AFL round 4, 1995: Adelaide v West Coast - An arm-wrestle under lights
Reigning premier West Coast is 2-1 on with most bookmakers to win this match. Prior to the game, much discussion centres on how Adelaide will cope without the dominating presence of arguably the finest ruckman in the AFL at the time. Shaun Rehn had seriously injured a knee during the previous week's match against St Kilda, and would be out for the remainder of the season. Balancing the ledger somewhat, the Eagles will be minus their prolific full forward Peter Sumich, and 1992 Norm Smith Medal-winning wingman Peter Matera, both of whom were still recovering from injuries.
This is a 'day-night' match, with the second half being played under lights. A modest breeze, which according to Channel Seven Boundary Rider Neil Kerley "puts about five to six metres on a kick", is favouring the northern end of the ground, to which West Coast will be kicking in the opening term.
1 min Symmons marks on left centre wing and sends a high, probing kick in the centre half forward direction where a pack forms. No one is able to mark, but the ball falls to Kemp in plenty of space, and with time to handball to the running Heady who nonchalantly trots on his full measure before casually spearing home. The goal elicits absolutely no crowd reaction. West Coast 1.0; Adelaide 0.0
4 mins As drizzly rain commences falling West Coast, who thus far have monopolised possession, get a second goal courtesy of Pyke, who kicks truly from 25 metres out directly in front having marked strongly marked McIntosh's centering kick. West Coast 2.2; Adelaide 0.1
5 mins A blow-out looks to be on the cards as Chris Lewis marks surely at centre half forward, the position from which he had narrowly missed to the right a couple of minutes earlier. This time, however, his low trajectory drop punt perfectly splits the centre to give the Eagles a handy 19-point cushion. West Coast 3.2; Adelaide 0.1
7 mins Adelaide maneuver the ball well along left centre wing as David Pittman chases and collects a loose ball before handballing in field to Ingerson who swiftly relays the ball to Bickley (right). The nuggety Crows half back then launches a towering kick in the direction of centre half forward where Mark Ricciuto, one on one with Wilson, cleverly uses his body to out-position his opponent before taking a strong, one grab mark overhead. The ensuing kick never looks like missing. West Coast 3.2; Adelaide 1.1
For the remainder of the quarter most of the play is restricted to the area of the field between the two fifty arcs and only behinds are registered.
QUARTER TIME: West Coast 3.3 (21); Adelaide 1.3 (9)
19 mins In a piece of play typical of this frenetic, tense, hyperactive match, a scrimmage forms in the centre of the ground which sees Greg Anderson, on hands and knees, knock the ball out into the open into the path of Jarman, who feeds McCartney with a deft handball. Spotting Modra hurtling out from goal, McCartney spears a pass in that players direction and is rewarded by seeing it nestle safely in his chest. From 40 metres out, slightly to the right of goal, Modra's kick perfectly bisects the uprights. West Coast 3.6; Adelaide 2.5
22 mins Ricciuto, the recipient of a tiggy-touchwood free kick at half forward right, ultimately elects to pump the ball long towards the goal square after failing to elicit a viable lead. Both Modra and Brennan completely miss the ball, so intent are they on outmanoeuvring one another, and it rolls into the forward pocket where it is gathered, just inside the boundary, by McKinnon, who manages to off-load to Robran just before being flattened. Robran immediately throws the ball onto his left boot and watches with delight as it tumbles through for a goal. West Coast 3.6; Adelaide 3.5
24 mins A Ricciuto snap from midway between half forward right and the right forward pocket sails through for a behind to level the scores. Adelaide 3.6; West Coast 3.6
25 mins Evans left foot shot on the run from 40 metres out directly in front veers away to the right, missing narrowly, but restoring West Coast's one-point advantage. West Coast 3.7; Adelaide 3.6
28 mins A rushed behind to West Coast is the final score of an enthrallingly intense quarter about which Channel Seven commentator Don Scott is moved to observe "I feel privileged to be here".
HALF TIME: West Coast 3.8 (26); Adelaide 3.6 (24)
5 mins Hart, at half back right for West Coast, thumps the ball forward some fifty metres where it eludes a large pack of players, bouncing on towards the Eagles goal. First on it is Evans, who promptly feeds Heady, and the talented Eagles half forward ambles on, in typically nonchalant fashion, before firing home from a distance of roughly 35 metres. West Coast 4.8; Adelaide 3.6
25 mins Wilson marks the ball just to the left of the centre circle and, having taken about ten seconds measuring his options, picks out Ball near centre half forward with a perfect, probing drop punt. Ball, having marked comfortably on his chest, casually splits the centre to put the Eagles two goals to the good. West Coast 5.9; Adelaide 3.9
Ingerson's behind with 26 seconds left on the clock followed 13 seconds later by a rushed behind, also to the Crows, are the only remaining scores of the third term.
