Round 21 – Essendon v Adelaide: International. Airport Dwellers.

The International Cup came to my little slice of Melbourne on Saturday. Great Britain v Ireland at Koornang Park, home of the Southern League’s Caulfield Bears, at the convenient time of 12:30pm

I arrived just as the Warriors scored their fourth behind, the game’s only scores to that point. Strolling down to the scoring end, the passion from both sides was evident. Some of the kicking styles were agricultural but effective and the ball handling was generally safe and sure. This isn’t meant to be condescending; I just didn’t know what to expect. It was worth watching.

Ireland settled when their big full forward presented strongly and finished off the upfield endeavour with a pair of goals. I spent enough time behind the eastern goals to see Ireland’s lead extend and the game looked over at quarter time. I continued my circuit of the ground, taking in the huddles of both sides.


GB (white) v IRE (green) [click to enlarge]

I found my on-line cobber @AmbiguousAndy on the fence at the Stephen Cummings Swimming Pool end. We solved the problems of the world (or at least I vented at the state of IT project management and how it may well have driven me into an early metaphorical employment grave) while we were entertained by the GB Bulldogs’ fightback as the contest narrowed in the second quarter.

Andy’s oft-offsider at Richmond games, @The_FMI was tweeting from another IC17 clash, held at Montrose between USA and PNG, but we had the close one.

The Irish piled on the goals in the third. (Was the wind really that strong?) GB scratched together a few behinds at our end but we were generally a long way from the action. Still, when the Irish full back and his GB opponent got more than a bit niggly a post code away from the play, the goal umpiringly yells of “keep your elbows down number 25” told us that footy is footy no matter where the participants come from.

The boys in mostly White had a dip in the last, but the deal was sealed when the Green guernseys banged through the day’s only west-end goal.

The stentorian Koornang Park final siren saw the final scores as 9.16 to 8.7.

With this match sandwiched between the Caulfield ressies and firsts game, the crowd was engaged and vocal. The idea of taking the Cup to the suburbs worked for me. I’m guessing that the visitors would have appreciated being able to revel in the grass roots, community aspect of their day. I hope they stuck around for the Bears’ main game and had a snag and a can to round out their IC17 experience.


Back home, I had time to knock together tonight’s hearty (and as it turned out the next day, farty) soup while trying to take in the Cats v Tigers then some brief on-line snippets of Centrals’ toweling of a feeble Redlegs at the Parade. The pearl barley, swede, carrot, onion, fennel, stock and pork sausage was ready in time for an early dinner, necessitated by tonight’s main event at the Docklands.

The early evening rain caught us on the hop, but we made a timely arrival at Southern Cross, jumping off just as a clutch of downcast Richmond fans were finding their way back home. The Melbourne circle of life.


The Docklands’ Eddie Betts Grandstand.

It’s been a while since Adelaide had a night game at Platform 17. We weren’t sure where to locate ourselves, settling for a spot high up in the Eddie Betts pocket.


The Crows were off to a brisk start, but Essendon kept snapping at our heels, in fact they looked downright dangerous. I wasn’t worried if it turned into the predicted shootout as our defenders were busy picking off many of their misdirected attempts. Greenwood’s “hughe” grab and Smithers raking major were the first term high points.

Our three goal lead was wiped out by three Joe Daniher goals and I was wondering whether Alex Keath was the answer (his later form suggested that he might be). Daniher might have shown some harmless exuberance when he gleefully mocked Ratkins his former Cannons teammate,  but it was the last time Daniher hit the scoreboard and Atkins ignored the taunt, instead going on to be one of our best players.

Adelaide completely dominated the rest of the quarter, with goals to Douglas, Lynch (after Eddie’s clever tap work on the opposite flank), value-for-kicks McGovern, Walker and Knight, rounded off by Lynch’s howler of a miss after Tex’s booming lace out torp.


Jam Fritter or Raspberry Scallop?

Our half-time winter warming revealed that the Docklands doughnuts were absolute shite according to my companion, and she should know. On-line jibes about raspberry fritters and jam scallops kept us going.

Majors to Atkins and a rare non-Eddie crumbing snag from Mackay threatened a third quarter blow out, but Essendon regained control. Hooker’s two goals were followed by a once-was-trademark spearing goal from Jobe Watson, the first time that I noticed him all night. Alarm bells (if not air raid sirens – don’t get me started) met Hooker’s third for the quarter, until Adelaide composed themselves. Tex’s millimetre perfect pass to Smith and a buzzer-beating pass from Charlie Cameron to Josh Jenkins added twelve points to the margin.

After five minutes or so of nothing doing, Essendon gave their home fans some hope with two more long goals from a previously wayward Stewart then Hooker. Again, the Crows had the answer. Jenkins had been playing a bit more of a mobile role, but his second was the result of good judgement straight in front.

Another back and forth spell was broken by another long goal from the airport dwellers, Colyer’s first, and there was enough time for the home side if they were good enough. Which they weren’t.

