Absolutely Gutted

A sombre mood flooding this cool, clear Sunday.  Nothing left to do but to hunker down and silently curse whatever gods or karmic shift caused The Enemy to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Saturday night was significant in many ways.  Brett Kirk’s 200th consecutive game, possibly his last.  Potentially Paul Roos’ final as the Swans coach.  Daniel Bradshaw was back in the team after his knee problems.  The Enemy’s Brad Johnson 300th game, maybe his last too.  Plus it was the anniversary of the day when I arrived to permanently reside in Australia.  But with everything on the line Julia and I skipped the celebratory dinner out and posted ourselves in front of the TV.

The Enemy scored first with a rushed behind.  Kennelly’s early kicking was shocking with two balls going straight down The Enemy’s throat.  Jack’s snap went out.  Grundy on Hall was a gross mismatch not corrected until the final quarter.  If we thought we could keep Bazza quiet we were totally wrong.  Great kick from O’Keefe to Bradshaw who marked and scored.  He’s back!  Later on Malceski’s shot found him again but he hit the post.  Shaw got a superb goal.   However we seemed to be just handing the ball to The Enemy and the scores were 22 all at the end of the first.

Roos’ extreme animation in the break seemed to do the trick as we tamped down the jitters to open up a lead.  Bolton’s snap went in.  Shaw demonstrated his trademark superb defence and hard running.  We played with typical patience, slowly building opportunities.  Pyke fumbled but Bradshaw was there to save the situation with a goal.  We were putting in the effort and getting results, Goodes and McGlynn in particular.  I sensed a momentum shift in The Enemy’s favour late in the quarter but with a 52-36 advantage going in it just seemed a minor blip.

My overriding thought was that there better not be a repeat of last Sunday’s collapse.  A concept apparently easier said than done.  Three answered goals to The Enemy.  We had our chances but it was hard work getting it uptown and our aim was atrocious.  Goodes missed one and Bradshaw could have provided breathing space.  But when he missed his first attempt, then hit the post a second time, the alarm bells were ringing.  Nice to see Pyke getting stuck into The Enemy after Bradshaw copped a high tackle.  Kirk refused to leave the ground after suffering a minor cut from a collision in a courageous slide onto the ball.  I almost thought he was going to smack our trainer.  Mumford limped off, oh please God not his knees now!  Going into the final term the scores were level again.  Jesus do we just not like to have easy wins?

The last quarter was a desperate nail biting scramble.  At one point I was on my knees pleading to whatever deity would listen to get us over the hump.  The Enemy walked into our empty goal square.  A yellow maggot pinged us for a suspect high tackle and when Shaw gave away a stupid ‘hands in the back’ free it seemed all over.  Yet we continued to throw everything we had at them.  Jetta’s goal and two rushed behinds narrowed the margin.  But somehow The Enemy ended up with the ball in the dying moments and wound down the clock to win by just five points.

And that was our season over in heartbreaking fashion.  Ultimately The Enemy had smothered our forwards, especially TDL, and by winning clearances shut down our opportunities.  Their contested marking was better and our kicking was simply way off.  Whether the boys went into this match too confident is something we’ll probably never know.

The camera captured a melancholy Roos pacing the rooms alone while Kirk was proudly chaired off by Goodes and O’Keefe.  Idiotic questions to the shattered captain from the One HD interviewer.  ‘How do you feel?’  How the *@^! do you think he feels you feels you bloody clowns?  All night the commentary was The Enemy need to do this, The Enemy should do that.  Even when Goodes totally out maneuvered his man in the attacking 50 it was all about why The Enemy let him run free.  There’s a reason why we finished fifth which these prejudiced swine conveniently forget.  Would have liked to have heard Roos’ final speech to the boys in the rooms but for some reason the sound wasn’t on in there.  He did deliver a graceful final TV interview before the final curtain was drawn.

So there’s the end.  Guernsey and scarf packed away, notebook and pen laid to rest.  This morning I thought if I see another AFL game again it would be too soon.  But who am I kidding?  As soon as I get over the pain of this loss I’ll be at the red and white front line again.

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."


  1. John Butler says:

    I thought that post match interview was a blinder.

    How many more ways can you ask “how do you feel”? Gee, I wonder how he felt?

    It’s lucky Kirk’s a Buddhist.

  2. On another front. The Swans reserve side was bundled out of the finals for the second year in a row in the ACTAFL. There is a God

  3. Rocket Rod Gillett says:

    Bradshaw’s misses cost the Bloods dearly…

    As for the 2’s, next year they are likely to be joined by the GWS Team, which will be interesting now that Canberra and southern NSW are their zone.

  4. Clearsighted says:

    The idiot interviewer from One HD was a disgrace. The footy panel show on which he appears every week, is of an even worse standard.
    The shame of it is, that he and his ilk would not even begin to comprehend the character and courage of a player and man like Kirk. The said interviewer should not have been allowed anywhere near him.

  5. Martin Reeves says:

    Said interviewer is a sycophant.

  6. Clearsighted says:

    M.Reeves, I agree and sycophancy sucks!

  7. Hilariously, the overnight guy on SEN on Sunday night, at about 3 am, was lauding Maher’s post-match interview. In a fit of rage I rang the station to protest but they would not put me to air!

  8. Clearsighted says:

    Smokie88: Similarly, when I have written to the Melbourne sports pages regarding Collingwood’s shepherding of the man on the mark, which has gone on unabated all season, they never print it. Everyone has witnessed it and yet, to my knowledge, no issue has been made of it by any sports journo.

  9. Yeah, but how did Kirky…………


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