Wednesday Weekly Wrap

Welcome to a weekly wrap of all things sport. Every Wednesday, we will have a look at the big issues kicking around in the world of sport and try to make some sense of them.

Get in touch @liamthompson1 on Twitter or shoot me an email at liamthom92@gmail.com.

Thumbs Down!

1. Max Verstappen does not strike me as the sort of bloke who gives a hoot if he takes out someone while he is racing, teammate or not. After ending Daniel Ricciardo’s race on the opening lap of the Hungarian Grand Prix, young Max has a bit of explaining to do. Sure, his aggressive nature is great for the sport, but you cannot be taking out your teammates. As is turns out Red Bull had great pace and would have given the race a shake had both been able to compete without compromise.

2. Patrick Dangerfield gets a two game suspension reduced to the one week for his tackle that left Matthew Kreuzer with concussion in the Cats win over the Blues over the weekend. It had to happen based on other incidents analysed earlier in the year. The media only care, because it is Dangerfield and there has been far too many in the media trying to defend the call. Rules are rules and he broke them. Out you go Paddy.

3. I don’t care which team you support, but unless you are having a heart attack and are getting wheeled out in a wheelchair, you stay until the end of a game of footy, no matter the circumstances. Those Port Adelaide fans who left early on Saturday evening sure got their just desserts when the Power came back from 10 points down with just over a minute to go and won. It ain’t over until it’s over.

While on the subject of crowds, what has happened to Collingwood fans? Only 33,000 at the MCG on Sunday, with about six or seven thousand of them Adelaide fans. Collingwood boast one of the highest memberships in the AFL, yet when it comes to bums on seats, they really are in a spot of bother.

Thumbs Up!

1. Great to see the SANFL taking the sport out to a regional area on Sunday with Adelaide taking on Glenelg at Bordertown. The timing is odd though, given it clashed with an AFL game involving Adelaide, but the concept has legs and should be further explored in future seasons with every club having to play one game per year in the regions.

2. The Supercars season is producing some fine motor racing at the present time. There is dominance, but it is coming from a few, rather than just a couple. Scott McLaughlin, Jamie Whincup, Shane van Gisbergen, Fabian Coulthard and Chaz Mostert are all potential chances to take out the title this year. The Supercars brand goes from strength to strength with the continued tweaking of the calendar from year to year, the possibility of a night race in the next few years and the introduction of a female driver on the grid. All of it has been done without too much fuss and as a result the sport probably does not get the kudos it deserves.

3.Michael Wilson is one of the best sports photographers going around and he produced another gem this week –

The Thought
They call those on the same Formula One team teammates, but there is nothing mate or team about them.

Well Played

From the odd files
Listening to the radio or watching a television broadcast of games played at the MCG has become strangely annoying thanks to the introduction of those bird noises aimed at reducing the numbers of seagulls flocking onto the ground. Now it clearly is not working, because I was at the MCG on Sunday and there was a bunch of them just making their presence felt, without a care in the world about those awful noises. Enough please!

Wednesday Whinge
It is time the AFL banned tagging from the game or at the very least very quickly tighten up on it. Tagging went out the window for several years, but has returned with a vengeance this year. It is no coincidence then that the standard of the game has become atrocious in 2017 after a few seasons of actually being quite reasonable. Tagging is bogging down games, causing more congestion around the ball and ultimately just a terrible look all round. Rule changes should be kept to a minimum, but something has to give when it comes to the practice of a run with role, because the tag is creating several issues for the game at the present time.

The first and most important reason to outlaw the tag is that we want the best players in the AFL to be actually playing the game and being allowed to use the skills they possess without being dragged away from a contest and constantly niggled and scragged by an opponent at every opportunity. As an AFL player you can play right on the edge with toughness at every contest, no problem with that, but it is the off the ball stuff that just is not a great look for the game.

Some will say that the good players can play with a tag, but perhaps those players would be even better without having someone hanging off them illegally at any opportunity.

Tagging is making blokes who have very little skill look good, while making the players who do have something to offer the game a tad sub par. For goodness sake, some players are being picked solely for a run with role, because that is all they can do. That is not AFL as it should be.

Granted, some players do deal with tags better than others, but really if you are having someone hold you for the entire game, that is going to wear you down no matter how good you are or what intent you display towards the ball. We are at the point now where if I were Adelaide coach Don Pyke, I would make a late change and remove Rory Sloane from the line up to cause headaches for whatever opponent had spent the entire week thinking that they were going to tag him. The game cannot have that.

The game is incredibly hard to umpire as it is with the constant tampering with rules and interpretations that are given to them week after week. Umpires simply cannot have eyes everywhere, but really any time a player is held onto off the ball, a free kick should be paid. Instead what is happening currently is that the tagged player is getting so frustrated that they end up doing something silly and then they are the ones penalised. Dustin Martin is a prime example of this, whacking and copping a fine for a hit on Brisbane’s Nick Robertson a few weeks ago.

How to police illegal tags or a embark on a tightening up of the tag of course is the million dollar question and one not easily answered. The umpires are struggling to keep up with the rules as it is, but somehow they are going to have to get themselves into better positions. Any holding or hanging on has to be penalised immediately. It might take a few weeks and be frustrating for fans initially, but coaches will soon cotton on if their players are constantly giving away free kicks.

It is time to tag the tag.

Picture – The Advertiser

Crow Call – Round 19 (v Collingwood)

In – Jono Beech, Paul Seedsman, Wayne Milera, Myles Poholke, Kyle Hartigan

Out – Brad Crouch, Eddie Betts

What a night. Adelaide showed us that they have what it takes to win the 2017 AFL Premiership. In their kit bag now is a toughness, a hardness and an ability to hunt and intimidate the opponent. Now that we have seen it, it has to be rolled out far more often. Adelaide have five weeks and five big games to continue to tweak what they need to in what will be a perfect preparation for finals.

