It aint easy being an international man of mystery. You might think it’s all martinis and private jets and glamorous women (well, a lot of it is) but it makes terrible demands on my time
I was walking out of the SCG with Dad and the fone rang. THAT fone, the black one! There was no time to waste. I saw Dad home, gave Mum a quick peck on the cheek then dived into the waiting limo and was aboard a ‘cargo’ flight 30 minutes later. For obvious reasons, I can’t go into details, but rest assured, no matter how terrible you think international news may seem lately, it would be a lot worse if I hadn’t been there.
So here is the review that bastardry and skullduggery wouldn’t allow me to write on time.
Sydney v St Kilda
Sydney Cricket Ground
1520, 18 August 2013
Dad and I got there early enough to watch the last term of the reserves match against Sydney Uni. We got ourselves seats in front of the Trumper Stand, the Uni cheer squad was just behind us, knew all the Uni players by first names and had some good calls; on one controversial decision “That’s why you’re a reserves umpire!” It was a physically competitive match but a gulf of Carpentaria in skills between the teams made for the 18.23.131 to 8.8.56 scoreline.
It was a warm sunny day and Dad and I sat there, enjoying the weather and company without having to say too much. As the crowd rolled in, it was a bit like Puberty Blues at the football, tanned young women floating past with that ethereal grace unique to the type. I also got to see a scoreboard announcement about the dangers of “Flying footballs.” Evidently, they may fly over the boundary and into the crowd, who’da thought? “Be aware and take care.”
The teams came out for the on-ground warm-up. This was Terry Wallace’s idea and his legacy to the game, cos his coaching aint. We were treated to a barrage of scraps of terrible ‘80s songs from Cyggy, the annoying Swan mascot, and isn’t his time done?
The crowd kept rolling in, families, kids, teenage girls, even the occasional hipster, and a spectacular woman wearing the most spectacular red and white outfit I’ve ever seen.
The ball bounces and big Tom Lee scored quickly. There was a quick reply. People kept rolling in and standing in the aisle looking for vacant seats. This is one of Dad’s real bugbears (we missed a fair chunk of the first 15 minutes thanks to them) and he grumbled a bit but only made himself heard four times. Unusually for Dad, that was no more often than me.
Each team held sway for a period but to little result. A lot of folks were holding their hands up to keep the sun from their eyes and I wondered why they didn’t just wear a hat. At the siren both ends had players in the forward line.
By god, I miss that. Years ago I’d dub Sydney v St Kilda games ‘The Tony Lockett Cup’ but no more. Plugger never took a mark on the half-back flank like so-called full forwards do these days.
Sydney played several minutes in their forward line to little effect until, 13 minutes into the second until Mike Pyke, the Man Who Can, kicked a goal, followed closely by Kurt Tippett, the first consecutive goals by a team in this match. It was a beautiful textbook kick from Kurt, a smooth, easy kicking action and a perfect parabolic arc
This was the start of seven straight goals from the Swans though my notes read “late in second, SK being the better team taking their chances while Syd butcher theirs.”
Halftime I went to catch up with some mates whose eyes popped out when the afore-mentioned spectacular woman walked past. I scored points for knowing her name, though it’s little more than a nodding acquaintance. Still, conversation made me late to my seat and the Swans were all over the Saints, who looked like the sixteenth team they are and only broke the drought with a soft free to Saint Nick.
Gary Rohan trotted on to great applause, replacing Kurt who’s five goals thus far were obviously considered a good days’ work. Gary grabbed the ball in the last and went for a run, the crowd rose to its feet… Then he got tackled.
It was the game you’d expect. One of the better teams (I might have still been dubbing Sydney ‘contenders’ back then) against one of the lesser teams.
And so Dad and I walked out to the carpark with light hearts and good moods and no Swans fan has felt that since. Not if they’re thinking about football.
SYDNEY 2.3 6.6 13.9 18.10 (118)
ST KILDA 2.3 4.4 5.6 8.11 (59)
Goals: Sydney: K Tippett 5 J White 3 B McGlynn 2 J Bolton 2 J Lamb 2 K Jack 2 M Pyke 2.
St Kilda: J Steven 2 N Riewoldt 2 D Minchington T Curren T Hickey T Lee.
Votes 3 – Josh Kennedy, 2 – Jack Steven, 1 – Kurt Tippett.