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Are the Crows cursed by the No.6 jumper?

No Crows player has had a long career at West Lakes in the No. 6 jumper after Tony Modra was taken out of Adelaide colours and traded to Fremantle at the end of 1998. Picture: Ray Titus
No Crows player has had a long career at West Lakes in the No. 6 jumper after Tony Modra was taken out of Adelaide colours and traded to Fremantle at the end of 1998. Picture: Ray Titus

CAN a sporting team be cursed?

In Boston, there was the baseball "Curse of the Bambino" with Babe Ruth's sale by the Red Sox to the New York Yankees. In Chicago, it was the Cubs - and the goat evicted from Wrigley Field during a World Series game.

And now inaugural Crows coach Graham Cornes is wondering if - for the second time - the Adelaide Football Club is cursed ... or, at least, the No. 6 jumper is jinxed.

The first time, when Cornes was coach in the early 1990s, he felt the need to have an Aboriginal elder protect the Crows from extraordinary forces. It was the era in which Collingwood president Allan McAlister drew a curse on the Magpies in 1993 for his remarks about how Aboriginal people should behave after St Kilda hero Nicky Winmar stood up against racism.

Collingwood went 18 years - and through four grand finals - before it won an AFL flag.

Now Cornes is buying into the "Modra curse" at West Lakes. It has extraordinary similarities to the Ruth moment with the Red Sox in 1920.

Former Crows star Tony Modra being carried off ground after playing his 150th AFL match for Fremantle.
Former Crows star Tony Modra being carried off ground after playing his 150th AFL match for Fremantle.

At the end of the 1998 season, as the Crows were celebrating their second AFL flag, Modra was shipped to Fremantle after premiership coach Malcolm Blight had made the high-marking, goalkicking sensation clear his locker at West Lakes after a disastrous final against Melbourne at the MCG.

Since then, Adelaide has lost four preliminary finals (2002, 2005, 2006 and 2012) and this year's grand final to Richmond. Cursed?

But more fascinating has been the storyline with the players who have inherited the No. 6 jumper made famous during Modra's 118-game, 440-goal career at Adelaide that delivered no premiership medal to the man they dubbed "Godra".

Modra missed the 1997 grand final with a knee injury suffered in the preliminary final win against the Western Bulldogs at the MCG. He was cast away from the club for the last three finals of 1998.

And since then the No. 6 jumper has been worn by James Byrne, Ben Nelson, Fergus Watts, Jonathon Griffin, Jack Gunston, Luke Thompson and Jake Lever.

None of these players can say they added to the fame of the No. 6 guernsey. None reached his 100-game milestone in No. 6 at Adelaide. Gunston, who has become a premiership hero at Hawthorn, and Lever, who has defected to Melbourne, had the promise ... but did not stay to fulfil the optimism at West Lakes.

Thompson would have felt cursed when he blew a chance to win for the Crows the last Showdown at Football Park in 2013. His errant shot at goal - while ignoring an unmarked Patrick Dangerfield at the top of the southern goalsquare - is as infamous as the Angus Monfries' off-break goal that won the derby for Port Adelaide.

So Cornes is now starting to wonder if there a "Curse of the Bambino" created by Modra's exile to Fremantle. Modra has returned to Adelaide, just as Ruth did to Boston after 21 years of unrivalled success with the Yankees.

But the curse took 86 years to clear from the Red Sox.

The Adelaide Football Club would hope Cornes has not hit on a jinx.

Baseball star Babe Ruth for New York in 1932.
Baseball star Babe Ruth for New York in 1932.

Topics:  adelaide crows afl


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