From Rory Sloane finding some form to the Crouch brothers getting in and under to big Sam Jacobs throwing his weight around, it was the night for the ages. A huge crowd on what just was the perfect night for footy.

You cannot stop and reflect on Friday night for too long though, because there are alarm bells going off everywhere this week. So often after a big game with a massive build up and massive effort spent, the game after is a big let down. Adelaide have had a nine-day break, so fatigue cannot be an excuse this week. A couple of crucial forced changes, but if Adelaide are to finish top two, they cannot afford to drop this one against the Magpies on Sunday. The competition will eat you alive if you rest on your laurels.

Collingwood’s midfield is minus Scott Pendlebury, but don’t be fooled by that. Adam Treloar, Taylor Adams, Steele Sidebottom. They can all do damage. The defensive line is the one Adelaide must exploit. It is probably Collingwood’s biggest weakness and I am sure they were quietly celebrating the fact that Eddie Betts will miss this week because of appendicitis. You can bet your bottom dollar that Levi Greenwood will go straight to Sloane. It will be fascinating to see whether Sloane can take the form of last weekend into this game. This will be a nice little test for the Crows. As Collingwood showed last week, underestimate them at your peril.

The Adelaide forward line will likely see the presence of Richard Douglas and Charlie Cameron a bit more in the absence of Betts. Josh Jenkins should be better after looking groggy after his bout of food poisoning last week. I would not mind Riley Knight having another run with role to see if that is really a job he could do more often.

It is no surprise to see Brad Crouch out of the team with a fractured cheekbone. Hopefully he will return for the Showdown or at worst the game after that. His comments on Channel Seven after the game on Friday night that he was keen to play this weekend, fractured cheekbone or not is hopefully the spirit that is within the group at the moment. That and the fact he played out the game with the fracture, tells you all you need to know about the team’s hardness last week. They want to play and they want to win. That could take them far, but they have to sustain it.

Through the middle Harrison Wigg should have been given the gig in place of Brad Crouch. It is time to blood the youngster. His form has been pretty solid throughout the entire 2017 SANFL season and if you are not playing him now, it is hard to see him playing at all. You never know who will be required come finals time and Wigg would have been better for the run now than to be making a debut in the big time. It appears though that Paul Seesdman will get that spot this week.

Down back, Jake Lever misses another week, but you are not going to rush him back at this stage of the year with his dodgy hamstrings. Kyle Hartigan returns and Alex Keath keeps his place. Keath did not look out-of-place last week and along with other Category B rookie Hugh Greenwood, you can see them playing a lot of footy. They are both great stories.

The Adelaide SANFL side is in a bit of trouble and it is hard to see them playing finals. This is an interesting one, because it will mean that there will be no regular footy to keep players in form while the AFL team is playing in a finals series. Paul Seedsman is pushing for a recall and Harrison Wigg cannot do much more to press his case. In the absence of Reilly O’Brien, big man Paul Hunter is playing the footy of his life. Again, there was not enough from Dean Gore or Harry Dear, while the younger brigade of Ben Jarman and Matthew Signorello did some really nice things. Signorello’s pressure is brilliant, while Jarman has got some skills. Jordan Gallucci and Myles Poholke are going to play a lot of senior footy. This week, the SANFL Crows head to Bordertown to take on Glenelg in a match which will almost decide fifth place. Kyle Cheney will not be there. His season is now pretty much done after getting himself suspended for two games. It is most frustrating for Cheney who has missed far too much footy this year now. If Adelaide are any chance of finals, they must beat the Bays on Sunday.

Collingwood are no easy beats and Adelaide simply have to get this one done. We will learn more about this side and their chances of success this week than what we did from last week’s game. Adelaide, but not by much for mine.

Crow Call Extra –
It is sad to see Scott Thompson hang up the boots this week. He has been a great servant to the Adelaide Football Club and still may have a role to play if injuries hit in the latter part of the year. It was also great to be able to watch the vision of Thompson telling the players of his retirement during the week. Well done to all involved.

Tip Adelaide by 11 points

Weather –  Showers, 16.

Game Info –
Collingwood v Adelaide
Sunday July 30 – 3.20pm (local time) MCG, Melbourne

The Crow Call will be published every Thursday during the AFL Season. Join in the conversation with me on all things Crows on Twitter @liamthompson1.

Wednesday Weekly Wrap

Welcome to a weekly wrap of all things sport. Every Wednesday, we will have a look at the big issues kicking around in the world of sport and try to make some sense of them.

Get in touch @liamthompson1 on Twitter or shoot me an email at liamthom92@gmail.com.

Thumbs Down!
1. Flares have no place in society unless you are on a vessel that is going down in the ocean. So how did one get into Adelaide Oval on the weekend? This column has been critical of Adelaide Oval security and those criticisms have now been justified. If you are going to do something, do it properly. I once again took no bag to the game on Friday night and as such walked straight through the gate without attracting any attention whatsoever. I could have had anything on my body and this is just one example. It is a worry, but surely wanding every single person has to be the bare minimum going forward. Bare minimum.

It was a shame too, because the atmosphere at the Adelaide Oval on Friday night was brilliant. 50,000 people in attendance, a perfect night for footy weather wise, not even too cold for a July evening! The noise was fantastic and was up there with a big final. Well done to all involved.

2. Why oh why is Channel Seven giving more publicity to Bernard Tomic. Tomic virtually confirmed in an interview on Sunday Night that for him tennis is just a job and a way to make ends meet. If that is the case, Tomic needs to be banned from playing tennis. Sport is all about winning and giving your all and if you are not doing that, it goes against the spirit of the game and you have no place in the sport. Well done for your honesty Bernard, but it has to be see you later for mine.

