Round 9- Adelaide v Fremantle: Colin Sylvia’s mother says

dr hook

In even greater news the Fremantle Dockers have adapted Dr Hook’s 1972 hit, “Sylvia’s Mother” as their new club song

Colin Sylvia’s mother says, ‘Colin Sylvia’s busy

Too busy to come to the phone’

Colin Sylvia’s mother says, ‘Colin Sylvia’s tryin’

To start a new life of his own’

Colin Sylvia’s mother says, ‘Colin Sylvia’s happy

So why don’t you leave him alone?’

With their gargantuan pressure evident immediately Fremantle forces an error, and Mundy goals for the Dockers. Walters snaps tidily and it’s two majors to zip. Freo is big and fast and skilful. Adelaide is bedazzled. Then Ballantyne (Gandhi would doubtless find him punchable) gets one too.

Evoking the joyous regularity of Warney jagging one back from outside leg and onto an Englishman’s off stump, Betts kicks a cracker from the pocket. Moments later his protégé Cameron slots it truly.

The rain is torrential. The splotches of poncho colour give the screen’s sweeping vista a Monet quality. We’re getting the Fox telecast here in Singapore, and the absence of BT gives the experience a Christmassy quality.

Fittingly, Adelaide’s third goal is courtesy of Ellis- Yolmen, meaning all three have come from indigenous players. While Fremantle dominated the opening scenes, the Crows have since applied themselves productively.

The second quarter opens with both sides slugging away in a scrappy yet engaging affair. Cameron takes a super grab reminding me of Mick Jagger’s comment to the crowd about his drummer during their live album Get Your Ya Ya’s Out, “Charlie’s good tonight.”

Suban gets one for the visitors with an impressive left foot poke to give them back the ascendency. Like a series-winning moment in Australia’s Funniest Home Videos, Dangerfield then kicks the ball into the back of an oblivious teammate’s head, giving the footy shows footage for tomorrow.

Adelaide’s controlling the ball, and Betts slots one from the boundary with an exquisite, almost slow motion left foot checkside punt, ensuring his 2015 highlights DVD is already into its second hour. He’s become the most watchable Crow since McLeod.

Against the flow Fyfe takes a telling contested mark. He’s in Exile on Main St form, and has had important touches. Talia punches the footy away from Pavlich to save a late goal, and show his sublime All Australian skill. Half time.

Are you aware of Crows Forever? It’s a bequest programme founded in response to the insufficiency of the billion-dollar AFL underwriting the Pride of South Australia. So, I’m bequeathing my modest assets to the Adelaide Football Club. However, the seventeen future cats my octogenarian self is destined to share house with are going to be disappointed when they read that they’re out of the will.

The good Adelaide Tom Lynch, and not the evil Gold Coast version, starts the second half with a wily conversion to give us confidence. Dangerfield and Fyfe are magnificent. Each is symphonic, brave and artistic. Punctuating this the star Docker goals to claw his purple haze back.

West Torrens royalty Pavlich has been quiet, and puts the Dockers but a point behind. Walters benefits from panicked Crow kicking, and they surrender the advantage.

Both sides trade majors in a pulsating period. Fremantle’s death row pressure is again evident as Adelaide’s defensive work stutters. Monster truck Jenkins ties things up, and moments later Pav gets his just desserts. Three quarter time. If this were East Enders I’d make a cuppa tea. But it’s hot Singapore, so beer is medically necessary.

Was it only twenty years ago that the Dockers had their first game against Richmond at the MCG?

Ill-fated forward Chris Groom took four marks, yet only had three possessions. Following his fourth grab, did he simply sit on the ball and refuse to budge, like a toddler in a supermarket aisle? Half back flanker Todd Ridley received two Brownlow votes for the best twelve-possession performance in the history of our code.

In the last stanza Fremantle kick a goal. Another score review. Touched. The match is like a gripping forth innings run chase. It’s Brett Lee and Kaspa at Edgbaston during the 2005 Ashes. Half way through the quarter we’ve a nil all FA Cup thriller with both sides bursting and holding, bursting and holding.

Barlow then gossamers it from the boundary to put them up by over two majors. The Dockers surge. Pleasingly, Pearce is off with his kick at goal, but Adelaide is being trooped to the gallows.

We trap the ball. The clock gallops. Another behind. We pump it in, but there’s three Dockers smothering our square. It comes out. It splutters back. Our final quarter is gallant. Dangerfield loads one through from the boundary. Score review. A behind. Fremantle win.

The good Sandilands- Aaron and not evil Kyle, records sixty-nine hit outs, while collectively Fyfe and Dangerfield have nearly eighty possessions. While we’ve luxuriated in our chairs, these two have played us Let It Bleed, and also Revolver.

As my loved ones sleep I now sit silently, and morosely, staring into the hot dark, looking tearfully out at the eighteen wheeled truck I don’t have, and feeling forlorn about my football team, and myself, like a wretched character in a bad country song.

Like, possibly, a Dr Hook song.



Six sixes


Nuriootpa High School 1981- Jock McGregor 

Saturday morning, underage cricket. Barossa Valley. Fruit-heavy vines enclose the ground, vintage approaches. Teenage conversations.

