Swans a sleeping giant waking up?

 

by Tom Bally

There’s days when it seems everyone writes the Swans off.  Almost every week us Bloods fans are subjected to a barrage of negativity ranging from sly backhander comments to almost outright disgust that we’re even allowed to be part of the league.  Therefore it came as no surprise when the ‘experts’ had us written off this week against The Enemy.

 

Last week’s win over the Saints was a minor shine on an otherwise lacklustre season.

The Enemy haven’t lost a game at home for four years.

 

The Swan’s haven’t won at The Enemy’s stomping ground for twelve years.

 

Blah, blah, blah.

 

To tell the truth though the nerves were jangling for days before the match.  The Enemy are a top four side; a strong outfit with excellent run and silky handball skills.  Our previous encounter on that drizzly night at the SCG months ago ended in disappointment and a wet arse from stuffing up the tickets and sitting out in the open.  Now down at the business end of the season was I about to sink into another mire of screaming doom in front of the TV?

 

It didn’t look so good in the opening term.  The Enemy were pressing.  They out marked Richards but were off target.  Mattner gave away a free kick which again luckily only resulted in a behind.  Something was off; The Enemy’s ball handling skills were uncharacteristically sloppy.   Whether it was our pressure or early yips it was certainly encouraging.  Then our own carrot top Rohan grabbed hold of the ball and zipping up-field banged in a long goal which got the blood going.  Minutes later we were paid a 50m penalty and Kennedy put another six on the board.  Our strong press ran the risk of leaving The Enemy free space and they took advantage of that.  Again though their next few scores were only behinds and it was puzzling everyone.  Spangher started having some impact for us, taking a good mark.  Meridith won a 50 as The Enemy did not back off when asked to and we had another six on the board.  The Swans were controlling the flow of the ball and by the end of the first we were up by two points.  The commentators couldn’t work it out.  Neither could the crowd who were reduced to a stunned murmur.

 

The start of the second really shut them up.  Jesse White, despite causing me to scream at his marking skills gathered up his own dropped ball and dribbled it in.  Sam ‘magnetic hands’ Reid snapped a goal.  Rohan took a spectacular grab and got the six points.  Mumford started dominating in the ruck and hit outs.  Made we wonder if The Enemy regretted trading him to us.  The crowd continued their strange silence. They came to life when Bolton was awarded a free kick and then again when they scored after evading a scrambling Heath Shaw.  The noise was short lived.  Goals to Bolton and a behind to Reid left us 10 points up.  Just what was going on here?

 

Whatever it was it continued in the third.  Goodes started making his presence felt, taking off with the ball whenever he got the opportunity.  To be fair our goal kicking skills have not been the best this season but having nothing else to slag us off about the commentators pointed out that Mummy’s foot was on the chalk in the centre circle.

 

You can’t do that.

 

You definitely can’t do that.

 

Too bad he just did and just won another hit out.  And oh look Goodes has just put the ball through for another goal.

 

There was a controversial moment when the umpires ruled The Enemy’s goal was touched.  The replay was inconclusive but since we were robbed last week of a similar goal I assumed the Footy Gods were evening up the balance.

 

The Swans responded with typical fight, locking the ball in our attacking 50.  McGlynn, who was having a blinder of a game, snuck through for a goal.  Grundy gave away another free but The Enemy skewed it to one side.  They were rattled for sure.  Mumford was put in a headlock and moments later there was some unexplained bit of biff with The Enemy trying to lay into Shaw.  McGlynn saved us from another attack and then The Enemy ran into each other Keystone Cops style.  Eleven points up at the siren.  Could we do it?

When Goodes won it out of the centre, disposed to Spangher who ran in with it, I thought we could.  We seemed like we were nailing the lid shut.  The Enemy continued to press but nothing was going right for them.  Richards with a miracle touch on the line, Luke Parker with a goal.  Critical fumbles were ruining The Enemy’s formidable run through the centre.  They resorted to fighting with us again.

 

The crowd came to life when The Enemy were pinged for a high fend off on Bolton in our attacking 50.  Jude made sure they had something to howl about.  The Enemy continued to press; three goals in six minutes seemed an impossible task but they were not going down without a fight.  Mattner gave away a crucial free but The Enemy stuffed it.  Time ticked down.  The camera panned up to show Enemy fans leaving in their droves.  Those early leavers missed their captain getting a final goal but by then it was too late.  99-86 to us and that massive twelve year drought well and truly broken.

 

The naysayers out there will no doubt be claiming the win was an aberration, a fluke.  Nothing to get excited about.  From my perspective it looked to me like the boys were just waking up and showing what they’re capable of.

About Tom Bally

Born in 1834 Tom Bally was instrumental in establishing the rules of the modern game. It's a little known fact and the rare times he talks about it all he'll say is "that bloody Wills chap got me full of grape one night and the next thing I know he's peacocking around Richmond Paddock like he dreamt up the whole thing on his lonesome. Still I got the last laugh didn't I eh? Introducing the Umpire and all that."

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