Round 3 – Port Adelaide v Adelaide: A Moment

In contrast to the previous torrid energy it was an uncontested mark with nothing in the way of opposition pressure, such as a spoil, or a sudden, secretive fist to the ribs.

Resulting from a David MacKay disposal it was an unhurried and simple catch; the kind associated with circle work at a country oval’s Tuesday night training, while inside the glowing clubrooms volunteers squeezed pies and pasties into warmers.

In January 2015, many were surprised that Patrick Dangerfield wasn’t appointed captain of the Crows. However, with a likely acceptance that their star player would soon wish to return to Moggs Creek, there was a quiet nodding of sage heads at the news that the role had been assigned to Taylor Walker.

A key component of the Phil Walsh legacy, he was about to demonstrate the wisdom of this decision.

Having taken the grab Walker wheeled around like a rattling cattle truck and assessed his options. He made a quick, barely perceptible scan of the landscape and decided.

Despite his Barry White/ Stephen Kernahan/ Dad joke baritone possibly suggesting otherwise Tex is an astute footballer who knows intimately the ecosystem of Adelaide Oval. With the Riverbank Stand towering taller than the MCG he knew that its surrounding microclimate, largely windless and advantageous on this autumnal evening, would assist his endeavours.

Watch now as into that rare real estate, sufficient space, he strides, not as a gut-busting midfielder, but as sizeable, agile forward. Yes, he thinks, the time is right. The fifty-metre arc slides into distant view.

He balances and connects.

Despite the infantile and myopic scrabblings of the game’s rules committee and cash-drunk administrators and the carnivorous stadium vendors and the grasping media outlets and the petty trivia of the footy news-cycle, it’s these moments that’ll endure, that’ll guarantee the endless charisma of our game.

For lesser footballers, this spot on this long, lean ground might be no man’s land, an uncomfortable location where the options are crippling. Do I pass to a leading forward? Centre the ball? Aim for the top of the square? Handball to team mate on the burst? However, at this spot, seventy metres from goal there’s another possibility, but it’s only available for an elite few.

Tex Walker has a kicking technique that’s akin to a David Warner pull shot. Elegant in its simplicity, it marries outback power, untainted physics and Mick Jagger arrogance.

Now launched, the ball spins in a somewhat ungainly fashion, lurching through the air, slinging itself goalward with hungry velocity, rather than with the pure, fizzing momentum of, say, a Luke Hodge pass.

It travels through the roaring night and there’s now a sudden, muted quality to the stadium soundtrack that’s universal disbelief, Port Power horror and Adelaide Crow awe. The ball travels and travels and continues to travel. The pregnant seconds stretch onward, invested with everything we love about our mighty, Indigenous code.

Unlike a Malcolm Blight torpedo, it traces a low parabola across my screen as the crowd rushes past in the background, a smeared Monet. Walker’s drop-punt is at once sublime, but also gigantic. It taunts the line between possibility and impossibility.

It’s a goal.

As the Sherrin thuds into the turf midway between the goal line and the fence, leaving a crater in the Santa Ana, the clock announces that four minutes remain. Adelaide is three goals up.

Now, for all present at the ground, or at home or in a pub across Australia, or peering at a screen in midday London or Auckland or Albuquerque, all is denouement.

The necessarily curved narrative of football is concluded. We’ve had a moment.

 

PORT ADELAIDE   4.6   6.6   9.8    12.11 (83)

ADELAIDE             3.3   7.9  11.10   15.10 (100)

GOALS

Port Adelaide: Wines 2, Wingard 2, R.Gray 2, Westhoff, Impey, Dixon, Boak, Eddy, Powell-Pepper

Adelaide: Walker 4, Betts 3, Otten 2, Knight 2, Lynch 2, Mackay, Sloane,

BEST

Port Adelaide: Wines, Ryder, Ebert, Byrne-Jones, Hartlett, Boak

Adelaide: Sloane, Douglas, Walker, Otten, Laird, Lynch, Knight

INJURIES

Port Adelaide: Nil

Adelaide: McGovern (hamstring)

 

Reports: Paddy Ryder (Port Adelaide) reported for striking Adelaide’s Riley Knight in the fourth quarter

 

Umpires: Dagleigh, Meredith, Williamson

 

Official crowd: 53,698

Our votes: Sloane (3), Walker (2), Wines (1)

 

About Mickey Randall

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption Favourite song: Khe Sahn Favourite holiday destination: Gold Coast Favourite food: steak Favourite beer: VB Best player seen: Dogga Worst player seen: Frogga Last score on beep test: 3.14159 Favourite minor character in Joyce’s Ulysses: Punch Costello

Comments

  1. Dave Brown says

    Great description Mickey. That play was pretty much the first thing I saw Taylor Walker do at the Parade as an 18 year old in his first SANFL game. The not quite as towering southern stand provided the backdrop that night too. A bit closer to goal but the same level of country boy insouciance.

  2. Thanks Dave. I liked that on Saturday night each of the four goals he kicked was different, and displayed a unique set of footy smarts.

    I recall him getting a bag of seven (?) early in his time at The Parade, obviously presenting himself as a youngster.

  3. Nice work. When they are travelling well, the Crows play in poetry, you manage to turn it into prose, although never prosaic.

  4. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    What a lovely thing, accounting for a single moment, Mickey. The ecosystem of the oval, a kick which travels the roaring night … lovely, lovely.

  5. Thanks Woof. If footballers assumed poetic form I think Eddie might be a haiku, Tex a Banjo-style ballad and Pendlebury matches the fluidity of ee cummings.

