The Crows: about as good as tooth-ache


The pain had subsided. Not completely gone, it was still lingering. Still enough to make me wince, but not enough to force me to stomach the awful aspirin and painkillers that I’d been living off since Monday.

I felt better knowing I had gotten through a day without any medication. It meant I was getting better. I got my tooth extracted from the dentist on Wednesday, it had practically died and there was an exposed nerve. One of the back ones, the main one I use to chew my food. The extraction was a new experience for me, and honestly, not having my mum there was probably better for me. Since she had to work, Dad was the one that took me to the dentist in Shepparton. If Mum had of come, I probably would’ve played the sympathy card and gotten out of it somehow. With no real outlet to sook to, I simply put up with it. I was given six injections into my gum and they used a shaver thing at times. When they did, I saw fragments of white stuff flying out of my mouth. I closed my eyes and hoped it was just spittle. After 40 uncomfortable minutes, it was out, and I was a free man, albeit with a fat jaw and a massive gauze pad in my mouth. Half my face felt numb, and I found it strangely entertaining pinching my skin as hard as I could, knowing I couldn’t feel it. I paid for it later though.

So when word filtered through on the news Friday afternoon that Heath Shaw had been suspended for 14 matches for putting $10 on his captain Nick Maxwell to kick the first goal of a match a couple of months ago. Knowing I hadn’t had any medication, this must have been true. In a way it was good to start the weekend of footy from a discussion point of view, because there wasn’t a hell of a lot of talk surrounding the Friday night blockbuster. Adelaide, the most disappointing club in 2011, against Essendon, a team that has revitalised their finals hopes with big wins over Geelong and Richmond in recent weeks. With their last four games over the Bombers resulting in massive victories, I expected a nice display from the Crows tonight.

It doesn’t take long for Jared Petrenko to take a mark just inside 50 and go back to slot the goal, before Matthew Wright slipped out of a congestion with the ball to curl through their second. Adelaide looked on, while the Bombers seemed slow. There were two Crows to every one Bomber, and it showed early on, with Graham Johncock kicking two goals in a row, both on the run, both from uncontested marks. The likes of Michael Hurley and Stewart Crameri were yet to even see the ball in the Essendon forward line, but they steadied. Just as they looked as if they were going to last the rest of the quarter without another blow to their defence, Angus ‘More-Frees’ coughed it up with a pass straight to Patrick Dangerfield, who sent it straight over the goal umpire’s hat from the forward flank. The Crows led by 31 at quarter time, and I was reminded of that Elimination Final in 2009 between these two on a Friday night, a game in which Adelaide won by 96 points.

In what can only be described as a tumultuous week for Angus Monfries, he rallied to kick Essendon’s first goal. In an interesting note, the Channel 7 commentators seemed to be avoiding the issue of Monfries’ staging for free kicks. Dangerfield hit back for the Crows with his second, then Matthew Jaensch sent it sailing into the stands with a massive goal from outside 50 on the run, stretching the lead out to 37 points, a match high. Alwyn Davey pegged one back, but it was quickly replied to by Brad Moran, football’s journey man. I can still remember the Englishman’s first game for North Melbourne in 2006; he has really struggled to make it since then. I will admit though, he doesn’t look like a liability as a key forward. He made a great leap at the ball and took it with vice-like hands, before slotting the goal from 20m out. A late miss after the siren from the Cam Mooney-position by Ricky Henderson was crucial, but the Crows still led by 36 points at the main break.

The loss of Johncock, who hurt his hip in the first quarter, was clearly being felt in the third quarter, with the Essendon forward line getting much easier access, and it wasn’t being repelled as easy as it was earlier. Hurley took a good mark and slotted his first, but a clever knock-on by Richard Tambling saw Kurt Tippett gather and boot it long over the top of what was remaining of the Essendon zone. Wright marked, played on and goaled easily. Crameri was legged by Andy Otten on the boundary line, 50m out. He centered the ball, but soon found it back in his hands in an almost identical position after Nathan van Berlo’s rushed kick out of defence went straight back to where it came from. Crameri went for the goods this time and managed to deliver with the biggest goal of the night and of his career. Paddy Ryder was next, unleashing a massive bomb from 55m out that went straight through the middle, and it wasn’t long before Mark McVeigh was fed the ball at close quarters 40m out before snapping it through to slice the deficit to just 16 points as the siren sounded for three quarter time. I didn’t believe that Essendon were coming back. Adelaide would storm over them in the last, right?

