Adelaide. Once Australia's industrial capital. The hills and wineries on one side, on the other a working land, dry and hot. From this land has come an uncompromising survival instinct built into a football team. Win by thinking small. Freely admit you don't care about entertainment (see Friday's Courier Mail). The hard core fans come anyway. Small home ground, don't worry anything more than 10,000 makes you money. Grind them out. Be physical, recruit for tall and wide. Nothing fancy. 'Get working Karl' as Costanzo put it last night. Last night someone in the crowd shouted 'they're a pub side.'
For all our desire to be Dutch, it is the brute physical force of Adelaide that is the A-League's most successful club, into Asia.
The Roar on the other hand is all Dutch, to the boot-straps of its skillful new striker Van Dijk. And Brisbane is a crowded entertainment market with the Broncos still in full flight and the Lions playing their critical match of the season. Not somewhere that boring football can be tolerated.
Unfortunately, yesterday our Dutchness was pushed off the ball at every turn. The night before 10 yellow cards where handed out in a clean game - here Adelaide earned only 1. It was like watching the Roar of the first season - brutalised off the ball and then penalised for any retaliation. For Van Dijk it was to be one neat turn and shoot, one - it has to be said beautiful - flick to set-up Charlie Miller's goal. Two strikes low and hard next to the keeper on the left neither looked like going in (McKay also had a one-on-one with the keeper). But by the 80th he was done, out jumped, bullied and bruised by Adelaide, there wasn't much left. Even in the first half the much stronger Miller had to switch places with him in an effort to bring his skills into the game. He needs to 'get working' - bench pressing 200kgs. Like Reinaldo did.
In contrast, Reinaldo showed us what he could do as a right winger. Out running the sluggish Adelaide defence - even when they had a 10 metre head start. Before half time Frank Farina had made his mind to through Reinaldo and Zullo on, playing at home, perhaps he could hear his own words coming back at him (the 'booed off the park' jibe at Wellington the week before). From the get-go Reinaldo made the difference. And Miller was the best on the park and SUPER FIT thanks. Reinaldo needs to start with him next week. Perhaps Van Dijk will be a good surprise attack from half time when the defence has had its brutality knocked out of it?
The first 15 minutes of the second half was the Roar at its best. This juxtaposed with the classic misses of the first half - Van Dijk, Smits, McKay, and even Miller acknowledged the sitter he missed. The small crowd were talking about the curse of Land Park - my son pointed out 'we score up that end, we usually run that way first', he was soon right. By the late seventy minutes, something new happened, a large part of the Roar was 'done', not Miller, Tiatto or the injured Moore, but the work horses Murdocca (flu), McKay (seemed to hurt his arm badly) and particularly Van Dijk seemed to stop running. Tiatto pushed up field to try to force the issue.
But Adelaide had come looking for a draw. They played for that. Even when the Roar engine faulted they offered not much in attack.
Oh and one more thing we learned, Cristiano is diver. We don't need that type of Brazilian thanks. Having said that, the penalty was legitimate, just after that he got the idea that all he had to do was fall over. He earned himself a special place at Lang Park.
One more thing, the talking point could be whether Eugene Galekovic walked the ball out of the box - he had to turn and hold it in front of him - it looked out of the box to me. Which as Danny V of CCM knows is a straight red, but Eugene got away with it.