AFL Round 5 – St.Kilda v Sydney: That 70s show

Expectation’s running high for tonight’s game.  It’s the first official AFL season game being played overseas and everyone’s wondering how this whole experiment will go over with the Rugby loving mob.  The pundits have the Swans bashing a luckless Enemy around to the tune of thirty points.  I’m foreseeing a win but not by that much of a margin.

What I don’t expect is Shane Mumford’s new look.  The imposing ruckman is the white version of Big Jim Slade from ‘Kentucky Fried Movie.’  Every shot of him screams for a wacca wacca guitar soundtrack.  For some reason Buddy Franklin’s disastrous moustache comes to mind.  Perhaps he and Mumford have a side gig going?  I ave come to clean ze pool.

Jesus from footy to 70’s porn in one paragraph, here’s hoping the Almanac editorial staff won’t simply spike this one on grounds of going wildly off topic.

So with the pounding surf of Diamond Beach North just outside the hotel room the wife and I settle in to watch the game.  Jetta’s on the bench; no argument here based on his performances to date.  An interesting matchup to watch with Richard’s on Reiwoldt.  Hannebury looks fired up with a bit of pre bounce shoving.  The siren goes and we’re off.

Straight away its clear conditions aren’t the best.  The ball is slipping around making clean disposal and marking difficult.  The Enemy’s intent is clearly to match our trademark pressure and the first seven points go their way.  Some sort of interchange infringement gifts us a 50m penalty and Kennedy goals easily.  Our skill errors are causing me grief and I’m fighting to keep the expletives in check.  The resort walls are paper thin and we want to stay here another night.  Richards chest marks a long kick right on the line and we’re off upstairs for a decision.  His feet were over but the ball looked to still be in play.  That’s the official verdict too but the crowd aren’t happy.  Minutes later Richards makes a rare foray up field to score a goal himself.   After that he’s dragged too far forward in defense leaving the goal square open for retaliation.  Jack tries his luck but it takes some Goodes/Jack/McVeigh magic to put us marginally ahead at quarter time.

The second quarter is a roving maul that might be taken for a marketing gimmick aimed at the Kiwi crowd.  Whatever the reason the result is the least amount of notes I’ve ever taken for a quarter.  Reid smothers the ball with his face.  The entire defence just stands there and watches Reiwoldt mark with half a paddock around him.  Parker works his way into the game but our attempts are more kick and hope than precision targeting and the post keeps getting in the way.  Reid continues to infuriate as he gets pushed out of the contest and can’t get a clean grab.  We’re ten points up at the siren.  Not enough.

A welcome home cooked pasta dinner is scoffed during the break.  The holiday so far has been a non-stop succession of pub meals.  One particular lowlight has been in Nambucca Heads where the rocks on the main beach were more appealing and potentially more edible.

Horse seemingly works out the problems and we start playing more consistently in the third.  The long bombs are replaced by shorter disposal and as the boys slip through the lead lengthens.  Mattner’s running with Reiwoldt and keeping him to a minimum of touches.  We’re taking our foot off the pedal for some reason now but a late goal to Parker stops the rot.

Jetta is subbed on in the last quarter making a minor impact with some run.  The Enemy execute a hilariously slow and epic run in which only results in a point.  Still they’re closing the gap and exploiting our sloppy skills, lacklustre tackling and dodgy decisions.  Reid is making my blood boil.  A late goal to the pool man keeps our heads above water by sixteen points as the siren goes.

Seems my prediction was close on the money but this just doing enough to get the four points game after game is well below any Swan’s fans expectations.

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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