I should point out that I didn’t want Essendon to win. Not one bit. Why? Well, every Essendon win makes it harder for a potential finals berth for North Melbourne. So watching Essendon creep closer to the Crows was nerve wracking to watch. There was only 10 points in it when Kyle Reimers snapped a goal just 20 seconds into the last quarter, then he was the instigator of a goal to Davey after his run from the wing up to half forward, then a bullet-like pass to his teammate in front of the goals. Monfries mowed Dangerfield down, something that doesn’t happen very often, but it was the former who was pinged with the holding-the-ball decision. The umpires must’ve been a bit annoyed at Angus’ revelations during the week. Dangerfield went back and slotted his third, and it forced a question in my mind. Is Dangerfield the best shot at goal from 50m? Hurley stood up when needed, taking a big mark on the lead in front of Tippett, who had been switched to defence. The Bombers’ big man converted, cutting the margin to just a goal. Ryder’s influence in the ruck was huge, with Sam Jacobs being nullified to an extent by Essendon’s big men, and it was poetry in motion as Ryder palmed the ball down to his waiting onballers, who quickly passed it to David Zaharakis who, on the run, slammed through his first goal of the night on the run from beyond 55m, with help from Crameri in the goalsquare. Scores level. Adelaide fans shocked. Essendon supporters cheering until their throats were hoarse. Quick clearance, handball by Jetta to Travis Colyer, snap goal, Essendon in front. A 43-point turnaround. Adelaide came hard though, matching the Bombers in midfield play, a factor they were being dominated in. Brad Moran missed two crucial shots at goal, both hitting the post, Andy Otten failed to convert on the run, and Rory Sloane bobbed up late in the match to kick the winning goal from 15m out directly in front, but his kick slewed to the right and bounced through for a behind. Essendon still in front. Essendon clearing from defence, long ball. Crameri mark! Zaharakis gave the rookie some advice, which, I think translated to “kick it!” He did, only just though as it curled around the near goalpost. Essendon by 11 points, and the seconds ticked down. Adelaide’s last roll of the dice came in the form of a Tippett mark. He had a vacant goalsquare, but he waited and waited. Finally he keyed up to kick, but it was touched off the boot, fell short and Essendon regained possession. A wasted chance, Adelaide had plenty of them.

The siren signalled Essendon’s third consecutive victory. But it meant more to some players, none more so than Angus Monfries. He played the game of his life after a controversial week, and it showed as he slumped to his knees, triumphant. Turns out the Adelaide Crows are the real AFL stagers.

Adelaide 5.3—8.7—9.9—10.13.73

Essendon 0.2—2.7—6.11—12.12.84


Adelaide-Dangerfield 3, Wright 2, Johncock 2, Moran, Jaensch, Petrenko

Essendon-Hurley 2, Crameri 2, Davey 2, Zaharakis, Monfries, McVeigh, Colyer, Reimers, Ryder


Adelaide-Thompson, Sloane, Doughty, Vince, Jacobs, Petrenko, Jaensch, Rutten

Essendon-Monfries, Pears, Melksham, Hocking, Stanton, Crameri, Ryder, Zaharakis


38,118 at AAMI Stadium


3: Angus Monfries (E)

2: Scott Thompson (A)

1: Tayte Pears (E)


About Josh Barnstable

21 year old North Melbourne supporter from country Victoria. Currently living in Melbourne studying a Bachelor of Sports Media. Dreams of becoming a sports journalist and broadcaster.


  1. John Butler says

    Yeesh Josh

    I’ve never liked the dentist. And you’ve helped remind me why.

    But you’ll be a lot happier about the Roos’ turnaround. :)

  2. Couldn’t be happier JB!

    Heading down to Melbourne next weekend to watch the Lions game, hope they put in a performance half as good as this evening.

  3. And correction to the 14 week suspension to Heath Shaw I mentioned ^

    Have since been told what the ‘6 week suspended’ means, I thought it meant he serves 8 weeks this year and 6 next season.

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