3. There is a very small window in which cricket has in ears to sort out the pay deal or risk losing the hand that feeds them. The sense is that the Australian public are fed up with the noises coming out of both camps. One day you read something, the next it is something else. All of it is childish and beyond belief really. Shut up, get the deal done and get back to playing cricket. Australia now looks like a laughing stock. We have seen what happens to sports around the world when disputes over pay occur. The recovery time can be enormous. Every day it lags is another day the future of cricket in this country is damaged.

Thumbs Up!
1. We thought an Aussie might do good things at the Tour de France this year, but I am not sure too many people thought that it would be Michael Matthews who would bring the success home. Matthews becomes the third Australian to win the green sprinters jersey behind Baden Cooke and Robbie McEwan. It was also a lesson in never giving up. Half way through the race, Matthews appeared no chance of catching then leader Marcel Kittel. Kittel ended up crashing out giving Matthews the lead, but by that point Matthews had made a huge indent in it anyway. Well played Bling!

2. The future of the SANFL was a big talking point on Adelaide radio over the weekend, which is great. The competition needs a healthy debate, but I wonder how many of these people putting their two cents worth actually go to SANFL games throughout the year. The best way to support the game is to physically attend one. An opinion is all good and well, but if it is not an informed one, it is not really worth much.

The Thought

Well Played

The honest truth
Sport is not the place for political statements or raising awareness of political issues. The AFL themed games and rounds continue to spiral out of control. More footy, less causes please.

Wednesday Whinge
Patrick Dangerfield needs to pull his head in and the media need to stop providing him with a forum to do act like a fool. The attention, coverage and discussion he creates week on week is now beyond ridiculous and last week went to a hysterical level. There were a few incidents that Dangerfield did not need to partake in last week, that really by the end of it, left him looking a bit like a goose.

The first was his little performance at a press conference coming dressed as a medical patient after Kane Cornes made the comments that Dangerfield can at times over exaggerate the extent of his injuries. After watching Dangerfield play for Adelaide every week over many years, you have to agree with Kane. There were several times when he would go down like a shot duck and act like he had broken every bone in his body, only to get back up and get on with things. Totally unnecessary.

It makes you question those who called his performance in the Cats win over the Hawks heroic. Sure, he went up forward and kicked five goals, but he played the week after, so the foot injury cannot have been that bad, could it? It was a great game, but one of the best individual performances of all time? Please.

Dangerfield is taking the media along for the ride and they are willingly taking the bait. It is funny that the media now think that he is the best thing since sliced bread, but you barely heard Dangerfield’s name mentioned in Victoria when he played in South Australia. Funny that.

On Friday night in the game against the Cats, Dangerfield went down once more like the world was collapsing underneath him, when Crow Hugh Greenwood walked past and brushed him. He got himself a free and the Cats a goal. Now Greenwood probably should not have gone near him, but at the same time Dangerfield just proved everything Kane Cornes had said earlier in the week to be true. He is very big on the over exaggeration.

Perhaps Dangerfield is trying to win the Brownlow and an Oscar in the same year, I am not sure. What am I sure of though is that ‘flopping’ is not a great look for him or the game. He already has Joel Selwood in that team who plays for free kick by dropping to his knees most weeks. All it does is make the game difficult for the umpires and really is a form of cheating to be perfectly honest.

You can play footy better than most Danger, but if it is the footy you want to be remembered for, scrap the theatrics, stop taking the piss and get on with the playing the game.

Picture – ABC

Crow Call – Round 18 (v Geelong)

In – Alex Keath

Out – Jake Lever

Last week I refused to tip the Crows, because they so often play a big game, but do not back it up the week after. Adelaide did it convincingly against the Demons up in Darwin and ticked just another small box in the quest for premiership glory.

Rory Sloane has been named this week, but it will be no surprise to anyone if he drops out of the side on match day. All reports are that he trained pretty well and no doubt he would be keen to play. Reading between the lines, you would think he does play however. Josh Jenkins has been under the weather all week, but in his own words turned a corner yesterday (Wednesday) after a bout of food poisoning. He has also been named and should be fine to play.

Tom Doedee, long discussed as the pick Adelaide should have used to get Hawthorn’s Ryan Burton was surely a chance to finally make his debut at the expense of Jake Lever this week. Buyer beware, Lever’s body is not the most bullet proof of commodities. He has popped a hamstring and had highness several times this year. His exclusion is a big out for Adelaide. It was not to be though for Doedee with former cricketer Alex Keath set to play his first AFL game instead. The bigger body and the fact he is more of a key position player got him over the line this week. His SANFL form has been solid for a few weeks now and it will be exciting to see him unleashed on the big stage.

Keath is the fourth Adelaide player to make their debut this year and the third from the rookie list. You have to hand it to Adelaide’s recruiters. They know talent when they see it. If only they could do a better job of retaining it.

Patrick Dangerfield has been named for the Cats, but all the interviews during the week from various sources seem to indicate he is unlikely to take his place on Friday Night. As the Crows have done with Lever, it would be silly to risk a player at this time of the year. If Dangerfield does not play, it significantly swings the game into Adelaide’s favour, but Joel Selwood will still be out there. His influence has to be quelled.

If Adelaide concede again that they will not win the middle or the ‘toughness’ battle by any great margin, they have to then be able to get their rebound game going. It worked well against the Dogs, but Geelong have seemed to have been able to find a way in recent time to shut down that run off the half back line. Brodie Smith, Rory Laird, Luke Brown. These players have to be able to find ball and use the ball well if Adelaide are to win. I almost would have liked to see Paul Seedsman come into the side this week for that extra bit of run he can provide.

