Debby Palti, long-term Carlton fan and AFLFA committee member, recounts her trip to Adelaide to watch Carlton's two teams play. Both come up short on the day. But no matter.
When the catalyst moment that I realised that Carlton’s AFLW side had made it into the Grand Final earlier this year, it was an exciting moment because it was the same weekend that Carlton’s men’s side would be playing Port Adelaide. So, on Saturday it was the AFLW Grand Final and Sunday the AFL match. Two games, one weekend. Luckily, I had organised my flights so that I would have a weekend in Adelaide. Flying in on a Friday and out on Sunday night.
The day of the AFLW Grand Final was a buzz. The atmosphere within the Carlton Cheer Squad members who had travelled to Adelaide was electric! We got to the ground early as we always do to get the banner ready and put the flags and floggers in our allotted bay. We were on the ground ready with the banner ready for the girls to come out. The pre-entertainment was fantastic as it should be, but it was the electricity of the crowd that really made us feel excited, because we could not believe that this team had made it to a Grand Final given that it got the Wooden Spoon last year.
When the girls came through the banner and we packed it up and headed to our seats, we were so thrilled to be a part of this electric crowd of 53,000! The match was unfortunately one-sided, but we had such a great time. The ground facilities were not bad, food and drinks were expensive. We didn’t get the win, but as we walked around on the ground after the match taking our flags and floggers back to the race, we got applause and cheers from the very one-sided Adelaide crowd, congratulating us for getting to the Grand Final. A real show of what great sportsmanship really can be.
The next day was the AFL Port Adelaide match. It was a bit colder and it rained. The crowd was not nearly as many as the AFLW match. The game itself was great to watch even though we lost by 16 points. But what was significant was the attitude of security at this game. We have in the past been harassed by opposition supporters in an area where alcohol fuels this. We have been critical in the way that the security have handled this, and it has in the past spoilt our experience. Not this time. We had a security guy who introduced himself to us and said that he was here for us. He was informative, accommodating and loved our banter and cheers. At one time a few alcohol fuelled opposition supporters became abusive. Within seconds this security guy stood up, pointed out the two to other security guys and they were removed. After the game we thanked him and said that we appreciated him being there. He replied that it was his pleasure and that we were a great bunch of supporters.
I left Adelaide that night exhausted but having had a great time even if none of the results was what we had hoped for. Adelaide Oval has done quite a few good things in terms of fan experience. The security was great when in the past it wasn’t so, and their attitude was fantastic. If they could just work on their costs of food and drinks, then maybe it could be one of the best.
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