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Round 1 – West Coast v Sydney: What A Ripper!

Waking up on Sunday is a very tough task, and I don’t doubt that most people would agree with me. However, today, I got up the moment I became aware of my surroundings.

 

Usually, when I wake up, I lie in bed for a while, thinking about the events ahead of me. The moment I remember that the Swans are playing their first game at the new Optus Stadium, that is all it takes to get me up.

 

Naturally, I reach for my phone and remember the cricket going on in South Africa. Although I said in my previous article that this summer has not been the finest for cricket, I still am keeping an eye on Australia. However, this summer just went from bad to worse with the events of the day unfolding.

 

An absolute disgrace to the great country we live in, and I could go on about it, but half the nation has already done that, so I will refrain. Anyway, football is back and better than ever. We have seen some stellar performances, like Essendon’s final quarter against Adelaide, and Tom Mitchell’s insane new record of 54 disposals. We saw Geelong edge out Melbourne, and honestly, both teams had their chances to put the game to bed. What better way to close off the opening round by watching my Swans on a Sunday night play the first ever AFL game at Optus Stadium worth premiership points.

 

I was not going to let the disappointment of the Aussies in South Africa ruin my day. So I waited all day and all night, until 7:20 AEDT, when the siren sounded. The game had commenced. I got the chills as the ball was bounced in the centre, and former Eagle Sinclair lined up against the returning Nic Nat. The Swans got off to the ideal start. Our young talent Jake Lloyd wrote his name into the record books to kick things off, and Buddy started to assert his dominance. By the end of the quarter, he has three snags to his name.

 

But West Coast stick close to the Swans, despite Buddy’s masterclass. Jetta runs rings around his old team. LeCras and Jack Darling get the scoreboard ticking over. Our young cavoodle Delta (one of the best things we got from the summer) starts yapping constantly. It is very annoying, particularly when watching this game. Then, we see young Hewett in game number 49 take a hanger and set up another goal for Buddy. Five goals to half time, and does not look like stopping either!

 

He continues where he left off in the premiership quarter, booting two more, and stretching the lead out to five goals. But somehow, they manage to claw the margin back to less than a goal. Naitanui pulverises Smith in a crunching tackle, and converts with 15 seconds left. The game has missed his presence for 19 months, so it is good to see him back. Then, he chips one to LeCras lace out, who boots it after the siren.

 

Obviously, conceding two goals in the last fifteen seconds was less than ideal. West Coast have all the momentum going into the final term, and I start to feel very nervous. But Zak Jones is able to ease them just a little, with a settling goal. Hewett has been giving them off, but finally kicks one of his own, to stretch it back out to 17 points. Soon, it was goal-for-goal, and every time Sydney kicked a goal, the Eagles would respond with one of their own.

 

In that time, Franklin boots his eighth goal (will he ever stop???) and Kennedy barges through from a stoppage to put one through the sticks. When Yeo snaps one back around, it is back to 11 points, and they are not going away.

 

Enter last year’s best and fairest, Luke Parker. We have seen a few crazy soccer-goals from him. Anyone remember Round 15, 2016 vs the Bulldogs? This one was even more insane. Resembling Tim Cahill, the Swans vice-captain releases the ball into the air, then lunges high, striking the boot high and long. He has kicked a ripper; one of the early contenders for goal of the year.

 

It seals the first game at the new stadium, and Will Hayward puts the icing on the cake with a goal in the last twenty seconds, followed by another due to a free kick in the goalsquare. The siren sounds on the Swan’s first win. We were certainly challenged, but I am ecstatic.

 

What a game it was; and definitely a much better start to this year than the last. Bring on Port Adelaide next week! What a ripper this season is turning out to be, hopefully making up for the disappointing summer this year!

 

 

WEST COAST   4.2   5.3   10.7   13.8 (86)
SYDNEY           5.1   9.5   11.6   18.7 (115)

 

GOALS
West Coast: LeCras 3, Darling 3, Hurn, Masten, Duggan, Ryan, Naitanui, Waterman, Yeo
Sydney: Franklin 8, Hayward 2, Lloyd, Towers, Heeney, Jack, Jones, Hewett, Kennedy, Parker,

 

BEST
West Coast: Yeo, Shuey, Gaff, Jetta, LeCras, Naitanui
Sydney: Franklin, Parker, Lloyd, Kennedy, Heeney, Jones

 

INJURIES
West Coast: 
Nil
Sydney: 
Sam Reid (hamstring) replaced in the selected side by Will Hayward

 

Reports: Nil

 

Umpires: Foot, Margetts, Dalgleish

 

Official crowd: 53,553 at Optus Stadium

About Daniel Saunders

I have been an AFL fanatic and Swans supporter for most of my life, much to the dismay of those around me; they never hear the end of it! What else do you expect from New South Wales school life?

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