THREE QUARTER TIME: West Coast 5.9 (39); Adelaide 3.11 (29)
5 mins Adelaide work the ball well through the centre of the ground courtesy of McCartney who plays a clever 'one-two' with Smart enabling the latter player to run on and hit a fast leading Tony Modra on the chest with a pinpoint perfect pass. Modra, at the true centre half forward position, kicks through the ball in copybook style to put the Crows right back into the game. West Coast 5.9; Adelaide 4.11
8 mins Turnbull, half way between right centre wing and centre, pumps the ball forward in the direction of the fast leading Ball, who is one one one with Jameson at full forward. Ball dives, but the ball bounces off his chest, and is soccered away in the direction of the right forward pocket by Lewis. Scampering after his own kick, Lewis finally gathers the ball just inside the boundary, wheels around onto his right boot, and sends a high, centering kick towards the leading edge of the goal square where Heady manages to get in front of Hart and take a well judged, diving mark. His third goal of the match follows, emphasising the fact that here is a player who really enjoys playing against the Crows. West Coast 6.9; Adelaide 4.11
15 mins The Crows have been moving the ball around with consummate precision over the past few minutes and this finally reaps its reward when Pittman, finding himself in a surprising amount of space just thirty metres from goal, marks Ingerson's centering pass with ease on his chest, before converting. It is only the third AFL goal of the young ruckman's career. West Coast 6.10; Adelaide 5.13
16 mins Adelaide win the ball out of the centre as Pittman fields his own tap and handballs to McCartney, whose quick kick under pressure travels almost to the goal square where Brennan and Modra contest. The Eagles full back manages to get one hand to the ball, but only succeeds in diverting it into Modra's path, and the Crows heart throb is able to run onto it and soccer it through for an easy goal, putting Adelaide in front on the scoreboard for the first time in the match. Adelaide 6.13; West Coast 6.10
21 mins McCartney, who has entered the play strongly during this final phase, marks strongly near the centre of the ground and unloads the longest kick of the day, a prodigious 60-metre torpedo punt that reaches the goal square where Brennan and Modra again contest. Once again, Brennan, who has front position, manages to get a hand to the ball, and once again all he succeeds in doing is gifting Modra with an easy, soccered goal. Adelaide 7.13; West Coast 6.10
Modra's behind from a set shot with six seconds remaining is the final score of a tempestuous, frenetic, epic match in which the Crows greater desperation and cohesion when it counted were probably the critical factors. FINAL SCORE: Adelaide 7.14 (56); West Coast 6.10 (46)
Any doubters to a national competition being appealing to Victorian fans finally must be converted had they watched the Adelaide-West Coast classic on Sunday afternoon. Simply, it was riveting television sport. It peaked at 28 in Melbourne, a rating normally expected for a Collingwood-Carlton duel. And the Crows' come-from-behind 10-point win once again emphasised that 30 goals aren't required for a game to leave fans as drained as the combatants. For much of the gripping contest, the ball was confined to to neutral zone between the respective 50-metre semi-circles as both teams probed for a weakness with unrelenting pressure. Dominant defences constantly handed over the ball to their running players who in turn watched it rebound back into their area with absolutely no respite for the midfielders. Crows coach Robert Shaw said this week that the over-the-border response emphasised that he indeed had presided over a special moment in the 1995 season. "The reaction to the game from faxes and people who rang me was staggering," he said. "It just shows you can put on the game of the year with six goals apiece. It (the defensive aspect) was always going to happen once we both got locked into the match-ups."
- Bruce Matthews, Herald Sun¹
ROBERT SHAW (ADELAIDE COACH): "When people get their ability questioned you get a reaction. The Rehn focus showed our resolve. We weren't supposed to win without Rehn."
MICHAEL MALTHOUSE (WEST COAST COACH): "We were very, very ordinary. We were very undisciplined and Adelaide deserved to win. But we had many players who contributed to Adelaide's win."
Sunday's match between West Coast and Adelaide was......proclaimed a classic, a war of body and nerve. It coughed up more accolades than it did goals - there were just 13 for the night. If you held the ball for a second, it was three quarters of a second too long. It is now touted as an exquisite example of football in the future. And it was. Muzzle your opponent, stifle him, break him. Only when he is dead at your feet, think about scoring. Adelaide matched West Coast at every turn of the body, every bounce of the ball. The match-sealing goals came from boots off the ground by the celebrated high-flier, Tony Modra. You had to be an insider to have enjoyed Sunday's frenetic confrontation. Footy needed to be in your blood, for it was the uncompromising contest that clicked on your adrenalin.
........the.....game was unrelenting, and unspectacular.
- Patrick Smith, The Age²
|West Coast||3.3||3.8||5.9||6.10 (46)|
Adelaide: Jarman, Pittman, Hart, Bickley, Connell, Smart
West Coast: Jakovich, Hart, McKenna, Pyke, White, McIntosh
Adelaide: Modra 4; Pittman, Ricciuto, Robran
West Coast: Heady 3; Ball, Lewis, Pyke
For full match statistics, click here.
ATTENDANCE: 42,723 at Football Park
1. The Herald Sun, 26 April, 1995, page 6
2. The Age, 26 April, 1995, page 32
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