Oh sure, I could carry on about how good it is for my team to have won its first three games and be top of the ladder and have beaten Port Adelaide and all the other splendid things that have happened in the past 48 hours.
I could have a faux-lament about how hard it will be to squeeze in the likes of Brad Crouch (another lazy 40 possessions in the twos yesterday, by the way) and Troy Menzel (two goals) when this Crows team (which, did I mention, is undefeated on top of the ladder after beating Port?) has thus far nary an obvious weak link around the ground.
I could ponder the odds of having so many guys called Rory in a single team without one of them having to be the token Rory who doesn’t actually do anything other than keep the Rory quotient up.
I could also ponder why a guy who has 15 kicks, ten marks and four goals – and all of them at a time when we really, desperately needed someone to stand up and kick a damn goal – gets only two votes in the Showdown medal (but then I remember that Rory won it and am immediately mollified).
I could muse about how the headline on the AFL website’s match report enthused about the “Fast Crows” sealing the Showdown, a phrase that three years ago would have been an oxymoron, which says much for the recent recruitment strategy.
And speaking of oxymorons, there was also a moment of ‘Mackay magic’, when D-Mac snapped a miracle goal from one of the four Eddie Betts pockets – thus helpfully making up for the two he had previously given away through unfortunate turnovers.
Dmac channeling his inner Eddie with this goal in the second quarter 😮 #weflyasone pic.twitter.com/7Da17xD6gl
— Adelaide Crows (@Adelaide_FC) April 8, 2017
And speaking of Eddie Betts, I could, as usual, write about Eddie Betts just doing Eddie Betts things, but better.
I could write of a great many wonderful things, and still not find space to mention all the other wonderful things that deserve to be written of, like the growing stature of Andy Otten and Riley Knight – two guys who played a combined one game between them last year – or Kyle Hartigan, who started out a bit like Zac Dawson when he got towelled up by Jake Stringer in a hiding by the Bulldogs a couple of years back, but who can now expect to enjoy a career as long and successful as… well, Zac Dawson.
And I could write of a game whose ebb and flow and theatre easily justified its ludicrous build-up, of how our lead hit 27 halfway through the third, which my mate noted was “a handy lead halfway through the third”, and you just knew that was the moment from which they were going to start reeling it in. (To be fair, he was a bit distracted by the fact his Fremantle Dockers were concurrently holding off the reigning premiers for a famous victory, although that turned out to be only the third most surprising upset of the weekend).
I could ponder all of these things, but I won’t (even though I already sorta have).
Because (and here is the thing)…we can’t afford to get carried away here.
Let’s not forget 2005. And 2006. And ’07 and ’08, come to that. Oh, and 2009. And 2012. And last year.
We’ve been here before, people – has history taught us nothing? The last time we won our first three games we dropped the next two, and the only time we won our first four we didn’t even make the finals. So, y’know…
And anyway, for some reason when I think of Showdowns, I always think first of the ones we’ve lost.
Of which there are many.
There was that one where we’d been sitting back to enjoy our 20-point lead as the game wound down, before Port got a run on, and Monfries kicked a point before Satan intervened at the last second to turn it into a goal, and then Chad Wingard put the Power in front with a few seconds to go.
Losing that game was a bit like being a producer of the movie La La Land: one minute you think you’ve had a great win, and the next you realise that not only have you not actually won, but you’ll have to hear about how you didn’t win for the rest of your f*cking life.
After 20 years of these contests, there are also a bunch of which I have only a passing recollection, for one reason or another. Like the one I didn’t actually see BECAUSE SOME FRIENDS HAD SCHEDULED A WEDDING ON THE SAME DAY! (Who does this sort of thing? Why do I even have people like this in my life??) As it turned out though, they kinda did me a favour because Port ended up inflicting our sixth-straight loss to start the 2010 season.
But it was almost worse having to endure it via score updates checked with decreasingly-discreet frequency during the nuptials – particularly since it appeared every time I logged on to my phone for a match report (roughly every minute or two) Robbie Gray had just kicked another goal.
He ended up with five – which was a pretty big deal at the time even though it’s more or less par for the course these days – and Adelaide lost by 23.
On the plus side, I consoled myself with lots of free beer at the reception.
Then there was the very first Showdown, a game still talked of with hushed reverence, largely because there was a punch-up by two players in the opening minutes (as opposed to by several supporters in the dying minutes, as is more the style these days).
But while it promised the dawn of a ‘Good vs Evil’ battle to rival Star Wars, Showdown 1 was more like The Phantom Menace – much hyped, but ultimately crap and quite an annoying way to kick off a really good series.
On the other hand, we won the flag that year, which is a fair vindication of Malcolm Blight’s storied post-match address in which he emphasised that the Showdown was just one home and away game, of which there were 18 remaining for the season.
So it’s possible, in fact, that Showdown 1 actually had more of an ‘Empire Strikes Back’ kinda vibe; sure, the bad guys won, but it was the loss we had to have to secure the ultimate victory in Return Of The Jedi.
In any case, besides marking the 20th anniversary of the Crows-Port rivalry, Saturday’s win also reaffirmed that the match-up remains a perpetual and intriguing tug-of-war.
After four years of Showdowns, the ledger was level at four apiece.
Then Port went on that bloody rampage of winning every goddamn local derby by eight points and by the early 2000s they had left us in their wake at 10-4. Once – just once – in the years since did we manage to draw level again, in 2008, before they skipped off on another winning spree, leaving the Crows to play catch-up for another decade.
So, to cut a long, long story short – this is only the second time since 2000 that we have drawn level with Port on the all-important “Number of Showdowns won” ledger.
We’ve never been more than one win ahead of them on said ledger, and the last time we were was back at the turn of the century, after Mark Ricciuto largely single-handedly hauled back a 42-point third-term deficit (back in the days when a 42-point deficit was considered a significant obstacle) to see the Crows win by seven.
In other words, whatever else we might achieve this year, in round 20 we have the chance to do something we haven’t done for 17 years – and go one-up on Port.
Of course, by that point we’ll hopefully be preparing to launch a finals assault and be more focused on not stupidly dropping our last home-and-away game to West Coast and blowing our entire season to worry too much about something as petty as a confected cross-town rivalry.
Touch of the Fumbles is InDaily’s weekly AFL column, published each Monday during the AFL season. Yes, it’s shamelessly biased. Even up the score in the comments section below.Jump to next article