audio book narrated by Keith Conlon or KG. The telemovie would star Roy Billings as Enrico. A Rocca Bros drip tray too- love that detail. The true stories of the pie floater, and the butcher of beer served at the Newmarket pub could make a wonderful series. And I reckon you should tell it. Thanks Swish.

    Dave- I think I may be harsh on Jenkins and hope he’ll blossom into the footballer we all want him to be! Matty Robran should be able to teach him a few things about being a key forward.

    Thanks PB. Given yesterday’s brisk weather a soup stall would have done a cracking trade. I recall soup being sold at country footy in those terrible cardboard cups that burnt your hands every time!

    Thanks Dan. He seems to sometimes not be short of chicken, if not salt.

    Malcolm- Regards to KG who, despite the mocking, is a great supporter of all things South Australian. Laird could well grab an AA spot, by taking Smith’s place! Thanks for that. Catch you soon.

  7. Luke Reynolds says:

    Wonderful Mickey. Have been looking forward to your first back in Australia footy tale. In total agreeance with Mrs Randall about Chiko rolls.

    And well done Swish. Brilliant.

  8. Barb Jamieson says:

    pleased that we won, yes, could I say that I came home feeling elated at what I saw ……well , no I couldn’t . For three quarters, it was frustrating , not helped at all by the fact that I’m beginning to wonder if I actually understand the rules of the game anymore, thanks to the little green men .
    Having said that , I was also frustrated by the ebb and flow of the Crows, with each of the first three quarters showing two very different sides of the one team .
    Some bright lights of course, Charlie Cameron is going to the new Eddie Betts , who of course still delights us , and while he disappears from time to time , shows up when he’s really needed . Jake Lever is going to be a shot in the arm ( whoops should I use that expression ) for the side , and good old reliable , and often underrated Douglas who has been a long time favourite of mine , just keeps on keeping on.
    I know Josh Jenkins gets a bit of criticism , and we have our doubters, but I still think he will continue to evolve and develope.
    There’s a couple that I’d like to see toughen up , and put their body on the line more , and I would hope that a new coach will pick up on that and either toughen them up , or consider they aren’t up to par, but I’ll play that close to my chest, in case I’m proven wrong with time.
    The last quarter gave me what I came to see , and that is, what I know they can produce , and how often I have heard more than one coach say it , we want four quarters of good hard hungry football, that’s how you win games , that’s how you go from being a team , to being a good , or even elite team .
    But we will take the fourointfour thank you .

  9. Thanks Luke. I feel an obligation towards the chiko roll, and have one in every Olympic year. Disappointed, I think why did I get excited about this cabbage festival?

    Barb- thanks for your thoughts with which I agree. Up to the last change and even without Ablett there was a sense that Gold Coast could’ve pinched it. And it would have been deserved.

    I know Jenkins has now kicked one hundred goals for us, and this is great, but he needs to be a menacing presence. Could Roo take him to the Ramsgate?

  10. CHRIS CUNNINGHANM says:

    BRAVE, very brave in attempting to eat a whole Chicko Roll , especially after the culinary delights of Singas. I always thought that the first 2 mouthfuls of a Chicko were OK (just ) and then it was all downhill from there on. I have been vainly trying to think of a football allegory of a chicko roll but I will have to leave that to smarter people than me.. Kev Mac ??
    Charlie will be a gun and Jake the snake is a beauty !!

  11. Thanks Chris.

    I would imagine a chiko roll is like the Footy Show for some in that it promises to be a tasty and fulfilling experience, but is ultimately just flatulence generated by vegetables.

    I was super impressed by Lever. His performance was great. Under Eddies’ tutelage, Charlie’s improving too.

  12. E.regnans says:

    Well played Mickey – nice cameo from the Glenelg tram – amid many fine cameos.

    You say “it’s great to be home.”
    Dorothy was right.
    What contributed to it feeling like home?

  13. Thanks E.r. One of life’s finest things is taking a tram or a train for leisure.

    So many little, often unexpected experiences have contributed to me being home. Some beautifully sunny and calm wintery days, eucalyptus trees all around (you’d approve surely!), wide and often empty neighbourhood streets, heading home from the airport and hearing a Barnesy song on the car radio, sausage rolls, being able to afford decent cuts of meat, walking from here to the corner and not drowning in my own perspiration, seeing kids kicking a footy all about the place, and of course, family and friends.

    Thanks David.

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