AFL Round 7 – Hawthorn v Sydney: Down but not out

We were somewhere in the MCC members, near the stairs to the lower level, when the fear began to take hold.  I remember saying something like ‘Franklin’s free they’re going to go in again.”  And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the air was full of what looked like flat yellow and brown tapeworms, all swirling and thrashing, and a voice was screaming “Jesus Christ, call that a tackle?”

Then it was quiet again.  I slumped across the seats in front trying hard to remember that this wasn’t the Grand Final rematch.  Just Round 7.  No point even mentioning the concept of choking.  The Enemy supporters were seeking blood and their humour levels were running as low as the chances the Melbourne Demons have of winning two games this season.

I wasn’t in good humor either.  Last week I’d witnessed the Swans being all but home and hosed by quarter time.  This week it was my turn to suffer the indignity of watching my team shamble aimlessly around the turf like broken men for close to an hour.  My spirits went from frustration to anger to shellshock as The Enemy piled on a lead of twenty three points then extended that out to forty by halftime.  Their accuracy was unerring; we couldn’t even get the ball to the side of the barn let alone hit it.

I’d expected a tough ride but not this catastrophe.  Major outs in the form of Shaw, LRT, Johnson and then Mummy falling at the last second.  At the airport bar when I read that he’d failed to make the plane I remember looking around half expecting to see the drunken fool lining up for a pint.  Apparently it was groin soreness and spying White on the field did not raise the spirits.  I spent the first half either head in hands or petitioning the sky; cursing our lack of forward entry and pressure.

At half time I pondered the mysteries of the MCG seating.  The four people who had sat down in front of us had not returned to collect the scarf they’d left as a token seat preserver.  People off to my right failed completely to return after the first half.  Did they get lost?  Were we in the Bermuda Triangle?  A stranger may think Melbournites simply view the MCG as a gigantic bar and food court with the football acting as a mere sideshow.

Any thoughts I’d had of the Swans coming out swinging like champs in the third and taking down The Enemy were soon dashed.  Reid was sent down back like a schoolboy failing to do his homework.  Goodes and Kennedy worked tirelessly but with little support.  Communication broke down and The Enemy used it to mercilessly punish us.  There were some good passages of play but since I’d stopped taking notes after twenty minutes I’ll be buggered if I can remember them with any clarity.

Controversy reigned in the last quarter with Rampe touching the ball on the line.  After several hours the umpires ruled ‘touched’ and play resumed to a resounding chant of ‘bullshit.’  Except from where I was sitting it sounded like ‘baldy’ which seemed really disrespectful to McVeigh who was scanning for options out of the goal square.

Some boisterous blokes sat down beside us towards the end, shouting out Enemy player names but furtively cheering when the Swans get the ball.  I worked out their dream team stats must be nosediving when one of them roared down to the boundary fence to berate an Enemy player to get back on.  It was a rare moment of levity in an otherwise hideous state of affairs.  The Swans clawed back some of the scoreboard gap but by that point all I cared about was crawling back to the hotel room.

Back in Federation Square the wife grappled with the free Wi-Fi as I thumbed despondently through the Record.  When I got to the Luke Hodge article I binned it.  Great player but I’d had enough of The Enemy for one day.  We were defeated and now there was nothing left but to retreat and regroup for round eight.

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. Grant Fraser says:

    The Enemy? A bit harsh doncha think? the rivalry has just begun. Your mob is the only one that has defeated us in the Big Dance without giving us the chance to overcome second prize in the slow waltz with the winner’s sash in the Pasa Doble.

    If we meet you again on 28 September, just remember…new steps, new steps, new steps.

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