It was raised in this column prior to the most recent fixture between these two teams that Geelong’s forward line causes major issues for the Crows. Adelaide were very loose last time the two sides met with players allowed too much space. This cannot be allowed to happen again on Friday Night.

Similarly Adelaide’s supply was stifled and their key forwards failed to be able to get into the game. One who found plenty of the ball was Taylor Walker, but he did not have his kicking boots on that night. His form since has been outstanding and if he can continue that this week, Adelaide are a big chance. Eddie Betts has had probably his quietest year since being at the Crows. Now that may sound harsh, but he has drifted out of games more than we are used to seeing and has failed to hit the scoreboard in key moments as much as he and the team probably would like. He is due for a big game. Could it be this week? Adelaide’s forward line is the best in the AFL at the present time. It has to be used as the asset it is against the Cats to stretch their defence. There is no point in having six great forwards if the ball is not going down there with great supply or not at all.

Chris Scott can deny it as much as he likes, but Geelong do have the wood over the Crows and do have a game plan that ruffles Adelaide’s feathers. Adelaide have to expect this is again the way Geelong will play and have to be seen to be trying something slightly different in order to get around it. The bottom line is that if Adelaide are to win the flag this year, they will most likely have to beat Geelong at some stage. Josh Jenkins said Adelaide have worked out a way to beat the Cats, but just have not been able to do it when it counts. Friday night, it has to be achieved. This is when it counts.

Over at SANFL level, there was not too much to report from Adelaide’s loss to West Adelaide. Troy Menzel, Ben Jarman and Harrison Wing all tried hard, but there was not much help coming from elsewhere. The SANFL side were severely depleted of AFL listed talent, which will change this week. Harry Dear, Matthew Signorello and Kyle Cheney all return from injury. Cheney could still play an AFL role later this year if his body can hold up. Meanwhile Jordan Gallucci and Jono Beech return from their duties as AFL emergencies. I am not entirely sure what Beech’s role in that was last week, but nonetheless he is back for Sunday’s match against the Redlegs. Ben Davis will line up for his first game in Crows colours at The Parade after overcoming a foot injury that has written off most of his season. Great news for the youngster.

There is one other concern on the injury front for Adelaide, which has not really been discussed. Reilly O’Brien is missing and has been out of action for a few weeks now with a back injury that the club have listed as an ongoing assessment. If the unthinkable happened and Sam Jacobs went down, Adelaide currently do not have a recognised back up ruckman. Josh Jenkins and Andy Otten could not ruck for a whole game with great reward you wouldn’t imagine, while rookie listed player Paul Hunter is not ready for AFL action. That is a major concern.

Back to the game and there is no Simonds Stadium to contend with for Adelaide this week. It is Friday Night under the comfort of the Adelaide Oval lights with the possibility of a record attendance figure. A loss will not completely wipe Adelaide’s season, but a win certainly makes a top two finish all that more secure. Crows just for mine.

Tip Adelaide by 11 points

Weather – 18, Sunny. Low of 6.

Game Info –
Adelaide v Geelong
Friday July 21 – 7.20pm (local time) Adelaide Oval, Adelaide

The Crow Call will be published every Thursday during the AFL Season. Join in the conversation with me on all things Crows on Twitter @liamthompson1.

Wednesday Weekly Wrap

Welcome to a weekly wrap of all things sport. Every Wednesday, we will have a look at the big issues kicking around in the world of sport and try to make some sense of them.

Get in touch @liamthompson1 on Twitter or shoot me an email at liamthom92@gmail.com.

Thumbs Down!
1. Patrick Dangerfield may think he is taking the piss, but the joke is actually on him. Dressing up at a press conference made him looked like an absolute arrogant imbecile. Kane Cornes is right when he says that Dangerfield exaggerated injuries at Adelaide. He went down like a shot duck on numerous occasions and always looked to be in immense pain before picking himself up and getting on with things. Theatrics.

2. West Adelaide fans. They do actually exist! There are more than just the six who were in the cheer squad last week. You can take pot shots on social media all you like, but turn up to a Westies game and support your club. Then come back to me. As for whoever is running the West Adelaide Twitter account, kudos for live tweeting during the game, but you will not see the best social media managers making catty comments on the socials. Grow up.

The game between Adelaide and West Adelaide was shall we say strangely reported by The Advertiser this week.

3. Martin Brundle went down ill before the British Formula One Grand Prix over the weekend and it was just not the same. I tweeted at the time that it was almost an event worthy of cancelling the race! Paul di Resta stood in and did a great job, but we wish Martin all the best.

Thumbs Up!

1. We say it every week but the legacy of Daniel Ricciardo continues to grow. Starting second last on the grid at Sunday’s British Formula One Grand Prix, Ricciardo quickly made some significant gains, but then made a further mistake and dropped once more to near the back of the grid. Not letting that stop him, Ricciardo ended up finishing fifth. With a bit of luck this man will dominate Formula One one day.

2. Roger Federer just keeps doing great things. A 19th Grand Slam under his belt, it is impossible not to love and appreciate the way Federer goes about his tennis. He failed to drop a set at Wimbledon this year at the ripe old age of thirty five. Federer’s success should be celebrated long and hard, because that next generation of tennis players simply do not have the class that Federer has on or off the court at the present time.

The Thought
If the AFL has set the precedent on how office affairs are to be handled, there would be a few nervous people around the country at the moment. What a storm in a tea cup. And how do we feel about the media naming the women involved? Fair game?

Well Played

Exactly! Who cares how a story was created.

The Rumour

Wednesday Whinge
Adelaide Thunderbird recruit Catherine Tuivaiti’s 2018 Super Netball season is over before it has even begun. She will miss the next 12 months or so with an ACL injury. One only hopes this deal was signed before the injury occurred as it is an odd selection otherwise.

