The Fremantle Dockers survived a third-quarter attack from the Adelaide Crows to break through for their first win of the season. The more experienced Adelaide players controlled the ball in the midfield for long periods of the game, but the Crow forwards were wasteful in front of goals and delivered spirit-sapping misses. The once-mighty Crows, who were Grand Finalists in 2017, now sit at the bottom of the AFL table with little to suggest they have the players, or the desire, to challenge other teams. The young Dockers played without their captain and dual Brownlow medallist, Nat Fyfe, were missing their three biggest defenders; and yet ran out comfortable winners against the physically stronger Adelaide team.
Port Adelaide kept a firm grip on top spot on the AFL ladder with a rampant 75-point win over crosstown rivals the Adelaide Crows on Saturday night at Adelaide Oval.
With the season’s first batch of fans – 2240 in total – present at the ground, the Power completely outclassed a struggling Crows outfit that lost defender Jake Kelly early to concussion, then Captain Rory Sloane with a thigh injury that kept the Adelaide favorite sidelined for all of the second half.
The winning margin was the highest by Port against their local rivals while also restricting the Crows to their lowest total score in all previous “showdowns”.
Early in the first quarter there was no indication of the drubbing that eventually took place as Adelaide produced eight of the first nine entries inside the 50 meter arc, resulting in goals to Rory Sloane and young forward Darcy Fogarty. That was where the joy ended for the underdog Crows as Port completely dominated proceedings from then on, finishing on the positive side of the ledger for a total of 57 entries inside 50 compared to just 30 for the shell-shocked Crows.
Port was continually first to the contested ball, and it was the young guns that once again shone for the Power just as they had done in 2019. Connor Rozee (17 disposals, 8 clearances, 6 tackles) continues to play at a level that belies his experience, Xavier Duursma (17 disposals, 3 goals) is on fire and Zak Butters (21 disposals, 7 marks and 8 tackles) completed the domination of the second year Power draftees.
After quarter time when Adelaide trailed by just 13 points, it was one-way traffic with the Power brushing aside the Crows with ease. Half time saw Port’s advantage balloon to 32 points as the Crows showed frustration in giving away two late 50 meter penalties that resulted in Port goals.
When the Port Adelaide veterans decided to join the party, there was no stopping the boys wearing the old-school “prison bar” jumpers made famous by the original Port Adelaide that dominated the South Australian Football League back in the day. Justin Westhoff and Charlie Dixon chipped in with three goals each while Steven Motlop added two more plus the mark of the day with a screamer that had the 1,400 odd and spaced out Port supporters in raptures.
The second round of the season will see limited fan attendances at some games. GWS and Sydney received approval from the New South Wales government to allow a limited number of people into their matches against North Melbourne and Essendon respectively. Fans, members, and patrons will be allowed in several function areas of GWS stadium and the SCG. It is believed only 350 people will be allowed to attend each of the two games. The club will continue to work with the necessary agencies to ensure the stadiums comply with state protocols.
Bob Hammond, who served as Adelaide's first chairman, passed away at the end of May. Hammond, 78, was suffering from Parkinson's disease. Craig Hammond, his son, said his father had lived a rich and full life and the family was grateful for the support they had received since his father's health began failing in recent months.
Hammond's football journey began as a player for North Adelaide in the SANFL where he played 234 games 1980 to 1973. He crossed to Norwood as captain-coach for a further 14 games in 1974. He was a member of three SANFL premiership teams with North Adelaide, the first when he was just 18 years old. Upon retirement, he became coach of Norwood and led them to premiership wins 1975 and 1978. He later briefly coached the Sydney Swans in 1984 and in 1983 coached South Australia to a historic first-ever win over archrival Victoria.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan has announced that the AFL season will resume on June 11th. Just prior to the announcement, teams were permitted to begin non-contact training in groups of no more than 10. Teams will now be allowed to begin full contact training on the 25th. However, training will be limited to two sessions per week. Players and officials from all clubs will be required to be tested 24 hours before each training session. When matches do resume, umpires will also be tested. Testing will continue for all for the duration of the season.
