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Are the Crows at home at the Adelaide Oval?

The first Showdown at the Adelaide Oval, in round two.

The first Showdown at the Adelaide Oval, in round two. Photo: Getty Images

The ambitious or desperate tipster might be tempted to take on the underperforming Crows on Thursday night against Collingwood in Adelaide. After all, Collingwood has lost its ''home-ground advantage'' for the round-nine clash. 

Before last year’s 35-point loss to the resurgent Port Adelaide, the Pies had won eight straight matches at AAMI Stadium, the former South Australian AFL venue, against the Power and the Crows. Their previous loss to Adelaide at the venue was in 2006, by four points. Their previous loss there to Port Adelaide was in 2004.

The Magpies, road warriors under coach Mick Malthouse, loved playing at AAMI Stadium, winning 12 games there, including two finals. Their seven losses at the venue came mostly at the start of the Malthouse era, when the Pies were climbing from the bottom of the ladder.

But Thursday night’s game is at the spiffy, newly refurbished Adelaide Oval, a clean slate for the Crows, who had more success beating Collingwood in Melbourne than at Football Park/AAMI Stadium in the past decade.

Surely the Crows can fire up before a sellout home crowd, and create a hostile environment for the Magpies?

Alas, so far, it is Port Adelaide that has made the Adelaide Oval its home-ground fortress. Veteran South Australian football scribe Ashley Porter says 20,000 Port Adelaide fans make the sound of 50,000 Crows fans at the venue. 

In round two, Port Adelaide fans turned the first Adelaide Oval Showdown into an ecstatic Power party. It is unbeaten there this season, having won with margins of 54 points and 113 points. It soundly dealt with top-four contenders Geelong and Fremantle in front of relentlessly noisy crowds. 

Crows fans love the venue just as much. All three Adelaide crowds at the redeveloped Adelaide Oval have exceeded their biggest home-game crowds of last year, and they have already matched their 2013 record of three home attendances over 40,000. They drew an incredible 44,770 to their clash with the unloved Greater Western Sydney in round five.

But the results of their team at the venue are underwhelming. They were hammered by Port Adelaide, smashed by a winless Sydney, and embarrassed by lowly Melbourne. Adelaide’s sole win at the Adelaide Oval was over an ailing GWS.

Porter says visiting teams will notice the ''wall of sound'' coming from Port fans, especially at the southern grandstand end. The level of the playing surface was dropped by a metre in the redevelopment, and the expertly engineered three-tier stand creates an amphitheatre effect which intensifies the noise made by passionate, vocal Power fans. Porter says Port Adelaide’s crowd sounds ''10 times better'' at the Adelaide Oval than at AAMI Stadium. Crows crowds sound a little better.

In the face of Port Adelaide’s revitalisation, there is pressure on Adelaide to reinvent itself. Port is being embraced by more families, and raucous youngsters, as well as its infamously ''feral'' core constituency. It presents its games better, offering a more exciting game-day experience and more dynamic on-field entertainment. It is nearly level with Adelaide on memberships sold.

Adelaide has many older fans, who were originally reluctant to leave AAMI Stadium. Despite the drawbacks of the distant, windswept West Lakes arena, some were set in their ways, accustomed to having barbeques in its car park. And the club is still reeling following the Kurt Tippett salary cap saga, which cost draft picks and self-confidence.

There are no excuses for the Crows at ground level. The new Adelaide Oval is 167 x 124 metres, only a small change from AAMI Stadium’s 165 x 135 metres. The Melbourne Cricket Ground is 160 x 141 metres, and Eithad Stadium is 159.5 x 128.8 metres. Port makes it look like a fast track, perfect for flowing, play-on footy; Adelaide and Melbourne made it look like a quicksand pit.

The redevelopment of the iconic venue, which retained the heritage scoreboard, a lawned hill, Moreton Bay fig trees and views of surrounding parkland, has been acclaimed for mixing state-of-the-art design with the beloved scenic character of the former stadium.

Spectators’ vantage points are 14 metres closer to the ground in the first tier of the eastern stand than in the northern stand at the MCG. There are video screens everywhere, wide walkways for ease of crowd circulation, no patron is more than 40 metres from catering, and a new footbridge linking the venue to the nearby city centre. Port fans march across it en masse from the city centre, banging drums. Claims about the financial benefit to the city of Adelaide extend into silly numbers.

But is this superb stadium worth a few goals for the Crows? Will the umps give odd frees late in the final quarter? Will opposition players make silly mistakes in unfamiliar pockets?