The Thunderbirds have replaced a stack of imports with another selection of imports and players who have failed to really make it at other clubs heading into 2018. It comes about with most Aussie talent locked away at other clubs already for next year. 

The recruiting before the initial season may again come back to haunt Adelaide in season 2018. It is hard to see the team being extremely successful until some of that younger Australian elite talent is lured across the border to Adelaide.

Sasha Glasgow, Fiona Themann and Hannah Petty are the future of the club, while Kate Shimmin has being brought back to Adelaide. It is hard to see where the improvement is to come from with the rest though, given they are made up of older recruits or players who have failed to impact elsewhere to this point.

Gia Abernathy must consider herself unlucky not to be on Adelaide’s initial list of ten. She will be named as a training partner in due course you would imagine.

In more positive news for Adelaide though, they have changed their social media profile to say that they now play in the Suncorp Super Netball League as opposed to the ANZ Championship, which is what it said all throughout 2017. Kudos.

2018 Adelaide Thunderbirds List
Kaitlyn Bryce
Leana de Bruin
Sasha Glasgow
Abigail Latu-Meafou
Bongiwe Msomi
Hannah Petty
Chelsea Pitman
Kate Shimmin
Fiona Themann
Cathrine Tuivaiti*

*ruled out for year with ACL injury.

Picture – Fox Sports 

What a bloody mess

Who thought a SANFL game on a Saturday afternoon, with a crowd of almost nobody would create so much conversation?

It began when The Advertiser on Saturday night posted a story about the Adelaide Crows supposedly being upset with the West Adelaide cheer squad for banging on the fence at the game on Saturday afternoon. The particular article used the word alleged when stating that Adelaide officials approached the West cheer squad and asked them to stop banging on the fence. Using that word does not make the piece any more credible or relevant. And even if it was true, it is hardly news. It is rubbish journalism.

The Advertiser’s continual obsession with writing pieces based upon the amount of clicks and comments an article will get as opposed to actually reporting the news is officially out of control. There have now been three separate pieces on this game including one stating that Adelaide should either be all in or all out of this competition. These particular pieces are written so that supporters turn on each other. And what do you know, that is exactly what happened. This is modern journalism and it is just trash.

I was at Richmond Oval on Saturday afternoon. One of only a very select few mind you. Calling six people a cheer squad is a bit of a stretch?  There was not too many more than that, sitting behind the goals and making noise on Saturday. The noise on the fence was absolutely atrocious. I am sure the neighbours around Richmond Oval enjoy it week in, week out. It was done not only after every West Adelaide goal, but any time Adelaide had the ball in that vicinity as well.

Having said that you can support any way you like, fence or no fence, provided it does not cross the line. The Bloods fans just looked a bit like imbeciles, but at the end of the day that is not the fault of the cheer squad. The banging was only obvious as there was only 1400 odd people at the ground. Some will argue that this is because Adelaide fans do not turn up to SANFL games, but that is a ridiculous argument. Where were all the West Adelaide supporters?  A quick glance at the crowd numbers at Richmond Oval throughout 2017 paints the picture of 1700 as being a pretty average crowd number. Surely the Bloods have more than 1700 supporters. Those in glass houses…

On the issue of crowd behaviour at SANFL games, there is a particular type of SANFL fan (middle-aged men I am looking at you). Some of these so-called supporters think that they can yell anything they like at the footy, smoke wherever they like and act like absolute aggressive morons. There was a touch of this about the the way the banging on the fence was done by some on Saturday. Just a touch.

Where I also take issue is the verbal abuse projected at Adelaide’s players every week. Adelaide do not belong in the SANFL and neither do Port Adelaide for that matter. That is plain and simple. However, for the moment they are, so all supporters of SANFL footy need to just get over it. The abuse week after week to fans, to players and to administrators of both AFL reserves teams is down right pathetic and cannot be allowed to continue. You are there to watch the footy, support your team and enjoy the day. Keep the other rubbish out of it on match day. Send emails to the SANFL. Use the anger in other more positive ways to get that point across. The angry, agressive behaviour is not how you attract families to the footy or create a welcoming atmosphere.

The time is coming that both Adelaide and Port Adelaide will not be in the SANFL. It may be as early as next year or it may be five or ten years down the track. Without them though, the SANFL most likely loses a television deal, a substantial amount of money and will be fighting yet another competition for eyes and bums on seats. So be careful what you wish for.

On the park, the SANFL is producing a great season where everybody can beat anybody on any given day.  It is as close a season as we have seen in some time. Ridiculous negative press and made up stories like we have seen this week distracts from that and that is a damn shame.

Crow Call – Round 17 (v Melbourne)

In – Hugh Greenwood Tom Lynch

Out – Wayne Milera, Scott Thompson

This column asked the Crows last week to show us that they are still in the premiership race. They did exactly that with a thumping win over the Western Bulldogs. The Dogs form has been ordinary of late, but Hawthorn had not played great footy in 2017 either when they came to town, but seriously challenged Adelaide on their home turf and won. This was a good win by Adelaide.

At half time last Friday night, you wondered whether the script that was rolled out against Hawthorn a few weeks earlier was repeating itself. A closely fought first half saw the Dogs have the better of the in and under stuff, but they failed to capitalise. After half time, Adelaide were able to reset, dig deep and managed to get the game on their own terms again.

The Scott Thompson move went as predicted. Thompson has been a great part of the Adelaide Football Club for many years, but his time has come. He was meant to be nothing more than injury insurance this year, so to play him last week was always a strange move. There were plenty of times during the year where it may have made sense to bring him in. Last week just was not really one of those. Regardless, his addition did not harm Adelaide in any way last week, but when a senior player is being run down easily, giving away frustrating free kicks and not getting the ball much himself, it is time to move on. Hugh Greenwood come in this week to take back his spot in the side after being managed last week. Hopefully his managing is nothing too serious as there was a bye less than a month ago.