    Cheers Mathilde. I’ve always admired a writer who can really explore a moment. Ian McEwan does this brilliantly in Saturday when describing a squash game, and I reckon Gideon Haigh, Don DeLillo and Richard Ford are also masters of this.

  6. Dave Brown says

    He kicked 7 in an elimination final win in his first season with the Crows… against Port. Needless to say he’s well liked around here.

  7. Punxsu.... Pete says

    Just sought out the goal on the Crows site (and boy, were bugs crawling on my skin browsing on that site!)

    Wow, just majestic Tex. Caught all the granularity of it wondrously Mickey

  8. Fitting poetry. Elegant prose. Well played Mickey and Tex.
    Personally I preferred Jack Darling’s set shot shank from 25 metres in front on the 3/4 time. The adolescent excrement daub of “WTF” on the MCG scoreboard was much more original and expressive.
    40,000 Tiger fans roared their approval of this Shostakovitch of the shocker.

  9. PP- extra points for using “granularity” and thanks for your bravery in googling “Adelaide FC!”

    PB- extra points for using “Shostakovitch.” Not enough Russian pianists referenced on this site. I’ve just learnt that Shosta was a qualified football referee; always a good backup for a Communist Party member.

  10. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    Well you’ve named two of my faves in DeLillo and Ford, Mickey.
    But can we please not call Pendlebury ee cummings. I don’t think he has the subtle and sensual humour!

  11. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Any chance of a Robin Millhouse presided Royal Commission into the Adelaide Oval Stadium Management Authority’s failure to renegotiate the Mitani signage? It’s a slippery slope from there. Next you’ll tell me that they’ve replaced Amscol Footy Colours with Bulla Splits.

    I’m almost warming to the big galoot too.

  12. Absolutely superb,Mickey you captured the moment brilliantly and Dave yep remember that goal at the parade and the excitement in the crowd as well

  13. Mathilde- Is Billy Brownless the Pam Ayres of football? Then again Gary Ayres’ coaching at the Crows was initially somewhat Pam Ayres, but with a tragic element!

    Swish- I don’t know what’s happened to the Oval Formerly Known As The Chicken Salt Arena, but I don’t like it. Chicken salt built this state, and we’ve seemingly abandoned it. It’s not right. *shakes head*

  14. Tex knew that even a point at that stage with only 4 minutes to go would mean port would have to kick 3 goals to win….but so glad it was a goal…enjoyed your write up on the moment immensely.

  15. What a very evocative article Mickey..I lined up an hour before the gates opened to get a seat in the members and didn’t wear my crows scarf due to being surrounded by power members…no dramas.. Watched the game with my sister surrounded again..no dramas..it was a very gripping match and seemed to be enjoyed by everyone around us.. But texs goal shut the gate….Annie

  16. Thanks Malcolm. I know it’s an issue of perception rather than likely fact, but I’d almost prefer to see Eddie taking a shot from the boundary and Tex, beyond fifty, as opposed to twenty out, straight in front.

    Thanks Dave. I know that all the preceding events helped to shape the result, but the psychological impact of this booming goal must have been huge for both sides.

    Cheers Annie. Glad you enjoyed it, and that it was an uneventful night for you. I was in the Adelaide Hills for a birthday party with no phone reception. Probably a blessing in some ways!

  17. Love it, Mickey.
    What happens in the mind of a player who takes it on?
    Who backs him/herself?
    Who fails but who then gets back up and tries again?
    Fine observations.

  18. Ben Footner says

    Tex Walker is quickly becoming the master of the moment. The half time goal in the 2012 semi-final against Freo (which I wrote about in a similar but far less eloquent fashion on here!), and his work on the wing against the Bulldogs in the elimination final in 2016 are two other ‘moments’ that immediately come to mind.

  19. Ben Footner says

    I should add too, great observation about the crowd noise (or lack of) as the ball arced toward its inevitably destination. It was like the Port fans fell completely silent, and at the same time the Adelaide fans held their cheers till the very last moment purely out of sheer disbelieve/awe!

    I think I might have to go and watch this goal again, for the 15th of so time this week.

  20. Barb Jamieson says

    Lets not just count his goals, albeit , that was a sight for sore eyes , but look at what he does that doesn’t get the attention he deserves , this man is a born leader .
    Yes, he comes from my hometown , so of course , I am biased , but I remember twelve months before he was given the Captaincy , when I predicted on Facebook that he would be Captain one day, and was called all kinds of idiot. I had watched him closely, during a time under Neil Craig, when we really lost our way, and Tex really impressed me with his confidence, composure and footy nouse, and I could see that this Country boy was going to be a name one day .
    Hes a team man , and that exactly what we played on Saturday night , team games are winning games

  21. Er- Your comment immediately put me in mind of the line from The Chocolate War: Do I dare disturb the universe?

    Ben- Tex is assembling a nice highlights reel. Importantly, this wouldn’t feature an over-representation of “big forward” moments such as huge marking and purely physical acts. There’d be plenty of smart decision-making moments too, especially the ones you reference. The Bulldogs final of 2015 was astonishing. I watched his work on the wing and pass to Charlie many, many times.

    Barb- How are captains selected? Sometimes they’re the best footballer in the team, but not often. He’s an increasingly agile and creative decision-maker. I rate this pretty highly.

    Thanks to everyone.

  22. Luke Reynolds says

    Magnificent Mickey. A moment captured wonderfully well.
    Really enjoying watching your Crows. Quality team playing eye catching footy.

  23. While the Crows are playing some fast and attractive footy 2017 sees the continuation of their long-held policy of slow starts, which many, including me, find inexplicable. I advise using their first quarters to head out into the garden and pull some weeds, or wash and polish the car (neither of these are metaphors).

    Thanks Luke.

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