“Do you think REO Speedwagon are better than Adam and the Ants?”

“Pass me that Blankety Blanks lemonade.”

“EH Holdens beat XP Fords? Get real!”

Most of us were boys. But Jock was a fully formed man. His batting power was laughably brutal, and as a mate’s dad used to say, “He had an eye like a stinkin’ fish.”

Back then, footy goal posts were permanent fixtures. We watched as Jock punished the looping ball. We watched, slack-jawed. It sped straight through the goals at three-quarter-post height. Six runs and six points! We kept watching. Zooming above the gnarled rows of Shiraz vines, the ball was still climbing. 

Gabba 2005- Brett Lee 

Weet-bix devourer, and Australia’s Funniest Home Videos devotee, Brett Lee was a better batsman than guitarist. He belted West Indian Daren Powell’s delivery above and beyond the Northern Stand, and with near tragicomedy. It exploded on impact close to another blonde Australian paceman. And his wife and young daughter.

“I felt like the mayor of Hiroshima. Six inches either way and the ball would have caused some real damage,” a relieved Carl Rackemann said of the bombardment.

Kapunda High School 1979 until 1983- Paul McCarthy

In my youth of Skyhooks and sausage rolls, there were teachers versus students matches. We loved them. These were played in wholesome spirit, although, as ridiculous, rash lads, some competed like fuming dogs.

Once in the footy my friend Crackshot perfectly tackled a staff member, trapping the Lyrebird to him. The teacher finally loosened an arm, and to his eternal shuddering horror, and our eternal amusement, promptly jabbed Crackshot on the chin. Did we just see that? I don’t think he bit off part of his ear though.

In every cricket match history teacher, and champion golfer, Paul McCarthy provided the highpoint. Batting at the Gundry’s Hill end, the occasion would arrive, and he’d flick it off middle stump, over the spotty fielders, over the boundary, over the school fence, over West Terrace, over the dusty footpath, over a neighbour’s front yard, and onto the roof of her white-washed cottage. Thud. A depth charge in a submarine movie. Everyone waited for it. Macca always delivered.

WACA 2006- Adam Gilchrist

We were at Adelaide’s Highway Inn for Gilly’s pyrotechnics.

It had been among the last workingman’s pubs. On Fridays a misshapen gent haunted the front bar, peddling greasy handfuls of cubed cheese and sliced mettwurst. As such I suspect it was often a real gastro pub. It sold butcher glasses (200ml) of port, but no craft ales. Around six they’d pay a woman to dance through the smoky fug, to wrong music. She would forget to wear her shirt.

Then the Highway was gentrified. The cheese and metty man was gone. Now you could buy

Spring garden riccioli (v) $22 w Brussels sprouts, radicchio, peas and rye crumbs.

Gilchrist launched four sixes in that Ashes knock. Was it so few? Bludgeoning 24 off a Monty over, each shot crackled with sharp raucousness. Aural affects often characterise sport. Gilly sounded like he was right in your lounge room, cracking a whip.

During that beer garden afternoon, I’m sure there was a distant whiff of crumbly cheddar and Linke’s mettwurst

Wudinna 1990- Gary Fitzgerald 

When bowling, my approach to the wicket was utterly unlike Michael Holding. Less whispering death, more three-legged race. Kyancutta’s batsmen could hit it hard, but Fitzy could hit it hardest. He went after me one February afternoon.

Instantly, the ball was one hundred feet high. With the perpetual hopefulness of all bowlers, I thought he’d skied it. Catch, I thought. In a split second I knew. I was wrong.

Fitzy clubbed it like an Adam Scott 9 iron, but unbearably long. It somehow evaded the Commodores cowering in the shade of the distant gym. That Kookaburra travelled further than Yorkshire men go on holiday.

After bouncing ferociously on the rubble the ball returned, but needing cranio-facial surgery. Every batsman tries to smack me. With the last delivery of the innings, I take my seventh wicket. For 74! And win a slab of Southwark! We lose.

WACA 1997- Mark Waugh 

“Along with golf, it’s probably my favourite pastime and cricket gets in the way a bit,” Mark Waugh once said. Our most elegant punter is not Punter, but Junior.

His celebrated strike, off Daniel Vittori, is uncomplicated grace. There is no hyperbole: no running, no leaping, and no punching the air (or Joe Root’s chin). Plainly, the younger Waugh found more delight in Super Impose winning the 1992 Cox Plate at 25/1.

Of course he was batting with older brother and captain Stephen. After Mark’s soaring stroke their demeanour remains uninterested. It suggests an unhurried single to extra cover.

Four stories up on the Lillee-Marsh grandstand roof, the ball clatters like hail on a shed, and, without a yak, is irretrievable. Our coda to that shot is the mid-pitch exchange

Stephen: Fair swipe.

Mark: Yep.

Stephen: Now pull your head in.

Mark: Are you kidding? You jealous?

Stephen: Nup. Who held the Bankstown Pizzeria Space Invaders record?

Mark: Yeah, yeah.

Stephen: Randwick quaddie?

Mark: Nup.

Stephen: Salad or veg with tonight’s steak?

Mark: Veg.