Speaking of veterans who have limited games ahead, David Mackay is struggling. Players almost look in two minds to give him the ball, because when they do the delivery to him is terrible. Paul Seedsman surely comes into that role soon. Mackay has had too many chances now and has been recalled twice when his form in the SANFL has not really warranted it. He is not in Adelaide’s best 22.

It is surpising to see Tom Lynch back in this week. Long plane trip, warm conditons. Surely one more week on the sidelines would not have hurt. He has to be right come the pointy end. What is the point of playing him now?

Melbourne await this week up in Darwin. Not sure Darwin suits the Crows, much as Hobart did not suit them earlier in the year. Humid, sticky, wet conditions will be tough to play in, but Adelaide maybe that is unfair as Adelaide have shown in games against the Dockers and the Dogs just last week, that they like it when it is a little damp. The Max Gawn, Sam Jacobs match up is a juicy one. Interestingly last week Adelaide easily won the hit outs, but got smashed in the clearances. The centre has been a problem for the Crows this year, so perhaps they are willing to lose the clearance and back in their rebound run. Jake Kelly and Jake Lever were both outstanding in this regard last week.

Melbourne beat Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval a couple of months ago, because they were the tougher team and choked Adelaide’s supply. So there should be no surprises this week when Melbourne try to do that again. The Dogs backed their own game against Adelaide and failed miserably. Melbourne will no doubt revert back to tagging Rory Sloane and playing extras behind the ball. These are moves that have really troubled the Crows this year, so it provides another little test to see where they are really at.

The SANFL Crows played in patches against Port Adelaide last week, but mostly in the first half. Their second half was pretty lacklustre. Tom Doedee made a few uncharacteristic errors, perhaps brought on by the pressure of selection this week. Kyle Cheney will come back next week after a hamstring problem and untried youngster Ben Davis is by all reports set to debut shortly too. Harrison Wigg was again close to best last weekend. Elliot Himmelberg kicked four goals, while Myles Poholke and Jordan Gallucci both showed glimpses of what they can do. Poholke and Gallucci are in and under type players. They attack the ball, which is the sort of player Adelaide have been lacking in recent times. Himmelberg meanwhile is a player in the fold of a Mitch McGovern. He is extremely athletic and can clunk a big mark. Three great signs for the future of this football club.

Speaking of futures, the next few weeks will be interesting for Harry Dear who is now playing permanently in defence and Dean Gore who are both failing to have enough impact to be in the conversation for AFL selection. Both can play, there is no doubt about that, but both need to try to find some consistency in their game.

Back to the AFL and the Darwin factor has me leaning towards tipping the Demons in this one. If Adelaide can repeat what they did last week, they will win given the personnel Melbourne have out. No Jack Watts, Nathan Jones, Dom Tyson or Jack Viney has to impact. However, I have not seen the sort of form Adelaide produced against the Dogs consistently enough in recent time from Adelaide and am not willing to give them the benefit of the doubt just yet.

Tip Melbourne by 18 points

Weather – Sunny, 32.

Game Info –
Melbourne v Adelaide
Saturday July 15 – 7.10pm (local time) TIO Stadium, Darwin

The Crow Call will be published every Thursday during the AFL Season. Join in the conversation with me on all things Crows on Twitter @liamthompson1.

Wednesday Weekly Wrap

Welcome to a weekly wrap of all things sport. Every Wednesday, we will have a look at the big issues kicking around in the world of sport and try to make some sense of them.

Get in touch @liamthompson1 on Twitter or shoot me an email at liamthom92@gmail.com.

Thumbs Down!

1. Why is Adelaide Oval continually failing when it comes to security? It is simply not good enough to be scanning one in every fifty people who come into the gates. In Melbourne at both Etihad Stadium and the MCG, every single person is subjected to a scan with a wand upon arrival at the ground. Surely this is the bare minimum expected in this day and age.

2. The holding the ball rule in the AFL has official gone the way of the dodo. It has completely disappeared from the game. It appears now that you can dispose of the ball in whatever way you see fit, provided it is disposed of. Last time I checked, throwing and dropping the ball were not legitimate ways to move the ball on. Fix it.

3. When you are playing a fixture once every twelve years, you simply cannot have a drawn series. This was the case for the Lions, All Blacks rugby union series which concluded over the weekend. The three match series finished with one win a piece and a draw. Extra time? Something had to be done to find a winner. Twelve years is too long between drinks to have no bragging rights.

Thumbs Up!

1. The Tour Down Under race routes for 2018 have been announced. While no time trial has been included as suggested in this column last week, there is a couple of surprises. Port Adelaide returns to the route for the first time since 1999, while a finish near Norton Summit the day before the Willunga Hill finish will be very challenging for riders. There is a lot of buzz around next year’s edition, given it is the twentieth anniversary of the race. Hopefully some more big name riders come and celebrate the race with South Australia as well.

2. The NBL have decided to introduce a Christmas Eve game between Adelaide and Cairns for the 2017/18 season. And why not? A 3pm tip off is the perfect time for a bit of festive sport on a day where you either are shopping or preparing the turkey. Kudos to the NBL for trying something new. A Christmas Day fixture would be ridiculous, but Christmas Eve is all ticks.

3. Daniel Ricciardo made it five podiums in a row with a third place finish at the Austrian Grand Prix over the weekend. If Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic have every attribute we hate about an athlete, Ricciardo has every feature that we love. He has a never say die attitude, a smile on his face at all times and always looks to be generally enjoying what he is doing, no matter the situation. It is probably no coincidence then that he finds himself with such success.

