The Adelaide Crows have had a season to forget so far in 2020.
When I was too young to know any better I tried long distance dating. Unfortunately it turned out the other person in the equation was close distance dating the bartender at his local pub.
Ever since then I’ve avoided anything of a distance that is too long.
So it was with great trepidation that I conducted an interview over a long distance with Adelaide Crows members Carmel and Bunji. The exchange involved emails and Messenger conversations but fortunately no creative payments of bar tabs.
I did, however, get one alcohol-related story. Apparently Bunji couldn’t even watch last year’s grand final because his head kept getting drenched with beer every time a “feral” Richmond supporter walked past. He smelled liked a brewery by the end of the match. I suspect the more he smelled of beer the more Richmond supporters were drawn to him – like bubbles to fermentation.
Bunji is Carmel’s hearing assistance dog, by the way. He attends the matches with her and feels qualified to answer the questions too. I can’t confirm the veracity of his contribution, but Carmel insists that he chimed in.
Carmel has been a Crows supporter since 1996. Prior to this she supported both the Eagles and Dockers – having lived in Western Australia most her life – but her heart wasn’t really in it. It was actually a footy tipping competition, where she had to nominate the team she supported, that forced her to properly consider her options, and she settled on Adelaide as it was her birthplace.
She was all-in by the next year when she signed up as an official member. She became a ticketholder two years prior to moving to Adelaide (serious dedication!) and has held her seat for about ten years now.
Carmel thinks Crows supporters are passionate but certainly aren’t the “type to start a riot after the game”. This seems to align with a comment made by ‘Gyfox’ on a previous article of mine that Adelaide has a chardonnay mafia just like West Coast. I guess this means they show their passion through the terse sips they take from their crystal glassware. Watch out if one of them forgets to swirl and sniff before sipping; it’s on then.
Carmel does say something about “more refined” supporters, but I ignore that because there’s no refinement when it comes to cheering for one’s team.
She certainly loves being a Crows supporter.
She brags about how loyal Crows supporters are. “We still get more people to a game when it’s freezing cold, raining and we’re at the bottom of the ladder than Port can get even when they give away tickets,” she said.
She describes the ‘Eddie chant’ in a way that makes me jealous that the Dockers don’t have something similar. When Michael Walters returns from injury, I’m going to try out a ‘Sonny chant’.
There are two occasions during this interview where Bunji thinks I’m as thick as Nat Fyfe’s thighs. The first is when I ignorantly ask who Carmel’s all-time favourite player is, not realising Andrew McLeod’s nickname is Bunji. The second is when I call the Adelaide vs Port Adelaide match ‘the derby’ instead of the showdown. Bunji tells me I’m not very good at doing my job.
Speaking of the showdown, Carmel had little to say about the Round 8 result. Apparently the ladder position is all that matters and she’ll wait to “see which fans are still happy come September”.
Bunji butts in to describe Port Adelaide players as a bit like the dodgy relative who only appears on Christmas Day without a plate of food to share. Everyone tolerates them but are secretly hoping that “next year they don’t show up”.
Nothing makes Carmel smile more than beating Victorian teams anyway. There’s great satisfaction in “sending them back across the border winless” with their “greater than thou attitude” shredded.
Unfortunately there was no satisfaction to be had for Adelaide supporters in last year’s grand final. The loss didn’t deter Carmel from wearing her colours with pride the next day, because she is a true supporter who “sticks with [her] team through the good and bad”.
She does have a little gripe about the grand final, though.
“It didn’t matter what sort of noise we tried to make, the Richmond supporters, in far greater numbers due to the location, could just drown us out,” she said. “It was completely deflating for Crows supporters to not be able to let the players know we were there and supporting them.
“No team should have such a home ground advantage for the grand final.”
I kind of agree with her, but I’m not sure there’s a solution. For any sassy Victorian readers, getting rid of non-Victorian teams and turning the AFL back into the VFL is not a solution. You’d all miss the cross-country gibes anyway.
The 2017 grand final loss was a low point, but Carmel’s all-time high was being in the crowd to watch the Crows beat the Eagles at home by eight points in the last round of the 2005 season.
That season Adelaide had won ten on the trot to move into second position on the ladder just behind West Coast. It was a tough ask for the Crows, but they played an “absolute ripper” and Carmel was there to witness it, all decked out in her Crows colours in the midst of roughly 40,000 Eagles members.
“I am a pretty reserved supporter overall but that one had me on my feet when the siren went,” she said.
It seems it’s only in interviews that her less reserved, more snarky side comes out. Or perhaps that’s Bunji’s influence.
As always, I have to ask a silly question, and this time it’s to find out which Adelaide Crows player she’d kick out of bed for farting. She goes with Brett Burton, the Birdman. She has a suspicion that underneath his happy-go-lucky demeanour he’d have a brilliant ‘silent but deadly’.
We wrap up with her thoughts on Adelaide’s performance so far this season. She thinks they’re going okay despite a couple of less-than-ordinary games.
I admit that I haven’t followed the Crows closely this year and all I’ve really noticed is Tex’s moustache-less face. I find the new look disconcerting.
Bunji joins in one last time to finish the interview with his season prediction.
“I would like to say with confidence that we will go one better than last year. Based on our current form and that of other teams, I don’t know that will be the case.”
I guess a dog can dream, can’t they?