In­va­sion of the Crows, now for MCG vic­tory

The Advertiser - - NEWS - REECE HOMFRAY ANTIMO IANNELLA MEL­BOURNE

ADE­LAIDE is rid­ing a wave of sup­port from its army of fans as it tries to break a 19-year pre­mier­ship drought.

An es­ti­mated record crowd of 140,000 peo­ple lined the city streets of Mel­bourne yes­ter­day for the pop­u­lar Grand Fi­nal pa­rade and while Rich­mond holds the home ground ad­van­tage, Crows sup­port­ers made their pres­ence felt.

Star for­wards Ed­die Betts and Tom Lynch were joined by their chil­dren in the back of their utes for the mo­tor­cade pa­rade.

“We cre­ated this op­por­tu­nity so you em­brace it,” Ade­laide cap­tain Tay­lor Walker said.

“We’ve got prob­a­bly the most pas­sion­ate and loyal fans in the com­pe­ti­tion and they’ve come over from Ade­laide so it’s very ex­cit­ing.

Coach Don Pyke be­lieves the crowd won’t be as onesided as those which Rich­mond and Ade­laide have both en­joyed in their first two fi­nals.

“It’s pretty clear we’re go­ing to have a fair amount of crowd sup­port our­selves, there’s nearly 20,000 Crows mem­bers who are com­ing over plus oth­ers,” Pyke said.

“So I ex­pect it will be more a typ­i­cal grand fi­nal crowd which will be less one-sided than maybe Rich­mond have had in the two fi­nals to date and we’ve had at our ground.

“Both sides will be want­ing a good start and bring some en­ergy early but also the ca­pac­ity to set­tle and start play- ing the game, be­cause some­times you can get over-hyped, so we’ll make sure we find that blend and balance.”

Crows fans Jess Schur­gott, 30, and part­ner Chris Tilley, 32, drove to Mel­bourne yes­ter­day morn­ing for the grand fi­nal, without grand fi­nal tick­ets.

The Ed­ward­stown cou­ple, who were in the front row for the pa­rade and have not given up hope of get­ting into the MCG for to­day’s big clash.

“We de­cided to come any­way and try and win tick­ets and see if we can do some­thing when we get here,” said Ms Schur­gott, who’s been a Crows sil­ver mem­ber for more than a decade.

“The pa­rade was awesome, the hype and at­mos­phere was amaz­ing, it re­ally made us want to be at the game even more .

“We’ve been to ev­ery game this sea­son, we’re part of the fam­ily and we’re so proud of them to make it this far, and ev­ery­thing the club has been through. It re­ally shows their re­silience and how strong they are as a team.”

For young play­ers like Rory Atkins, the pa­rade brought back child­hood mem­o­ries of when he was grow­ing up in Mel­bourne be­fore be­ing drafted to Ade­laide.

“I re­mem­ber be­ing in the crowd there watch­ing guys drive around and now be­ing one of the ones sit­ting in the back of the car is pretty ex­cit­ing,” Atkins said.

“And tex­ting fam­ily, they find it pretty sur­real that their brother or son is ac­tu­ally a part of it as op­posed to a spec­ta­tor.”

Pic­tures: SARAH REED

LONG JOUR­NEY: Char­lie Cameron's aunt and grand­mother, Su­san Sewter and Hazel Sewter, made the trip from Queens­land and, be­low, Crows fans at the pa­rade.

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