AFL Round 23 – Sydney v Hawthorn: The Party’s Just Getting Started

It was definitely not hands in the back.

Seven ten, forty minutes to first bounce, and the train at Strathfield is jammed. The wife and I squeeze in and I figure that’s it, you won’t get a credit card into the gaps that are left. But oh no a couple of hero’s decide they simply have to catch this very train like it’s the last helicopter out of Saigon. A minor argument breaks out as I create some space to drop the hint that maybe the next train is a better option. No hands though, I’ve learnt something this season. We spend the next ten minutes in a glowering standoff until the train reaches Olympic Park and everyone pours out.

It’s been an antagonistic kind of day. Dealing with incompetents at work from sun up to sun down and now this game; a dead rubber in some eyes but for us Swans fans it’s far from it. The boys need to find some form going into September. Last week’s belting by the Cats made everyone stop and take stock. There’s a Victorian question mark hanging over our finals chances which this week’s Record poses with a masterstroke of subtly in their ‘Party Over?’ cover story. The doom and gloom is not improved as I shamble to my seat to hear that Tippett is out with a hamstring issue. Trying to find the good in this news I offer the idea that it might make us find other avenues to goal. The game takes on another dimension.

Well if I’m in a fighting kind of mood so are the Swans, attacking the ball from the first bounce. Handballs are hitting their targets rather than people’s feet and we’re exerting good defensive pressure when The Enemy has the pill. The ball gets worked out of defence and we’re all screaming at White to pass to McGlynn who’s in the clear. White can’t see him though and the opportunity is lost. Minute later the big Queenslander is fighting for possession in the goal square before flicking a goal off the ground. The Enemy responds in a disappointingly easy style but we’re up an about with goals to Bolton and Parker. Pyke slides one across the face before Jack slips the ball to White for his second. Captain Jack picks off The Enemy’s kick out and belts in a goal on the siren to give us an eighteen point lead.

Everyone’s blood is up minutes early in the second quarter as GWS’ star recruit takes out Malceski with a crunching head high shoulder bump well after Mal has disposed of the ball. All talk is now of how many weeks he’ll get. It’s very refreshing to experience some home and away season atmosphere at ANZ with jeers around the ground every time the big Fashion Plate touches the ball. Meanwhile The Enemy are getting a run on with two goals and two behinds. Rohan puts a stop to the rot with two of his own but The Enemy earns some cheap frees and quick movement up the far wing earns them three more attempts at goal. Luckily they’re off target and when White sprays what was a well won ball the boys hit the sheds still ahead. Just.

Pyke splits the sticks early into the third after being held. Jack bobs up to kick to Mummy who goals. More booing as The T-Shirt adds another six points to The Enemy’s score. We’re sliding backwards though, leaving space for The Enemy to score very easily. Parker steadies the ship and it’s into the final quarter ten points ahead.

The Enemy, realising they might get done, turn up the heat from the first bounce and the umpires are doing all they can, and what they can’t, to assist. Mummy and Parker both score majors and Morton sneaks one in towards the end but when the siren blows we’re gone by twelve points.

I leave the ground slightly disappointed at the loss but more importantly exuberant that the Swans showed some fight. We facing this Enemy again next week and I definitely feel, for the first time in weeks, that the Swans will get over the line.

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."

Comments

  1. Glenda Ellis says:

    Is there ANYTHING that can be done to wake up the powers-that-be about the trains??? You mention the crush getting there – what was it like getting away? We should not have to put up with second-rate stuff in this day of computerised organisation – ‘they’ knew how many people were at the game. ‘They’ should be able to cope much better than ‘they’ did. We are mugs if we sit and accept it.
    But the game was good, and the stadium is great.

  2. Glenda, thanks for reading. Sydney Trains (as they’re now known after $X billions of re-branding) are quite appalling across the board any day of the week. It’s made worse out at ANZ I’d say because it’s a dead end. Mind you Sydney Buses at the SCG are worse. Only two stands to the city and you’d have to leave during the final quarter to avoid the queue because no-one has the sense to load the buses through both doors.

    Glad you enjoyed the game. Aside from the finals I’ve been to ANZ usually lacks that cauldron like atmosphere that the SCG has.

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