[written in the week after the Grand Final]
It’s been two days and a lot of bad mail’s coming in.
The 2013 Grannie, for all intents and purposes, in hindsight, feels like a shit root. Boy or girl, put whatever gender on it you want.
“I can’t believe I put in all that groundwork/spent so much energy looking forward to that!
I mean, really…? No speckies, great goals, biffo or big hits? All that fumbling around the ankles? Spraying shots all over the place? You were meant to be the best! The highlight!
Grand Final virgins are like that, I guess.
How am I meant to feel about the Hawks? I mean, they won, but there was nothing smooth about it, or even wild and rough. It wasn’t even like in ’05 and ’06, when both finals were average spectacles, but at least they were intense games, and the climax was close. When the siren went, both teams flopped to the turf.
Everyone, even the losers, are at least a little bit satisfied when the climax is close.
Poor Freo. The best team didn’t win, the second best lost. The prize wanted them, it was sick of the Hawks, but the Freo boys just couldn’t find the red dot. So sure in the preliminary rounds, but on the day their fingers slipped and fumbled down low until they were under pressure rather than well down the ground, then panicked and sprayed handballs out back. To me this was even more glaring than their missed shots at goal.
When they did get it across the half-back line, any traffic at all and they slapped it blindly onto the boot. Hodge and Lake are Old Dogs. They would have loved that. Young, mad impatient bulls making them look good. Delivering the prize to them.
That reminds me of a joke… Which can be told another time.
And Ballantyne! Oh, Ballantyne…!
The chest-out, cocky rough of the schoolyard. The bad boy squares all hate, that wild women and men dig! He’s been strutting and scratching and the ground and cock-a-doodling for years. So the game and Life put him alone with the ball and the prize and he turns to water. Drops chest marks, fumby, fumby, fumbles, misses shot after shot.
It was like watching karma in this life. Revenge of the bland. The way he plays says: “Bugger you lot, outa my way! I’ll show you how to do it.” And he didn’t. His efforts were so… unsatisfying.
So the prize went with Hawthorn. Even though Buddy was down, and Mitchell was thrashed, and Sewell and (my favourite on-baller) Puopolo were unseen and Roughie was just.
There were some great pieces. Rioli had far more influence than stats would lie to you about. Same with Bradley Hill. Johnno, Mundy, Lewis, Fyfe all played great on the biggest stage. Birchall was sensationally efficient, Lake provided the best victory for troupers over athletes the modern game has seen. Crowley was the man! Gunston’s don’t argue on the wing was even better than his match-winning efforts in front of goal.
But those bits weren’t enough. Only one team was really ready for this.
Once again, we had to settle for corker foreplay – great climaxes, deft touches and relentless pressure in the Preliminaries. The anticipation of the main even was, as always, superb! The only way I would not look forward to the lead up is if Collingwood played Collingwood.
But, on the day, it all felt a bit, I dunno, passionless. The big marks were all dropped, and the good bits weren’t enough.
All these things have to flow into each other to make good sex work.