Surely not? Surely it wasn’t.

By Ben Footner

Adelaide vs Gold Coast – Saturday 14th May 2:40 pm

A chilly but fine day greets us as we catch the ‘Footy Express’ down the Adelaide Hills and across town to West Lakes.

The crowd is in a pensive mood as they mill about the outer. “Surely not?” is the question on everyone’s minds, as much as they try to project an air of confidence for the game ahead against the youthful Gold Coast side.

What seemed a lock in win a week ago is not so now with the Suns coming off a stirring victory in the Pineapple Premiership, and Adelaide coming off a fierce belting at the hands of a smarting Melbourne outfit at the ‘G. I dismiss the thought (….“nah, surely not?”) for the 100th time this week as my wife and I make our way to our usual seats on the wing.

Adelaide comes out for their warm up, and as they head towards us doing their leg lifts my wife comments that it looks like they’re doing a bad version of the Can Can.

Bounce down approaches and the Gold Coast cheer squad hoists their banner. A chuckle murmurs around AAMI as it appears they’ve overestimated their players stature, and when the players emerge from their bunker Ablett has to jump to get a hand through it. Perhaps they have to recycle it each week due to their limited budget someone behind me suggests.

As the players break from their huddles and head to their positions strains of The Who’s “Whooooo are you?” are piped through the sound system, echoing the thoughts of most fans as they study their records trying to identify the new opposition. I wonder if this was a clever jibe by the grounds announcer aimed at the visitors, or a sign that we are about to witness a murder of Crows CSI style. I shake my head – “Surely not?” – for the 101st time.

We’re off and Zac Smith kicks off the Coasters with a snap after a clever take from a throw in. “Surely not?”….. murmurs around the ground. Step up Junior Ablett – bang, bang & BANG – on the end of a deft touch from Krakouer for his third from 50 and a sparkling period from the hairless one has turned the game on his shining head. The natives are restless as the repressed angst of the past week bubbles to the surface. All of a sudden it’s 4 goals to zip and AAMI is rippling with discontent.

Henderson sweats an open goal off the back of the pack and Tippett draws a free in the square courtesy of old team mate Bock, but things are still less than convincing for the home side. A comical period of play close to quarter time elicits the Benny Hill theme song from the drunks behind me and as the siren sounds it’s hard to argue with that sound track.

The siren sounds again and the restless natives resume their posts. Ablett continues on his merry way but the Suns can’t capitalise – Dangerfield emerges from a pack and snaps Adelaide’s 3rd quickly followed by a McKernan mark and goal and the murmurs start to give way to cheering. Harbrow turns one over to Thompson who kicks truly, then Dangerfield, Douglas & Reilly all slot slick goals from 50 and the crowd are back on their feet again. Ablett gets caught trying to shrug a third tackle and Knights slots it on his trusty left, the tide has turned and a collective sigh ripples around AAMI as the siren finishes the half.

The game recommences after the long break and Ablett breaks away from a throw in and ices his 4th. The pessimists start to murmur again despite the margin, any team with Junior is never without hope. Dangerfield draws a cheer as sprints in to an open goal, he converts despite nearly hatching it in a comical display that sees an errant bounce rear up into his schnoz.

The Suns battle on and Ablett continues to do as he pleases, setting up Stanley who unfortunately can’t convert his captain’s hard work. MacKenzie, another Suns youngster, slams one through the big sticks from centre square, impressive enough to draw appreciation even from the parochial Adelaide crowd. It’s all for nought though as Adelaide’s bangs through the final 4 goals of the quarter, and all of a sudden the margin is 45 points.

The last quarter begins and the natives are finally happy, Thompson slots through one from 50 to put the game out of reach. McKernan has a set shot made certain by a 50 mtr penalty for an interchange infringment and the icing starts to go on the cake. Suns ruckman Smith still battles manfully, slotting a lovely set shot from the ‘Tony Hall’ pocket, a feat that again draws a murmur of appreciation from those watching. It’s the youngsters from Adelaide who have the final say however, Henderson kicking one from 50 and Dangerfield kicking two more with his 6th coming as the final siren sounds.

A relieved Neil Craig receives a cheer as he heads up the race, and the natives head home, also with a sense of relief more than the usual post win joy. Their team has done no more than what they should have after all, and the spectre of a stung Pies outfit looms in 8 days.

About Ben Footner

I'm tragic Crows fan, avid lawn bowler, public librarian and father of 2 little kiddies. Sometimes I also find time amongst all that to squeeze out the occasional article for the Almanac.


  1. John Butler says

    Good on ya Ben

    Good to hear from the Crows camp. Don’t quite know what to make of them this season. Sounds like you’re a bit the same.

    Sounds like Dangerfield and Ablett played blinders.

  2. Ben Footner says

    Thanks John, noticed there hasn’t been much on the Adelaide games so thought I’d try my hand.

    It was certainly the battle of the Geelong boys Saturday with the Ablett and Dangerfield show. Adelaide have plenty of upside – but I fear a massacre is on the horizon this weekend! Mind you’ve they’ve taken down the Hawks & Saints this year already, so they might pull one out of the hat just to bugger everyone’s tips up! lol

  3. johnharms says

    Ben, THat’s a nice phrase for this sort of expect-to-win game. Geelong were masters of the surely-not loss even when they were firing. Big test this week v Collingwood.


  4. I hate the “surely not” games. Cats fans have endured many of them in years gone by. The one that sticks out for me was the loss to the Brisbane Bears. We were the first Victorian club to “achieve” this. That was a huge “surely not” affair.

  5. The beauty is it works the other way too – we all love a ‘surely not’ win! That’s what every Adelaide fan will be praying for this week.

  6. WHile I like the sound of the Pineapple Premiership much better than Q Clash, there is actually a real one sponsored by the Pineapple Hotel. A fine watering hole a mere hop, skip and a jump from the Gabba.

    Tragically, it has been upwardly mobilised, however the new money is still making its way to grassroots Aussie Rules support I’d like to think…

Leave a Comment