The mystique of home-ground advantage is diminished in the modern era. Many teams share grounds, there are fewer stadiums, and they are more alike than ever before. The biggest fillip a team can get is the simple volume of support of its fans, wherever they are.

In football, everything flows from wins. Wins flow from stable, progressive leadership. 

Port is well run, and is winning. Fans are gravitating to the team, and making the Adelaide Oval a tough place to win for visitors.

Until Adelaide starts winning, to give its legions of fans something to scream about, they won’t know if they are truly at home. And if the Magpies continue their travelling ways, they won’t want to feel at home, regardless of the venue.

4 comments so far

  • "Porter says Port Adelaide’s crowd sounds ''10 times better'' at the Adelaide Oval than at AAMI Stadium" That's because they're getting a full stadium. I'm sure the noise at a packed Adelaide Oval sounds a bucket load better than at AAMI stadium with a crowd in the low 20,000s, plus tarps.

    Port Adelaide, the biggest fair weather supporters around. When they start having a dip in form the crowds will dip a long way too.

    Commenter
    Joe
    Location
    my work desk
    Date and time
    May 14, 2014, 3:59PM
    • Joe, you might have to wait 10 years for your predicted "dip in form".
      You haven't taken into account the fact that the Power list is the 3rd youngest in the AFL.

      Commenter
      Greg
      Date and time
      May 14, 2014, 6:29PM
  • Even at AAMI, 20,000 Port fans were louder than 50,000 Crows fans. Crows supporters just don't know how to support their team. They need a big screen to tell them when to cheer, otherwise they're quiet as a mouse except for the constant yelling of "baaaalllll". Then they leave during the game. I was in town during the Crows v Sydney game and saw Crows "supporters" walking down Rundle Mall, this would have been the 3rd quarter. And when Crows were just 3 points down against Melbourne they still walk out. Knock Port crowds last year, the 14,000 that went stayed the whole game.

    Port's game day experience this year is also brilliant. The march to the mall, the entry of "Not giving in" (which Crows copied last game), Never Tear Us Apart for the 1 minute countdown to bounce. Love it all.

    Commenter
    Jed
    Date and time
    May 14, 2014, 10:30PM
    • It is just about as noisy here now as it is during a Crows home game. I think the comments from Mr Porter show his bias against Port Adelaide yet again. Port Adelaide has never had a 20,000 crowd at the redeveloped Adelaide Oval for his comment to have any validity.

      The remainder of the article was well written and interesting. I also agree with Joe about the age of the list at Port Adelaide. It has the potential for high level results for many years to come. The same cannot be said for the ageing Crows list with their loss of draft picks for cheating starting to bite about now.

      Commenter
      Ian
      Location
      Centre Square, Adelaide Oval
      Date and time
      May 15, 2014, 3:03AM