Adelaide controlled the rest of the match, their aerial dominance continued as they flew home with majors to JJ, Gov and an inside out torp from Brad Crouch to cap off a night where they responded whenever they needed to.

I haven’t mentioned Matt Crouch so far; there is nothing flashy about him but each of his twenty plus handballs got the ball away from congestion to players such as Smith and Atkins who did the rest.

Adelaide’s ball use was extremely clean. We didn’t need to rely on a big hauls from Betts or Walker and forced Essendon into long range attempts as their only scoring option.

Our remaining two games should be “ideal preparation” for the finals, now that we are certain to be home in the first week. (I can finally say that).

Let’s hope that Adelaide don’t play in Melbourne until late September.


ESSENDON     2.2       5.4       9.7       12.8 (80)
ADELAIDE       5.3       10.6     14.9     18.15 (123)


Essendon: Hooker 4, Daniher 3, Stewart 2, McKenna, Watson, Colyer
Adelaide: Jenkins 3, McGovern 3, Douglas 2, Walker 2, Smith 2, Greenwood, Lynch, Knight, Atkins, Mackay, B.Crouch

Essendon: Hurley, McGrath, Hooker, Daniher, Zaharakis, Leuenberger
Adelaide:  M.Crouch, Douglas, Smith, Jenkins, Atkins, Sloane

Essendon: Daniher (finger)
Adelaide: Walker (ankle), Sloane (left leg)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Dalgleish, Williamson, Pannell

Official crowd: 38,487 at Etihad Stadium


About Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt

Saw my first SANFL game in 1967 - Dogs v Peckers. Have only ever seen the Dogs win 1 final in the flesh (1972 1st Semi) Mediocre forward pocket for the AUFC Blacks (1982-89) Life member - Ormond Netball Club -That's me on the right


  1. Agree about the air-raid sirens, Swish. Quite unsettling given the current environment.

    Interesting that Keath was very notably on the bench during Joe’s 3 goal 2nd term blitz. He had a long enough break that I thought he must have picked up an injury. We looked stretched when it was only Talia and Lever back there.

  2. What exactly do they do re air raid sirens ? Good to have a donut expert in the crowd it was a impressive composed performance by the Crows we wait and see how September unfolds thanks Swish

  3. Dave Brown says

    Good stuff Swish (and thanks for mentioning the Centrals result only once, I’ve had funner afternoons than sitting at the Parade on Saturday and watching our season evaporate in front of us). Yep, still can’t believe Essendon crank an air raid siren before games, given for many people that would be a PTSD trigger, let alone the current state of the world. As for the Crows, regardless of how the season pans out from here, I’ll make a bold claim that Pyke is the key strategic influence on this season, in terms of making other teams play like or work out methods to combat the Crows’ tactics. Each time they come out he has tweaked something and shutting down the Crows is now much more than shutting down Sloane. It will not necessarily mean a premiership but is at least a moral victory.

  4. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks Steve – as Dave points out, there’s probably no time for the that sound effect.

    ‘Book – it is the Essendon equivalent of Never Tear Us Apart, i.e. the wailing goes for about 20 seconds just before the first bounce.

    Ta Dave, Pyke might be a genius. How many more are there out there like him? Although I’m not too sure that they’ll be selling moral victory t-shirts at the Crows shop..

  5. Mark Duffett says

    Now you mention it (or at least the air-raid sirens), the Bomber appellation itself is a bit problematic.

    Sounds a pleasant weekend all round (sorry Dave), and nicely put. I hope the vents were therapeutic, whether soup-induced or otherwise.

  6. Luke Reynolds says

    Always good to see Ireland beat Great Britain.
    Is Koornang Park the home of the former VFA Caulfield Bears or are they a separate identity in a seperate location?
    Could “How to make soup” by Swish to the tune of “How to make gravy” be a song for Champs on the Coodabeens?
    As for the doughnuts, everything is better at the MCG than shite old Etihad.

  7. Swish- you’ve had yourself a good day out and about- as Sandy Stone might say, “A nice day’s entertainment.”

    Much to enjoy about the Crows and their ball use. Like the batting of M.Waugh, the kicking of B.Smith is highly watchable- elegance and power.

  8. Dave Brown says

    I would totally wear a Crows moral victory t-shirt (would suggest they also claimed the 2015 moral premiership). Need to get one of our designer friends onto that if things don’t pan out this year.

  9. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Mark – to think that a few of them came from the Calder Cannons. What’s So Funny About Peace Love and Understanding v Whatever It Takes.

    Had to resort to this for the definitive answer Luke – Beerenberg tomato sauce for that extra tang

    Hope Smithers doesn’t get asked to provide any pitch reports Mickey.

    Since the likely candidate artists also have their teams (currently) in the 8, they may not be that interested Dave, but upon reflection, I’d wear one too.

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