Round 6 – Adelaide v Essendon: Speed






On this early winter night, frogs have decided to surround the cabin. Sore from work, I flop about, volume down, watching speed liked I’ve never seen it. Faster than bullets, lightning, than premierships, which require stronger defensive systems. Adelaide v Essendon is a goddamn shootout, somehow lasting four quarters.


For some reason, a tone has been set. There’s little chipping, the mainstay of modern football. And even when there is the receiver is in a rush, everybody’s playing on, bombing goals from 50. Through still open forward lines, sprinting, heart and soul, through packs, past for handballs. Everything’s all go, at paces I’ve never seen before.


The ball comes in forward hot, defenders break from their zones to last-second-spoil. Handballs aren’t given. They’re PUNCHED out, to blokes running flat knacker. Tall forwards there, but just to bring it to ground, for four or five runners in front of them, to stream goalward. The days of KB, or a Bewick, doing it on his own are over.


With this insane rush there’s a lot of packs. Each player, when in the slot, seizes the ball and runs, zero-to-100, trying to defy the gravity of traffic. Tackling becomes a huge part of it. The speed, inside and out, leaves me gobsmacked. How the hell can humans run so fast, think so fast? Execute so fast? A slower game might set out the forwards better, but screw that, let’s go for it! Play on, play on, I feel breathless.


Tex and his man have a ding-dong. Battle. Both win it. Yet with all this running, Tex almost looks odd, all that strength. Everyone else is a runner. The teams are evenly matched, playing a similar brand of lightning. It makes me playing bush footy seem ancient. A dinosaur. I’ll feel impossibly slow tomorrow.


Yet if this is modern football, I’m hooked on it.


The battle itself pans out beautifully, with momentum swings and back again. It’s always going to come down to a kick, something controversial.
Normally, the game picks up in the last two minutes of a one-kick margin, but they’ve been going so fast, been so spellbinding, I have no idea its even near the end until 1.30 is remaining.


Some kid fluffs an easy match winning mark, either scared of contact, or of the moment. I feel for him. A big donk clearly lands on the ball (Draper), holding it, as plain as mud! Sure, the Crows players are actually the ones holding it, Keeping it under him as they appeal, but whatever. The ump is onto them, the public not, everybody’s excited, outraged, livid, panicked one second left, and it’s over.


Essendon fall over the line. Tex is filthy. The lad hates losing.


I don’t care who won, I was taken on a theme park ride crossed with a bullet train. It was gobsmacking. It was sensational.


Then, in the silence, there were frogs. And a good night’s sleep before my version of football.



ADELAIDE    2.2    5.4    9.5      11.9 (75)
ESSENDON  2.4    5.9    8.14    10.18 (78)


Dawson 2, Keays 2, Walker, Jones, Fogarty, Soligo, Rachele, McHenry, Rankine
Essendon: Jones 2, Langford 2, Gresham, Parish, Hobbs, Stringer, Merrett, Martin


Dawson, Soligo, Hinge, O’Brien, Rachele
Essendon: Merrett, Martin, Caldwell, Hobbs, Gresham


Essendon: None


Adelaide: Lachlan Sholl (replaced Sam Berry in the third quarter)
Essendon: Elijah Tsatas (replaced Nick Hind in the fourth quarter)


Crowd: TBC at Adelaide Oval



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  1. Colin Ritchie says

    That was a cracking game Old Dog, nearly too much for this Bomber supporter with my heart thumping in my mouth, nerves rattled thinking we’d kicked the game away. A gutsy win!

  2. Matt Zurbo says

    Ease up Col! It was exciting enough for a neutral supporter!!

  3. Daryl Schramm says

    Thanks for the write up Matt. I’m a long way away in Ireland at the moment. Saw the score in the last with my boys 7 points up. Gutted to find out we’d lost.

  4. Whoa yeah. Great write up. You got me pumping again. Loved it. Bewick or KB would’ve kicked a couple.

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