AFL Round 15 – Melbourne v Sydney: A Sunday stroll in the park

It’s been difficult to write anything about Sunday’s game. After a lazy weekend in the Hunter Valley this particular match would have to have equaled the Cats/Hawks thriller on Saturday to shake me out of a lethargic state of mind. That blockbuster has single handedly killed off any chances of me ever watching a Rugby Union game again. I made the novice mistake of watching the first quarter before switching over to the Wallabies during the break. Incomprehensible penalties and watching a Lions side who clearly fielded a team to suit the referee plus the sheer boredom of watching Tuppence or Farthing or whatever his name is to accurately kick for three points every five minutes sent me back to 7Mate in a hurry. The Kennett Curse may be both marketing hyperbole and superstitious gibberish but I like it and I was left completely drained in the final dying minutes.

Maybe the Swans watched that game too because they too looked a tad sluggish around the MCG come Sunday afternoon. It could have been the weather, it’s been some weeks since the Sherrin has been dry, or perhaps they mentally approached this one as a training run to try out Reid and Tippett in the front line? Either way it was not the commanding thrashing they gave The Enemy last year at the SCG.

Still credit due where it belongs, The Enemy were playing with renewed vigour. Neeld’s sacking seems to have sparked something in their mental attitude and while it never looked like the Swans were in any real danger of losing The Enemy put up a respectable fight. We might have slaughtered them had even half of our eighteen behinds been on target. But they weren’t and we simply had to grind out the win in our typical suffocating fashion.

There’s certainly no joy in the Reid household at the moment. Having just proved himself match fit we were ten minutes into the first quarter and Sam’s back on the bench, ice strapped across the same injured left quad. Now it looks like he’s gone for another six weeks. I fear for his finals chances. With all these injuries stacking up I also have concerns about our finals capability.

Still one door shuts and another opens. Brandon Jack, Kieran’s younger brother, took off the sub vest and scored four goals. The lad has some pace. It’s a credit to both them and the coaching staff that all the Rampe’s, Mitchell’s and Lamb’s of the squad have been able to step up to the senior level. Not that Horse has been spoilt for choice mind.

Our backline had a bad case of the fumbles today while The Enemy looked positively slick at times moving the ball end to end. Grundy had a shocker and this was about the only thing that jolted me off the sofa imploring someone to switch Richards into that position. Tippet was quiet, possibly due to not dropping behind the defender and playing top of the square. He booted a lovely curling goal in the first and shaved the post in the second but required lessons from the British Lions kicker the other times he had a chance.

I thought nothing could top the Malceski deliberate rushed behind debacle but that’s just sheer naivety on my part about the umpires’ infinite capacity to disappoint. Late in the fourth quarter the ball was thrown in our defensive fifty. Pyke staked his claim on his patch of turf when The Enemy strolled through that area. The merest of touches and the big ruckman was pinged for a push in the back. Lecturing the man in yellow on the actual rules of the game did no good and The Enemy was gifted six points. Soft doesn’t even begin to describe it.

All in all a pedestrian win over a side we should have racked up the percentage against. Again we did just enough to get the points and I wonder if this is deliberate strategy being employed here? It’s a risky proposition but the Swans seem to be taking their chances this season and showing that they’re not entirely reliant on the premiership side to pull of the wins.

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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