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      AFL 2015

      Round 1
      Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
      CAR 78vs RIC 105 Report Stats
      Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
      MEL 115vs GCF 89 Stats
      SYD 72vs ESS 60 Stats
      BRI 74vs COL 86 Stats
      WBU 97vs WCE 87 Stats
      Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
      STK 78vs GWS 87 Stats
      ADE 140vs NTH 63 Stats
      FRE 75vs PTA 68 Stats
      Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
      HAW 123vs GEE 61 Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 2
      Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
      WCE 131vs CAR 62 Stats
      Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
      RIC 66vs WBU 85 Report Stats
      GWS 101vs MEL 56 Stats
      COL 63vs ADE 90 Report Stats
      GCF 76vs STK 104 Stats
      PTA 44vs SYD 92 Stats
      Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
      GEE 60vs FRE 104 Stats
      ESS 78vs HAW 76 Stats
      NTH 133vs BRI 51 Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 3
      Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
      COL 140vs STK 66 Stats
      Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
      CAR 84vs ESS 105 Stats
      ADE 80vs MEL 55 Stats
      SYD 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
      NTH 105vs PTA 113 Stats
      BRI 58vs RIC 137 Stats
      Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
      HAW 127vs WBU 57 Stats
      GEE 105vs GCF 96 Stats
      WCE 81vs FRE 111 Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 4
      Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
      RIC 51vs MEL 83 Stats
      Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
      STK 81vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
      ESS 49vs COL 69 Report Stats
      GWS 119vs GCF 53 Stats
      PTA 99vs HAW 91 Stats
      FRE 74vs SYD 60 Stats
      Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
      BRI 65vs WCE 118 Stats
      GEE 67vs NTH 83 Stats
      WBU 125vs ADE 68 Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 5
      Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
      CAR 45vs COL 120 Stats
      Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
      RIC 76vs GEE 85 Stats
      SYD 73vs WBU 77 Stats
      GCF 118vs BRI 54 Stats
      NTH 70vs HAW 130 Stats
      WCE 120vs GWS 33 Stats
      Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
      MEL 50vs FRE 118 Stats
      STK 80vs ESS 82 Stats
      ADE 91vs PTA 115 Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 6
      Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
      COL 59vs GEE 100 Stats
      Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
      NTH 109vs RIC 74 Stats
      WBU 87vs STK 94 Stats
      GWS 108vs HAW 98 Stats
      GCF 78vs ADE 119 Stats
      MEL 50vs SYD 88 Stats
      FRE 80vs ESS 52 Stats
      Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
      CAR 75vs BRI 84 Report Stats
      PTA 68vs WCE 78 Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 7
      Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
      ESS 82vs NTH 93 Stats
      Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
      ADE 119vs STK 73 Stats
      HAW 155vs MEL 50 Stats
      CAR 57vs GWS 135 Stats
      SYD 120vs GEE 77 Stats
      WCE 135vs GCF 43 Stats
      Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
      WBU 88vs FRE 101 Stats
      RIC 105vs COL 100 Report Stats
      BRI 102vs PTA 65 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 8
      Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
      GEE 140vs CAR 63 Report Stats
      Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
      STK 78vs WCE 131 Report Stats
      GWS 108vs ADE 84 Report Stats
      GCF 63vs COL 132 Report Stats
      HAW 69vs SYD 73 Report Stats
      FRE 115vs NTH 42 Report Stats
      Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
      ESS 136vs BRI 78 Report Stats
      MEL 103vs WBU 64 Report Stats
      PTA 43vs RIC 76 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 9
      Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
      SYD 122vs CAR 62 Report Stats
      Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
      HAW 93vs GCF 40 Report Stats
      MEL 54vs PTA 115 Report Stats
      WBU 113vs GWS 68 Report Stats
      RIC 72vs ESS 59 Report Stats
      ADE 57vs FRE 68 Report Stats
      Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
      BRI 86vs STK 108 Report Stats
      COL 112vs NTH 95 Report Stats
      WCE 120vs GEE 64 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 10
      Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
      FRE 70vs RIC 97 Report Stats
      Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
      CAR 90vs ADE 99 Report Stats
      GCF 41vs SYD 93 Report Stats
      ESS 53vs GEE 122 Report Stats
      PTA 100vs WBU 62 Report Stats
      Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
      GWS 97vs BRI 67 Report Stats
      NTH 85vs WCE 75 Report Stats
      STK 69vs HAW 132 Report Stats
      Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
      MEL 85vs COL 110 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 11
      Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
      PTA 69vs GEE 92 Report Stats
      Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
      GCF 46vs FRE 53 Report Stats
      WCE 96vs ESS 46 Report Stats
      NTH 75vs SYD 91 Report Report Stats
      Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
      COL 119vs GWS 77 Report Stats
      STK 85vs MEL 83 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 12
      Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
      ADE 85vs HAW 114 Report Stats
      Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
      RIC 70vs WCE 90 Report Stats
      Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
      CAR 110vs PTA 106 Report Stats
      GWS 61vs NTH 117 Report Stats
      WBU 146vs BRI 74 Report Stats
      Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
      GEE 89vs MEL 113 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 13
      Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
      FRE 80vs COL 73 Report Stats
      Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
      SYD 77vs RIC 95 Report Stats
      Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
      HAW 114vs ESS 76 Report Stats
      BRI 69vs ADE 82 Report Stats
      STK 56vs WBU 62 Report Stats
      Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
      CAR 103vs GCF 69 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 14
      Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
      SYD 94vs PTA 84 Report Stats
      Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
      COL 91vs HAW 101 Report Stats
      Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
      RIC 78vs GWS 69 Report Stats
      GCF 125vs NTH 70 Report Stats
      WBU 64vs CAR 53 Report Stats
      MEL 60vs WCE 114 Report Stats
      Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
      ESS 52vs STK 162 Stats
      ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
      FRE 84vs BRI 48 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 15
      Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
      PTA 66vs COL 63 Report Stats
      Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
      RIC 71vs CAR 41 Report Stats
      Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
      ESS 69vs MEL 60 Report Stats
      WBU 95vs GCF 73 Report Stats
      NTH 120vs GEE 79 Report Stats
      WCE 147vs ADE 91 Report Stats
      Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
      GWS 84vs STK 49 Report Stats
      HAW 115vs FRE 43 Report Stats
      BRI 49vs SYD 70 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 16
      Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
      NTH 93vs ESS 68 Report Stats
      Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
      GEE 72vs WBU 64 Report Stats
      GCF 79vs GWS 94 Report Stats
      COL 56vs WCE 87 Report Stats
      SYD 57vs HAW 146 Report Stats
      FRE 95vs CAR 53 Report Stats
      Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
      MEL 60vs BRI 36 Report Stats
      PTA 113vs ADE 116 Report Stats
      STK 73vs RIC 89 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 17
      Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
      CAR 35vs HAW 173 Report Stats
      Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
      GWS 42vs GEE 69 Stats
      ADE 125vs GCF 80 Stats
      RIC 78vs FRE 82 Stats
      ESS 116vs PTA 129 Stats
      BRI 38vs NTH 110 Report Stats
      Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
      WBU 104vs COL 86 Report Stats
      MEL 46vs STK 83 Report Stats
      WCE 103vs SYD 51 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 18
      Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
      HAW 53vs RIC 71 Report Stats
      Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
      GEE 113vs BRI 57 Stats
      COL 54vs MEL 91 Report Stats
      SYD 117vs ADE 65 Report Stats
      CAR 54vs NTH 118 Report Stats
      GCF 83vs WCE 83 Report Stats
      Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
      PTA 112vs STK 49 Report Stats
      ESS 40vs WBU 127 Report Stats
      FRE 84vs GWS 63 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 19
      Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
      ADE 88vs RIC 52 Report Stats
      Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
      COL 105vs CAR 87 Report Stats
      WBU 128vs PTA 64 Report Stats
      BRI 100vs GCF 114 Report Stats
      GEE 95vs SYD 63 Report Stats
      WCE 74vs HAW 88 Report Stats
      Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
      MEL 92vs NTH 127 Report Stats
      GWS 93vs ESS 61 Report Stats
      STK 59vs FRE 96 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 20
      Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
      SYD 87vs COL 76 Report Stats
      Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
      ESS 59vs ADE 171 Report Stats
      NTH 120vs STK 83 Report Stats
      PTA 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
      GEE 85vs HAW 121 Report Stats
      BRI 131vs CAR 67 Report Stats
      Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
      RIC 138vs GCF 55 Report Stats
      WBU 153vs MEL 55 Report Stats
      FRE 80vs WCE 104 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 21
      Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
      HAW 86vs PTA 108 Report Stats
      Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
      COL 56vs RIC 147 Report Stats
      GWS 44vs SYD 133 Report Stats
      GCF 97vs ESS 95 Report Stats
      STK 97vs GEE 97 Report Stats
      ADE 131vs BRI 44 Report Stats
      Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
      NTH 94vs FRE 83 Report Stats
      CAR 78vs MEL 55 Report Stats
      WCE 162vs WBU 85 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 22
      Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
      GEE 62vs COL 110 Report Stats
      Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
      GWS 108vs CAR 51 LIVE Stats
      HAW 95vs BRI 56 LIVE Stats
      NTH ($1.67)vs WBU ($2.25) 16:35ES
      ESS ($6.75)vs RIC ($1.12) 19:20MCG
      GCF ($3.30)vs PTA ($1.35) 19:20MS
      Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
      ADE ($2.05)vs WCE ($1.80) 13:10Adelaide Oval
      STK ($4.50)vs SYD ($1.22) 15:20ES
      FRE ($1.08)vs MEL ($8.50) 16:40Domain Stadium
      View All Fixtures
      Round 23
      Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
      RIC vs NTH 19:50ES
      Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
      GEE ($2.00)vs ADE ($1.75) 13:05SS
      BRI vs WBU 13:45G
      PTA ($1.75)vs FRE ($2.00) 15:50Adelaide Oval
      HAW vs CAR 16:40MCG
      SYD ($1.02)vs GCF ($12.00) 19:20SCG
      WCE ($1.11)vs STK ($6.25) 19:40Domain Stadium
      Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
      MEL vs GWS 13:10ES
      COL vs ESS 15:20MCG
      View All Fixtures
      AFL 2015
      Overall standings
      Team P W L D % Pts
      Fremantle 20 16 4 0 122.19 64
      West Coast Eagles 20 15 4 1 150.85 62
      Hawthorn 20 14 6 0 154.20 56
      Sydney Swans 20 14 6 0 118.16 56
      Richmond 20 13 7 0 120.22 52
      Western Bulldogs 20 13 7 0 116.09 52
      North Melbourne 20 13 7 0 110.91 52
      Adelaide Crows 19 12 7 0 116.41 50
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