Kurt aims to create new Adelaide Crows MCG memoriesAdelaide Crows Kurt Tippett still remembers the emotional rollercoaster of Adelaide’s most-recent final at the MCG in 2009.
After belting Essendon by a Club record (finals) margin of 96 points in the Elimination Final, the Adelaide Crows ventured to the ‘G’ to play Collingwood in a Saturday night Semi-Final.
Adelaide got the jump on the Magpies, kicking six goals-to-one in the first term to lead by 29 points at quarter time. But the Pies slammed on eight of the next nine goals to hold a 10-point lead at the final change.
Tippett, who had kicked one goal from only a handful of possessions to three-quarter time, inspired the Crows revival in the last term. He kicked two majors as the teams went goal-for-goal.
His third shot at goal for the quarter was crucial. With almost 28 minutes gone on the clock and Adelaide Crows trailing by five points, the key forward was awarded a free-kick after being held by Collingwood full-back Simon Prestigiacomo.
Tippett set sail from a tight angle outside50m and lent back and watched as South Australia held its collective breath.
The ball cleared the goal line. Tippett threw his arms in the air. And Adelaide was destined for a Preliminary Final - or so it seemed.
“I remember we got off to a great start. We were feeling good about ourselves and then after quarter-time Collingwood just kept coming at us,” Tippett told afc.com.au.
“I remember saying to myself at the start of the last quarter, ‘just stay in the game. You’re going to need to do something here’.
“With the last one, I just wanted the ball in my hands. It was a free-kick out at the 50m arc. I just knew I had no other option but to have a shot and put it through. I didn’t think too much about it.”
What happened next was one of the most painful memories in Adelaide Crows finals history.With less than a minute of game time remaining, Magpie forward John Anthony was awarded a free-kick inside Collingwood’s attacking 50m. His shot went straight through the middle and as quickly as Tippett had put the Crows in front, the Pies had snatched back the lead.
Patrick Dangerfield cleared the ball from the centre at the restart, but it was too late - the Crows had lost by five points.
“We didn’t know exactly how long was left on the clock after my goal,” Tippett said.
“We knew it wasn’t long, so we tried to hang on, but it turned to despair pretty quickly. It’s something you’re constantly reminded of.
“The guys that played that night still feel the hurt, and we’re looking to make amends for it.”
Tippett is one of 11 Adelaide players (Scott Thompson, Bernie Vince, David Mackay, Graham Johncock, Michael Doughty, Andy Otten, Patrick Dangerfield, Jason Porplyzia, Brent Reilly and Ben Rutten) from that game, who will line-up against Hawthorn at the MCG on Saturday.
That match was Tippett’s second final, having made his September debut in the Elimination Final loss to Collingwood at AAMI Stadium the year prior (2008). He’s now played in five finals, including the gutsy Semi-Final win over Fremantle last weekend.
He said tough seasons for the Club in 2010-11 had given those 11 players - and those involved with Adelaide at the time - a greater appreciation for finals football.
“We played finals in each of my first four years at the Club,” he said.
“So, you think you’ll play finals every year and that the chances to win a premiership will just keep coming, but they don’t.
“You definitely appreciate the opportunity to play finals, and just winning games more going through what we have the past two seasons. You don’t take it for granted anymore.”
And they won’t be content with just reaching a Preliminary Final.