The league is still working on the schedule for the season but is expected to have that by the end of the month. In making the announcement, McLachlan said, "Today is a significant step in getting footy back ... as this situation continues to evolve, we have to remain agile and flexible to ... adapt ... while ... we continue to prioritize the health and welfare of our players, staff, and the wider community and ... don't place any burden on the public health system."
On the day the AFL began COVID-19 testing of AFL players, its hopes of restarting the competition were rocked by a letter from the South Australian government. The AFL intended to have a three-week training period for all teams, in a lead-up to the first AFL game in mid-June. The league looked set to announce an opening game on June 11th, between Collingwood and Richmond, but those plans may now be derailed. The South Australian government has ruled-out an exemption for AFL teams entering its closed borders without a mandatory 14 day quarantine. The Crows and Power were planning to fly in and out of South Australia on a weekly basis, to play in Victoria. In a further blow, the South Australian Government has also stipulated that no football players in South Australia can train in groups of more than ten (and training must be non-contact) until June 8th. The Crows and the Power will now have to find a training base at an east coast location, as soon as possible, if the league is to meet its mid-June restart date.
More interesting stories about footy are appearing across the web. The Hugh Greenwood story made it to an American newspaper while the video of the Florida newsmen made it to Australia.
Ex College Basketball player Hugh Greenwood talks about his move to Gold Coast (from Adelaide) and his love of footy:
Ex-St Kilda player Arryn Siposs targets NFL draft success. His journey from St Kilda to USA college Auburn and his hope of being drafted by an NFL club and what he is doing to keep fit and practice his punting skills:
US news anchor learns AFL. A video of one Florida news anchor explaining footy to a colleague with video clips of the Carlton vs Richmond game:
Former NFL punter Pat McAfee, who is a recent and fanatical convert to AFL, interviewed American Magpie Mason Cox on his podcast. The interview runs about 37 minutes:
Sources: krqe.com, brisbanetimes,com.au, news.com.au, cowboysrideforfree.com
Adelaide forward Taylor "Tex" Walker was interviewed on a Triple M radio morning show and came up with an idea to help spread the game and give sports fans something to watch with other competitions canceled or postponed.
He said the AFL should stream games directly to the United States, saying it could "... open a new market of AFL fans." He understands the AFL wanting to shorten games and possibly have games played on non-traditional days during the week "... trying to cram games in before a case occurs... " and added, “Put on a show for people sitting at home wanting to watch something.”
(Ed. note: apparently Mr. Walker is unaware that they already do so via WatchAFL.)
The Supplemental Signing Period (SSP) ran from December 1 through March 13, allowing clubs to sign rookie players provided they had room on their lists and salary caps. A number of clubs took advantage of the period to round out their playing lists.
Concerned with the poor depth in the ruck and up forward with Tom Bellchambers injured and the return of Joe Daniher (groin) still indefinite, the Bombers have signed former swimming champion Henry Crauford under the SSP rules. Crauford, 22 years old and 6'3", competed in swimming at state and national levels before returning to football in 2016. He played for Norwood in the SANFL in 2019 and played 19 games for Norwood's reserves side. Several clubs showed some interest in Crauford but he was overlooked in last year's draft. Athletic and with good endurance for his size, he can play both ruck and as a tall forward.
Adelaide Coach Don Pyke tendered his resignation with two years remaining on his contract. Once the season concluded, the club embarked on an extensive review of their on and off field operations, a review which is still ongoing. However, the club and Pyke both said his departure had nothing to do with the review and was his decision following talks with club officials and his family. He had been considering stepping down for a week.
Pyke, at a press conference said with a prepared statement, "When the side is performing as it is, I recognize that ... I'm part of the problem ... The real question I've grappled with in the last couple of weeks ... 'Am I also part of the solution?'