AFL Round 1 GWS v Sydney: The Vigil

Holy Saturday. The day of Vigil.

The monks are here to bless us as we make our way to the large, cold fortress to watch, to wait, to reflect, to pray.

There is a smattering of orange. And there is red. Too much red. But interesting are the reds and orange mingled between husbands and wives; parents and children.

We wait.

Around me chorus the children’s voices counting down the clock.

5,4,3,2,1

The siren sounds.

The bounce, the cheers – but in barely a few minutes the Swans have kicked a goal.

We reflect. Mostly on whether it was a free kick, but also has the promise of preseason vanished in so short a time.

Ten minutes of struggle. The Premiers are rusty, the challengers are kids. Enthusiastic. A preseason bigger. A preseason more mature. But still kids.

And then bang. Bang. Bang. Bang.

What had been nothing turns into the beginnings of a rout.

We reflect on battles past and pray that tonight will be different. We hold our breath as the Giants go bang, bang, bang.

Off target. Not quite there.

A twenty five point deficit at quarter time.

We contemplate our future, as the squires did in days of chivalry. The night before they were made knights they spent in fasting and contemplation of what it all meant. How they must now act. How they must now fight.

And so we…

TOBY!

The goal from out of nowhere.

A magical period of play followed. Passages where GWS stood up, found targets, put on pressure. Cameron and Patton act in tandem.

Goal. Goal. Goal. Goal.

We take the lead!

Tackle Tom! But hang on, what was that free kick for? Bolton’s goal! The lead is theirs again.

I am an older sibling, so I don’t know the feeling of satisfaction when the younger bests the older. I do know, however, the impetus to restore the rightful order.

And the Swans are our elder siblings. And the Swans, they have Goodes.

A player of the type we wish we have. One who can turn a game around, as he does so often. And does again so often tonight.

And so the situation returns to normal. The Swans kick ahead and lead at half time.

At halftime, we are irreverent and wonder if the Swans’ beards are another intimidatory tactic for boys who are still growing.

And we hold our collective breaths that we can run out the next two quarters. We had been level with the Premiers before, only to be blasted away in the second half.

The game is a struggle. In the early minutes of the third quarter we stop a likely goal. Coniglio looks certain but was that an ankle tap that Kieran Jack learned in the backyard from Dad?

We play well in patches. Sometimes we threaten, and Lachie Whitfield shows some class in his cheeky feint and goal. Sometimes the Umpires make mystifying judgments. Sometimes we aren’t thinking (Brogan as a target?) Sometimes the Swans are just too damn good.

But we are still there. We are fighting. While we are not making inroads into the deficit, we are not letting the Swans get too far away. We are staying with them. They may be Premiers but we are now able to stand up and say we will not be bullied.

I’m noticing many things tonight. Curtly Hampton is threatening to define “mercurial”, but is doing more things right than usual. Mohr being back and Gilham adds so much to our defence. Treloar, Shiel and Coniglio are stepping up. Sumner’s playing so hard that you can see the competition for the top 22 spots. Our worst quarter, for once, was the first.

The best on ground in this game is awarded the Brett Kirk medal. Named for a player with spirit, guts and heart. Kieran Jack was a worthy winner. But from the Giants, Adam Treloar once again showed why those of us who have watched him grow up during the past two years think that he will be our Brett Kirk. He will bleed orange.

In our vigil we glimpsed our future. But still we watch. Still we wait. Still we pray.

For tomorrow, when it comes, we will win.

SYDNEY 16.10 (106) GWS GIANTS 11.10 (76)
GOALS Sydney: Jack 3, Goodes 2, McGlynn 2, Bolton 2, Pyke 2, Reid 2, Kennedy, McVeigh, Mumford.
GWS: Patton 3, Sumner 2, Treloar, Shiel, Smith, Cameron, Giles, Greene.

BEST Sydney: Jack, Kennedy, Hannebery, Goodes, Mumford, Reid. GWS: Treloar, Shiel, Ward, Coniglio, Scully, Sumner.

Malarkey Medal – Jack 3, Treloar 2, Goodes 1

About Kath Presdee

Just a suburban girl, just a suburban girl. Lawyer by day, wife and Mum by night. I experience the agony and the ecstasy of sport, having followed Cronulla all my life, the Brumbies all their life and as a foundation member of the Giants.

Comments

  1. Tom Bally says:

    Great write up Kath. The Giants really impressed me and should be a real force to be reckoned with. It will be interesting to see whether they can maintain that intensity for the season. I’m also not sure what’s going with the Swans beards either!

  2. Barkly St End says:

    Curtly looking a bit better than I last saw him, starting to look like he belongs, he has a bit more confidence and self-belief, and without wanting to over-egg the pudding, he does have a tiny bit of a Robbie Flower about him.

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