Sport AFL Adelaide Crows show true strength in adversity

Adelaide Crows show true strength in adversity

Taylor Walker
Taylor Walker has expressed disgust over the incident. Photo: AAP Photo: AAP
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When people start talking about destiny my natural reaction is to roll my eyeballs, stifle a yawn and start formulating an exit plan – discussions on the healing powers of crystal have the same effect.

So it’s strange that this season I put aside all my natural instincts and genuinely started to believe in destiny.

This seemed impossible in July.

The death of Phil Walsh changed everything. It put football in its place and reminded us of far more important things.

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This family tragedy was felt around the nation.

In Adelaide it hit particularly hard.

The toll on this supporter shows after Friday night's loss to Hawthorn. Photo: Getty
The toll on this supporter shows after Friday night’s loss to Hawthorn. Photo: Getty

Back to football, no one knew how it would affect the players. And no one expected them to play finals.

They rightly won accolades, and respect, for turning up and playing just eight days after Walsh’s death.

It all seemed so improbable walking into the MCG, just two months later, emboldened by a sense of destiny – walking tall, glowing with pride and imbued with quiet confidence.

The pulsating win over the Bulldogs that night fuelled the sense of destiny about Adelaide’s season.

It was a modern day classic. I smiled, danced and laughed my way through the week.

I waxed lyrical about the importance of a small, predatory and dangerous forward to my two-and-a-half-year old son.

The feeling of something special brewing was contagious.

As fans we sign up for the ride. We start the season fully aware of the exhausting rollercoaster that awaits us.

We know we will win some matches we should have lost – we know we will lose some matches we should have won – we will shout ourselves hoarse celebrating and berate holding the ball decisions (and non-decisions).

We will gloat and some weeks we will be very quiet.

This kind of devotion is intense – but when you add a sense of destiny everything is amplified.

The emotional volume dial gets turned to 11.


It was clear by quarter-time against Hawthorn that Adelaide’s heart-rending season was over.

Resigned to this fact I drew in every last breath of 2015: Hawthorn’s immense pressure, the inability of the Crows to get their hands on the ball and Dangerfield’s miraculous snap from the boundary line.

As painful as it was, I had to see it through, this year more than any other.

Hashtags can be trite and meaningless but “we fly as one” summed it up beautifully – never before had I felt so connected to my tribe.

Has Patrick Dangerfield played his last game for Adelaide? Photo: Getty
Has Patrick Dangerfield played his last game for Adelaide? Photo: Getty

Crows coach Scott Camporeale was right. It could have gone either way after the heavy loss to West Coast in round 15.

Somehow the Crows mustered the strength to win six of their last nine home and away games to book a finals berth.

Perhaps we started to believe it was destiny because it helped in some way to comprehend the loss of Walsh.

Believing in destiny was our way of healing while honouring the man who started it all.

Only now that it’s over can we exhale and appreciate the immensity of what the Adelaide Football Club achieved this season.

And only now can the players grieve normally away from the bubble of football.

At the supporters’ after party on Friday night the band played April Sun in Cuba to lift the mood.

We all respond differently in situations like this.

Never one to miss an opportunity, I sought comfort in the warm arms of Tony Modra.

There was a sense of disappointment in the room. Of course there was. The Crows had just lost a semi-final and it was highly likely Dangerfield’s last game in our colours.

All talk of destiny had ceased. It stopped after the first quarter – but it had been replaced by something stronger and more real.


Looking back I’m glad I rode the destiny bandwagon, riding up front, clinging onto the reins, full gallop, fire in my eyes and in my belly – for a few wild weeks it made us feel so much better about life.

It swelled our hearts and brought us closer. It made us feel invincible.

Destiny may allow us to dream but it’s the players, through their strength, courage and resilience, who determine what is possible.


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