Round 4 – Adelaide v Western Bulldogs: Freezing (not Singing) in the rain

As a fan who travels almost the length and breadth of the country just to encounter new experiences (plus to eliminate items from the personal bucket list), Sunday Afternoon saw this intrepid fan discover another personal first. It wasn’t the fact that the Bulldogs were ground into submission, nor was it the feeling of loneliness at an intimidating non-Victorian venue, nor was it the fact that my assistance was required with club run through banners. Sunday April 21 2013 will for me be marked as the coldest April day I have ever experienced anywhere in my life, much less at another afternoon in the grandstand. Sure the forecast through the week stated that rain was almost certain, and there was 12 millimetres of precipitation recorded in Adelaide prior to my departure that evening, but I didn’t anticipate the icy winds dropping the temperatures close to below double figures.

For those that wanted a game full of running goals, high flying marks and dazzling skills then ordering this game on DVD will not be on the priority list. Very rarely did either side find a method of creating space for run and carry opportunities, particularly before the main interval. Any mark was hard to secure, although some of the skill errors from the team wearing white would have been a significant contributor. With only 16 goals kicked for the entire afternoon and only a half dozen prior to the major break, goal of the year contenders would need to be found at other venues for this weekend. The first half in particular was an example of old school bash and crash football. The majority of  possessions were hard earned, many long kicks were executed under increased pressure and in a welcome change, the umpires did seem to largely ignore sliding and diving rules which at least eliminated confusing interpretations for one afternoon.

After half time the visiting team decided to return to their heritage roots. Unfortunately the display was more of the 2012 vintage that many fans expressed disapproval of. The pressure did seem to ease at vital times, scoring was as frequent as what Beavis and Butthead managed to achieve throughout their MTV stint, and the idea of 2 way football (transitioning from attack to defence) was translated as heading to the pine for a pep talk with the coach. It’s impossible to win any game of football at any level except in the Under 10s by scoring a solitary Brett Goodes poster in the middle quarters, let alone when you concede seven majors in the same period.

Often after games like these it can be a battle to find positives to use for later use, for most of them can be countered by a negative. Many have been seduced by the signs of dual debutantes Jackson Macrae and Jake Stringer, but for me Macrae didn’t find enough of the pill on a day where an outside runner may well have excelled and Stringer was wasted as a substitute, a role that only suits 2 types of player (midfielders or hard running goal sneaks, something that Stringer as a key forward is not). The benching of Daniel Giansiracusa, whose short term future would at most other times be surely under question, was hidden in the shoulder injury suffered by Ryan Griffen. Make no mistake, despite the wet conditions the surfaces these days are firmer than ever before meaning hard landings like Griffen had will almost certainly damage body parts. Will Minson battle manfully in the middle, helping us win the clearance and contested possession count, but many of these resulted in turnovers caused by the lack of a contest provided by the tall forwards. As I mentioned in my Round 1 report it is my belief that Liam Jones, Ayce Cordy and Jarrad Grant are all battling for a single spot on the 2014 list. Based on yesterday’s performance and from what I saw of Williamstown last week, all may be battling just to be even considered for the single spot.

For their part the Crows were fairly even yesterday. Their hard working midfield accumulated without looking to stand out. Patty Dangerfield burned off Nick Lower early kicking the opening trio of Crow majors, and was steady throughout both in the engine room and up front. With Bernie Vince discarded and skipper Nathan Van Berlo incapacitated, the remainder of the Crow cast were constantly steady although Scott Thompson’s Brownlow hopes evaporated with a stray elbow to Brett Goodes’ chin. It was a tough day for their key talls, Taylor Walker obviously left his kicking boots in the members bar and the resting ruckmen had limited impact up front matching their output in the centre where they were beaten in hitouts and clearances. Lesser lights such as Andy Otten and Ricky Henderson at least secured their spots in the side for a few weeks with solid displays, although Henderson almost cost me a Supercoach league win by spraying a couple of last quarter shots he should have converted if more poise was shown.

Given that this is the last time the Bulldogs will be ever be scheduled to play at Football Park (the game against Port Adelaide is a Bulldog home game in the Top End), it’s safe to say the stadium itself won’t be missed. Having visited the concrete canyon twice, my conclusion of the stadium is that whilst it has served South Australian football well and many memorable moments will be remembered as the last hurrah approaches, the small platoon of Bulldog fans that attended are surely looking forward to a spot in front of the famous Adelaide Oval hill when we visit in 2014 and beyond. But that is next year, for the next assignment is a date with the mob from Corio Bay, a task that makes a trip to Adelaide seem like child’s play. As for me, it’s a diet of local football, running events (which may incorporate a few games, watch this space) and keeping an eye on the smart phone and TV until the next Bulldogs trip for me which possibly could come as early as June.



ADELAIDE 12.8.80

ADEL: Dangerfield 4.1, Walker 1.0, Mackay 1.0, Kerridge 1.0, Henderson 1.0, Crouch 1.0, Jenkins 1.0, Lynch  1.0, Douglas 1.0, S.Thompson 0.1, Petrenko 0.1, RUSHED 0.5
DOGS: Cooney 2.0, Macrae 1.0, Boyd 1.0, Liberatore 0.1, Dahlhaus 0.1, Goodes 0.1, RUSHED 0.1

ADEL: Dangerfield, Otten, Henderson, S.Thompson, Sloane, Douglas
DOGS: Cooney, Minson, Morris

2: Andy OTTEN (ADEL)

GOAL: Matthew NORTON, Daniel HOSKIN (TMO: Not used much to the relief of the small attendance)

CROWD: 24684

About Mick Jeffrey

32 Year Old, Bulldogs Member and tragic. Reserve Grade coach after over 225 combined senior/reserves appearances for Brothers AFC in AFL Capricornia. 11 time Marathon finisher, one time Ultra Marathon finisher and Comrades Marathon competitor 2017.


  1. Ben Footner says

    Enjoyed the report Mick, I was also there – was certainly a chilly one!

    I agree about not being sad to see the end of Football Park. It has played host to some wonderful sporting memories, but I’ve always found it a bit of a concrete bowl without the soul of most great sporting grounds.

    Can’t wait for Adelaide Oval!

  2. Good write-up, Mick. Couldn’t agree more about the oval. Roll on 2014. Sad to see no cheer squad with the Bullies. I have a soft spot for your mob because they were my late dad’s team. Hope you rebuild quickly and give us a run for our money soon.

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