Round 6 – West Coast v Adelaide: Beware, the broken phone!


West Coast v Adelaide

3:05pm, Saturday July 11

The Gabba



An errant tweet on Thursday, sent by Crows ruckman Reilly O’Brien, catapulted both he and this game right into the spotlight, despite the lowly ladder positions of both teams (West Coast 15th and Crows 18th) going into the clash on Saturday afternoon at The Gabba.


His pre-match notes to himself in which he labelled our champion ruck Nic Naitanui “lazy and unfit” and apparently accidentally tweeted this out due to a broken phone, were widely reported, with most commentary laughing the incident off as trivial.  Even with the video apology and deletion of the original tweet, the “genie was already out of the bottle” and as the first ball was about to be bounced, the pressure was well and truly on O’Brien to try to live up to the seemingly lofty ideals he had set for himself.


Adelaide got the first goal of the game after only 90 seconds, and had the majority of the possessions in the first quarter, but when Naitanui got our first goal from a stoppage snatch, it felt like karma might actually be on our side.  Ah Chee got our second goal with just two minutes of the quarter left; we went into the first break with an eight point lead and we had dominated the clearances 11-2.


Goals to Darling and Kennedy in the 2nd quarter – with only a single opposition major to Jones – saw us stretch the lead to 15 points at the main break, and with McGovern and Barrass dominating the air in defence, all signs looked good.


In the 3rd quarter, we shared the goals around, with majors to Allen, Redden, Darling and Ainsworth, and our lead stretched further to a very comfortable 34 points.  Darling’s goal came from a clever boundary line tap by Liam Ryan who sprinted in to surprise the Crows’ defender and saved the ball from rolling out of play.  In the midfield, Gaff had been quiet however new Eagle Tim Kelly had a blinder and dominated the possession count.


Brodie Smith bombed Adelaide’s 4th goal from well outside fifty early in the final quarter, but we quickly replied off the boot of Cripps.  Sloane got the next for Adelaide, but the final goal of the game was Liam Ryan’s.


At the final siren, the margin was 33 points. After all the pre-match controversy, if there was to be an overall winner in the ruck stakes, it was definitely Naitanui.  O’Brien did save some face in the final quarter with 9 disposals to Naitanui’s 1, but the hitout count for the game saw Naitanui at 24 to O’Brien’s 12.


Nic showed just how much of a champion and genuine good guy that he is when he gave O’Brien a brand new phone in their post-match fist bump; it is that picture that will stay with me from this game.


This match was the final #hublife match for West Coast for now, as they packed up and boarded a flight home within a couple of hours of the final siren.  The 4.5 hour flight home would have been much sweeter after the win, and even the prospect of 14 days home quarantine could not wipe the (masked) smiles from the faces of the players on touch-down in Perth.


Next week is the local derby against Fremantle, at Optus Stadium with a reduced capacity crowd of 30,000, the majority of whom will be in purple, as it is a Dockers home game.  With Fremantle buoyed by their close win over St Kilda, this game could go either way, but I’ll be cheering from isolation, and hoping that the return to Perth coincides with a continuation of the winning Eagles form of rounds 5 and 6.  The following matches against Collingwood and Geelong may provide more insight into whether #hublife is the distraction that some commentators are suggesting.




WEST COAST      2.3       4.4       8.7     10.7 (67)
ADELAIDE           1.1        2.1       3.3     5.4 (34)


West Coast:
 Darling 2, Naitanui, Ah Chee, Kennedy, Allen, Redden, Ainsworth, Cripps, Ryan
Adelaide: Lynch, Jones, Frampton, Smith, Sloane


West Coast:
 Kelly, Sheed, Redden, Yeo, Allen, McGovern
Adelaide: Smith, Keays, M.Crouch, Doedee, O’Brien




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