Jamie Kloeden reporting for AFANA from AAMI Stadium, Australia
When we talk about the 2013 AFL season, the two teams that squared off against each other at AAMI Stadium in Round 17 could not have more contrasting tales. Geelong traveled to Adelaide having dropped just two games all year and looking destined to continue on for the rest of the season entrenched in the Top Two. In contrast Adelaide had seen its season go from bad to worse. After a successful 2012 that almost resulted in a Grand Final berth the Crows now faced the real prospect on missing out on Finals' action altogether.
Things did not quite go to plan as the Crows dominated the general play in the first quarter and only some inaccurate kicking in front of goals stopped them from having a sizable lead at quarter time. The weather in Adelaide was extremely cold, wet and windy and while the wind was certainly blowing in the Crows' favor, they were still playing the better football with running players Rory Sloane, Ricky Henderson and Matthew Wright up forward playing key roles. Geelong was still in the game by making the most of their chances with four goals straight but they did not look like the dominating side all have come to expect. Nevertheless, the Cats somehow found themselves leading by a point at the break. Joel Selwood was outstanding kicking two of Geelong's four goals before quarter time while for Adelaide Wright was the goal sneak at the other end with two of his own.
It was the real Geelong that came to play in the second quarter. Even though the Crows registered the first two scores of the quarter, they were both behinds and the Cats pounced on this opportunity to kick three quick goals through Josh Caddy, Steven Motlop and their main man up forward, Tom Hawkins. Andy Otten jagged an important major against the flow for Adelaide but Selwood stepped up once again to kick his third and when James Kelly kicked another goal the Cats had turned the game will in their favor with a 24 point lead.
It looked bad early in the third term for the Crows as Hawkins marked and then found Tom Lonergan loose close to the goals. The goal that followed pushed the margin out to 29 points but Adelaide hit back with Wright kicking his third and Tom Lynch finally starting to get his hands on the ball resulting in a long goal. Once again though, Geelong stepped up and responded with two more goals of their own through Kelly and Caddy. As it seemed to be all day, there were two consecutive goals kicked and this time it was Adelaide making the game very competitive heading towards the final break. Making it even more interesting was a third consecutive goal for Adelaide ten minutes later as the margin was brought back to 14 points at the final break.
Just seconds into the final quarter fans saw one of the highlights of the game as Bernie Vince swopped on the ball in the forward pocket and on his non-preferred left foot kicked a magnificent goal across his body. Hawkins goaled once again four minutes later to establish a 14 point lead for Geelong but the feeling at the ground had Crows fans dreaming of another finish similar to the one that saw Adelaide run over North Melbourne in a thrilling finish back in Round Nine. The next three scoring shots belonged to the Crows with Richard Douglas kicking a long behind before goals to Otten - after a great one handed mark in the goal square - and an opportunistic goal to young gun Brad Couch put the margin back to just two points in Geelong’s favor. As we have seen year after year, the quality of the Cats shone through and this time it was the international runner turned footballer Mark Blicavs who stepped up and goaled to restore what looked like a match winning lead.
It seemed that all was lost for the Crows but the comeback against the Kangaroos must have been in the players' minds as well as the fans' as two quick goals through the skipper Nathan Van Berlo and Wright - with his fourth for the game - saw Adelaide hit the lead. With two minutes to go all that was left was to hold on. Once again though, this was easier said than done. Jimmy Bartel was awarded a free kick just 30 meters from goal but the normally reliable superstar tried to kick the goal across his body and hooked it for just a behind. It looked all over but Geelong had once last foray forward and this time it was Harry Taylor who juggled a mark and found himself just 15 meters out on a 45 degree angle. Just as Bartel did, Taylor chose to kick across his body with his shot on goals and it was the exact same result as the kick was hooked, resulting in a single point.
For 20 seconds after the restart Adelaide were able to tie the ball up in their defensive area and, as the siren went, the crowd erupted. It was an unlikely victory to the Crows keeping their slim Finals' hopes alive. For the Cats, it was a hiccup but not the end of the world as they remain in the Top Three on the ladder and one of the Premiership favourites.
Next stop for Geelong is a home game at the revamped Simonds Stadium against St Kilda on Saturday night while Adelaide have a tough task as they travel west to take on Fremantle at Patersons Stadium.
Scoreboard Adelaide: 3.5 4.8 9.8 14.10 (94) Geelong: 4.0 9.2 12.4 14.8 (92) Best Players Adelaide: Douglas, Henderson, Sloane, Lynch, Wright, Vince, Crouch Geelong: Selwood, Enright, Bartel, Simpson, Caddy, Corey, Duncan
Article last changed on Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - 9:21 PM EDT