AFL Round 4 – Sydney v Geelong: Low side of the road

Score a footy and Cats gear

Score a footy and Cats gear

Low clouds and freezing mist line the mountains as we hit 100km out of Scone heading for Armidale.  Perfect conditions for brooding on last night’s game.

It’s my first wedding anniversary and months ago the wife and I decided on a road trip around northern NSW as a way of celebrating.  I do loath missing home games and moaned like a wounded bull about the timing but ultimately conceded to logic; that and a touch of sheer bribery on her part about going to the MCG in May to see the Hawks game.  Yesterday we meandered out of the Big Smoke up to the Hunter Valley, via the obligatory winery or two, then on to Scone to stay with a friend.  Luckily her TV could get 7Mate; I’d been concerned about this fact all day, unsure if country folks could get anything but the NBN.  But the sudden cold caught us unawares and sent us scurrying for cover.  As I boomed past the speed camera out of town, delivering another potential $300 into the RTA coffers, the parallels to the second half of the Swans performance were undeniably strong.

Still you’d have to be dead to say that the first half wasn’t a blistering game and even then that would be one of the weaker excuses going.  The frenetic shoot out in the first quarter with the Sherrin flying through the posts at either end shook everyone out of their end of working week lethargy.  My pen could hardly keep up.  Our goals were coming from the usual suspects in McVeigh, Bolton and Malceski’s premiership left foot.  The pressure from both sides was leaving the backline empty and the SCG is fertile ground for those who win the quick clearance.

That pressure was evident again in the second but we were making more of the opportunities.  New recruit Rampe made a good impression across half back.  Clearly smarting for missing out on Premiership duties McGlynn flew forward with his usual ‘Bulldog under the radar’ approach.  The ‘out of work surfie’ LRT was bringing his strange shambling panache to the game.

Still the pace had to slow, if only so Bruce and Denis could catch breath.  We lagged a bit in the last fifteen minutes.  Not sure if was the boy’s fitness levels as a result of the AFL’s randomly generated handicap soft start to the season but we basically let The Enemy back into the game.  Grundy’s high fend off led to an Enemy goal.  Hannebury went down under friendly fire.  The Enemy gained a 50 and a cheap six points.  Worse LRT landed awkwardly on his right knee and didn’t look so great getting up.  The Swans collectively limped into the sheds barely hanging onto what had been a significant lead.

The third quarter went from appalling to downright dismal.  Jetta went missing and Goodes was kept to a bare minimum of touches.  Tackles weren’t sticking and The Enemy bulldozed their way out front mostly due to their Kamikaze captain, a man who even makes the likes of Bolton and Hannebury look like cautious wimps.  I was worried when Pyke, admittedly now one of our best contested marks, was our most viable forward option.  I remember flinging down my notebook in frustration at another missed mark by Reid.  I recall thinking last year that at some point our faith in him will be rewarded and he’ll kick a bag.  Last night was not that time.

When both physics and luck abandon you it was time to concede the night was not going to end well.  Our pressure rate returned in the forth but we weren’t getting the rewards.  An almighty clanger trying to switch play across half back gifted The Enemy a sitting duck of a goal.  Late goals to Hannebury and Malceski ate into the lead but time ran simply ran out.  Quite frankly I recall just being relieved it was over.

We hit Armidale and I’m over thinking about the game.  The city is ablaze with autumn colours in the trees making it impossible to be miserable about anything.   I’m sure the boys will bounce back and start racking up the points again.  They always seem to.

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. Genius. This may be the best sentence in have ever seen in a match report:

    Still you’d have to be dead to say that the first half wasn’t a blistering game and even then that would be one of the weaker excuses going.

    Keep up the good work!

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