AFL Round 16 – Sydney v GWS Giants: Fish in a barrel

A choking silence hangs over Blacktown tonight. You can sense The Enemy brooding over there, full of regret. Lost chances and botched strategy swirling around like stale smoke. The exploration into western Sydney, started with such gusto, has now tailed off into a sullen silence as that cold realisation of being completely lost and out of one’s depth kicks in.

The new Enemy in the west had been bullish all week on their chances for this afternoon’s match. About coming to the Moore Park fortress and matching it with the Swans, about winning even. And thinking back to round one, to that blazing Saturday March afternoon, you almost couldn’t blame them. We had not come bursting out of the gate there and the memory of that five goal run The Enemy had piled on the second quarter was still lurking at the back of my mind. Question was would it be at the back of the Swans’ too?

It stated in The Enemy’s favour. The opening minutes netted them a behind and a goal and they were putting some forward pressure on the Swans. We were playing slow catch-up with six behinds in a row, the last a howler from Brandon Jack. Running into an empty goal the new boy dribbled it off his boot and into the post. Groans all round. Tippett steadied the ship and McGlynn and Mummy pushed us ahead at the first siren. The Enemy subbed off one of their stars and we’re sensing blood in the water.

The Swans, now warmed up, sprang to life in the second. Pyke, our most reliable kick on goal, scored two. Mitchell also proved himself a bit of a goal sneak. Back up the other end in a rare attack The Enemy caught Malceski on the rebound giving them a six point shot in the arm. But it was one-way traffic for the most part. Playing well up the ground Rampe earned a free. The goal mouth was a sliver off to his right but being a natural left footer he curled it in. A first AFL goal and Powerade shower for the NSW boy. McGylnn pulled up short was subbed off and the ice was straight onto his leg. Will this horrific run with injuries ever end?

It’s hard to write about all those sounds that fans emit. GRRRRRRRRR might be phonetically the closest I can get but it really doesn’t express the frustrated growl from the Swans supporter in front of me when Tippett dropped a sitter. He’s good this bloke, always firing up with a loud Sydney chant when we need it. Doesn’t mind giving it to the umpires and players either.

We were wasteful in the third. I started speculating that the Swans don’t like kicking to a full crowd, that only the dull grey shell of the new stand and its lack of distractions is where their aim is true. Whatever the reason the nine behinds are both comedy and cause for concern for the restless mob behind the boundary fence. White’s pack mark and goal was a highlight though. So was the now almost once a game mandatory trotting out of the score review. I sit way up in the O’Reilly and even I could tell Bird’s goal was over the line before being touched. Mitchell stretched the lead out to eighty two points at the final break.

Now usually I would’ve expected the Swans to have eased off at this point. The game was obviously in the bag and we’ve never been a team to routinely put any Enemy to the sword. There’s was a brief flurry of Enemy activity at the start of the forth but that one-way traffic turned into a landslide with nine goals and eight more one pointers. In the absence of Reid White was cementing his place in the team as a tall option. Kick to kick was on and we all cheered. We never bring a ball but it’s becoming a habit at the game.

Back in 2007 those guys in Mythbusters proved that it really was easy shooting fish in a barrel. The Swans proved it too with this hundred and twenty nine point thrashing.

 

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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