The Question
When Richmond wear their fluro yellow strip, why do the umpires dress in grey? Grey is not a colour that stands out (insert umpires being heard but not seen joke here) and they look hideous.

Well Played
Mitch McGovern is increasing his value with every game he plays.

Wednesday Whinge
Why do the media continue to give people like Bernard Tomic attention? Let him be a disgrace in private. We do not need to give anymore oxygen to galahs like him. He is more than capable of doing that on his own.

Tomic’s comments after his first round loss at Wimbledon last week were appalling. He deserved to be fined and every bit of ridicule that went his way. Tomic has far too much form in this area now for this to be an outlier.

There were those who tired to argue that his honesty was refreshing and that there should be more of it. Others claimed that the way Tomic was feeling is how most tennis players have felt along the journey. That may be true, but other tennis players have been able to deal with that feeling with professionalism and respect. In the end, there is honesty and then there is simply unprofessional. Tomic fell well and truly into the latter, with his comments doing nothing but harming the sport, the reputation of a major sporting event in Wimbledon and harm to himself. He has been around long enough now to know better.

Just as appalling however were those in the media who tried to get inside the head of Bernard Tomic and attempted to diagnose him with various mental health issues. These people are not doctors and are clearly not trained in that area. They also have no idea of the day to day thoughts of Tomic or any idea of him personally. Their opinions, much like those of Tomic himself would be better kept to themselves.

Also on Wimbledon and Australian tennis players, News Corp did not cover themselves in any glory this week when they stumbled across and published photos of Nick Kyrgios having a night out at a London night spot. Sure, report it once, although it is hardly news. However follow up article after follow up article on this so called event did nothing but re-enfoce where the state of journalism is in 2017. If you were to read every story published on the topic, you would have got virtually the same information three, four or five different times.

The public, the beauty of quality journalism and the actual news writers, who are out there somewhere, deserve so much better than this.

Picture – ABC

Crow Call – Round 16 (v Western Bulldogs)

In – Andy Otten, Charlie Cameron, Scott Thompson

Out – Kyle Hartigan (hamstring), Jono Beech (omitted), Hugh Greenwood

Oh boy. Was that the sort of gritty win Adelaide had to have or was it more of the same soft football we have seen far too often from the Crows in recent weeks? The answer lies somewhere in between. The Crows have had major issues attempting to adapt when a team tries something they do not like. Even if it is the same few tactics that have been used by several teams over the last six weeks. Block the corridor, tag Rory Sloane and limit Adelaide’s clean entry into the forward line. These were again the stratergies employed by Carlton on Saturday afternoon, which almost ensured another upset.

It was pleasing to see a truckload of grunt in the last quarter when the game was on the line. Even when the Blues got in front, Adelaide responded accordingly and got the job done. This was the hardness and determination lacking in the last quarter against the Hawks last week, so it was reassuring to see a quick turnaround. There was plenty to take from the last quarter that should be persisted with for coming weeks. Aspects such as reducing the handballs during a passage of play, backing players like Mitch McGovern to take contested marks and pressure, pressure, pressure. Taylor Walker’s leadership was better, Hugh Greenwood played a bit of a tagging role and the tackling went up a notch during that final quarter. As such it was Carlton who were forced into making errors. It is amazing what can happen when a few things are tinkered. The same things we have all been calling out for weeks.

The first quarter fast start was also pleasing, but the drop off during the second and third quarter where Carlton got to play the sort of game they wanted was disappointing. They got away with it this week Adelaide, but it would have been better to see some changes made earlier than the last quarter.

Kyle Hartigan’s injury is the sour point to come out of the game. Kyle Cheney was the obvious replacement, but has managed to do another hamstring himself. Say what you like about the hamstring curse, but down back it has now engulfed Hartigan, Cheney for the second time, Jake Lever and Daniel Talia. There is an underlying issue there. Andy Otten comes back into the side after a one-week lay off in the SANFL. He has more than earned himself another contract at the Crows if he wants one. Otten has plugged holes left, right and centre so far this year and seems to relish doing it too. Tom Doedee would have been considered this week, but he is not a like for like replacement for Hartigan in terms of body weight and strength.

It is meant to be wet on Friday night, which is the only possible reason that Scott Thompson has been recalled over Hugh Greenwood who has been dropped. Words cannot describe how ludicrous that call is.

So the Western Bulldogs this week. A team Adelaide failed to beat in 2016 in the one and only outing. However, the Dogs are a far harder prospect at Etihad Stadium than they are at the Adelaide Oval. The forecast is for showers, which will most likely turn it into another scrap. This is probably good for Adelaide, as it may reduce the Dogs pace a touch. It is the first of a few fifty-fifty games for the Crows, particularly given the Dogs are not the team they were during the finals series last year. Adelaide really cannot drop anymore at home and expect to finish top four. It would be really good if they could send a message to the competition on a Friday Night that they are still in this race for the premiership. There is no better way to do that then knocking off the Dogs.

It will be interesting to see what Adelaide do about Jason Johannisen. The template is there on how to stop him. The Crows would be mad not to follow it. But will they?

In recent years, the Western Bulldogs have made Adelaide look slow. The addition of Charlie Cameron this week is vital. He must play more midfield minutes. He was electric in there in the opening rounds, but has been rarely seen for some reason since. Paul Seedsman misses out this week again, but you feel this would have been the perfect game for him to return. He adds pace and perhaps could even allow Brodie Smith to play a bit more up the ground. He is not far away from game one of 2017.

In the SANFL over the weekend, as expected, Adelaide got smashed by Sturt after having to make seven changes to the side that beat Central District the week before. Harrison Wigg returns to the SANFL side this week after having a hip injury that somehow suddenly appeared before last weekend’s game. While Reilly O’Brien misses another week with a back injury also sustained strangely before last weekend’s game. Along with Cheney, none of these injuries appeared on the Tuesday injury list last week and there was no mention of them until team selection time. This column has said it multiple times this year, but the secrecy is simply not good enough from Adelaide.

Jono Beech also comes back into the SANFL side after three AFL games. Beech was serviceable and will still most likely play a vital role before the season is out. He is just one notch off the pace at the moment, but that will come. The SANFL Showdown between Port Adelaide and the Crows awaits on Saturday. With some key personnel back, this should be a far more competitive Adelaide than against Sturt. It will be good for the likes of Doedee, Wigg and Gallucci to go up against other AFL bodies and talent.

So which way does the Crows, Dogs fall? For mine it is down once again to the midfield and the pressure. Clearances have been an area of concern for the Crows in key moments. The Dogs fast breaks have hurt Adelaide in the past, so Adelaide must get first use of the ball and use it well and pressure the Dogs into sloppy errors at all times. Do that and Adelaide will win.

Tip Adelaide by 13 points

Weather – Showers. 15.

Game Info –
Adelaide v Western Bulldogs
Friday July 7 – 7.20pm (local time) Adelaide Oval

The Crow Call will be published every Thursday during the AFL Season. Join in the conversation with me on all things Crows on Twitter @liamthompson1.

Wednesday Weekly Wrap

Welcome to a weekly wrap of all things sport. Every Wednesday, we will have a look at the big issues kicking around in the world of sport and try to make some sense of them.

Get in touch @liamthompson1 on Twitter or shoot me an email at liamthom92@gmail.com.

Thumbs Down!

1. I was prepared to call it an outlier, but there is now far too much data to call Port Adelaide’s attendance figures this year anything but disappointing. There were 39,000 people on a Saturday Night, featuring a big drawing club in Richmond. Where were all the people?! This surely was a 50k crowd minimum as a pass mark. What is with the sudden drop off from Port Adelaide fans? The Adelaide Oval novelty has worn off, but the Power are a real contender this season and are as good a chance as any. Strange for mine.

2. The AFL has provided some absolutely thrilling football games across season 2017. However, while the last few weeks may have been closely fought contests, the standard of footy has been nothing but ordinary. It is frustrating to watch, ugly to analyse and lacks any real excitement except for maybe towards the end of the game. At one stage over the weekend, Carlton kicked the ball amongst themselves for about three minutes in their game against Adelaide. Fans do not want that. I am not sure what the answer is, but give me a high scoring game any day over a defensive, ugly thriller.

3. It was the second year anniversary of the death of former Adelaide Crows coach Phil Walsh during the week. The Advertiser in Adelaide thought this was a great time to re-publish a three-part story about Cy Walsh that outlined the last moments of Phil Walsh’s life and everything in between. This is really bad taste and showed little respect for Walsh’s family and the Adelaide Football Club, both of whom do not need any reminder of July 3 2015. Sometimes life is bigger than click bait articles.

Thumbs Up!

1. Santos has signed on for a further two years as the naming rights sponsor of the Tour Down Under. In times where businesses are very cautious as to where they put their money, this is a major vote of confidence in one of South Australia’s premier sporting events.

The stages for the 2018 edition of the Santos Tour Down Under will be named in coming weeks. It is an unlikely proposition, but a time trial stage is the next direction this event needs to go. It would be a great stage for fans who can line the course in one spot and see every rider go past them across a couple of hours. It may also help attract a different sort of rider to the race. Good food for thought.

2. How good is July!? Seriously. Sleep is for the weak when this time of year rolls around. Wimbledon has kicked off and despite the Australian contingent being unlikely to do anything particularly successful, there is still the calibre of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer to cheer on and admire. Their return to the top echelon of world tennis is up there with the top sporting stories of the year.

Meanwhile the Tour de France has also got underway and will feature on our screens every night over the next three weeks. Richie Porte is a big chance for the yellow jersey if a bit of luck goes his way. While you would tune in for the scenery alone if cycling is not your thing.

3. 21,000 at the Adelaide Oval for the NRL game between Sydney and Melbourne two weekends ago can be labelled a huge success. It looked slim pickings early on, but the crowd streamed in not long after kick off time. Those who came were treated to a great game of rugby league, even if a few key stars were missing. This event has done enough to be a regular on the NRL calendar, but perhaps outside of Origin season. It also again shows how Adelaide are desperately needing that second inner-city stadium that could be used for rugby and soccer.

The Thought
There is absolutely no need for a send off rule in the AFL. Incidents that require that sort of attention are very rare and the last thing the game needs is another interpretation in the hands of the umpires. Leave the game alone.

The Question
Netball just does not know how to get the basics right. Announcing a Diamonds squad should be an event. So why was a press release outlining the team released at 6am in the morning?

Well Played

Wednesday Whinge
Prior to the recent SA Labor Party Budget, From The Grandstand outlined five key spends that would boost sport in South Australia, as well as help the economy, tourism and the jobs crisis gripping this state. It is fair to say that sport was certainly an afterthought in this particular Budget.

An $4.5 million dollar initial upgrade to Priceline Stadium got the go ahead, which means any thoughts of an inner-city multi-purpose stadium are a long way off. This is disappointing, because it is a no brainer on so many levels.

Also making the cut was a Female Facilities Fund, which expands on idea of attempting to get more women involved in sport and providing appropriate facilities. There was also $1 million dollars towards athletes participating in upcoming major events including the Olympic and Commonwealth Games.

There was and still is plenty more to be done. Where are we at with a Commonwealth Games bid? When are our netball, basketball and soccer players, who have done the hard yards going to get stadiums that their sports and fans of these sports deserve?

The SA Liberal Party meantime has got very little policies period and so it remains to be seen what they will do in the sporting world for the state should they win the next election.

Picture – nrl.com.au