ALMANAC RD24 SWANS V LIONS

Let me introduce you to Bob. He is softly spoken, barracks for the Sydney Swans and most of the time is invisible (He has been known to take form in figurines, footballs and various other Swans memorabilia.) Dad, an old Bloods supporter, (and the whole side of his family) managed to get me to support the Swans from an early age. But, unfortunately growing up as a supporter of an interstate team is not easy. I rarely get to see my boys close up, and more importantly, don’t really get a chance to discuss my teams form with any of my friends. As a kid, I didn’t know anybody my age that also followed the Swans. That is why, when I was only about 4 or 5, I created an imaginary friend named Bob. (Dad convinced me to name him after legendary South player, Bob Skilton.) Bob has always been there. Bob has seen every game of footy that I have ever seen. He has struck with me through the highs and the lows. But unfortunately our wonderful time together is slowly fading. I don’t see him as much anymore, and his opinions and views on Sydney, have been overtaken by the internet. Before Saturday, I couldn’t remember the last time I spoke to him. But because of my sister away at the school musical and both my parents at a friend’s engagement party, I was home alone, watching the swans. Well, not quite alone…

It was 4 o’clock on a sunny Saturday at the SCG, where Sydney hosted Brisbane in the last round of the Home and Away season. The Swans were heading into an elimination final against St. Kilda next week, and the Lions were sitting on lonely 15th. Win today and the Swans would have a chance to secure a home final next week. The Swans came into the match as hot favourites after last week’s record stopping win over Geelong at Skilled Stadium.

 

Adam Goodes started deep for the Swans, and within a minute, was awarded a free kick and scored. To even up the contest, Ash McGrath was also given a free kick and converted. It hadn’t been a great first quarter by the swans, except for a magnificent contested pack-bursting leap from 299 gamer Adam Goodes, and a scrubby, messy snap from old faithful Jude Bolton.  Whereas Brisbane showed their class, which included a standing Redden goal from outside 50, a contested with-the-flight mark from Patrick Karnezis and subsequent goal, and a drop punt boundary goal from James Hawksley.

Bob was a little disappointed with this quarter, and was starting to worry if this was the form the boys were going to carry on into September. But we both agreed that the Swans would pick up their game, and get back into the lead.

Within the first few minutes of the term, Sydney rolled well from defence to attack and eventually set Jude Bolton up to kick one in the goal square. Not long after, Matt Spangher, who was playing a true centre half forward’s position, led well, marked and goalled twice. I was glad to have him back into the side (although I struggle to forget that he used to play for West Coast) as he looks like a promising player. Sydney was much cleaner with the ball, and it produced results. Goodes, who looks to be dark horse for the Brownlow, kicked from a set shot and even back pocketer Nick Malceski joined in the fun and snapped a six pointer. The swans were up and about, and looked unstoppable as they kicked seven goals straight. Mumford proved his worth yet again with an inspired tap to roving Gary Rohan who dived and snapped a magnificent goal. Eventually the lions stood up as Hawksley passed well to McGrath on the arc of the fifty. He went back and scored, as did Karnezis minutes later to stem the flow going into half time. Swans were up by 31.

It was as if Bob had instantly relaxed during this quarter. You see he is not as vocal as me when it comes to the footy. Unlike me, he prefers to sit back and watch it all unfold, as if it were a play or a performance. Nevertheless we were both satisfied that the swans had this game wrapped up.

As the sky turned the colour of Rohan’s hair, Goodes took a spectacular mark. Later, McGylnn gave to Rohan who kicked to O’Keefe who speared it to Spangherrrrrrrrr! (It’s a really good name to yell!). He kicked his third for the day, and possibly earnt himself a spot next week. Super sub and former swan, Amon Buchanan, who seems as tough as ever, made an impact and delivered the ball to Rockliff who found McGrath on the lead. His goal and another goal from Aaron Cornelius narrowed the margin to 27 points. Rhyce Shaw was impressive down back and kicked the ball a good 24 times. He, O’Keefe, Kennedy and Goodes ran rampant in the midfield and tore up Brisbane’s game. The problem seemed to be that without a leading forward, (*cough Johnathon Brown) the lions didn’t have a target to kick to. Therefore most of their goals came from long bombs and midfielders. However Daniel Rich, a shining light, took a good contested grab and kicked straight. Rockliff too, had been playing well and stood out as one of the few lions who played well.  A smart from Goodes saw a Rohan mark and goal, and you wouldn’t believe that Jude Bolton too ran into goal for his fourth. Swans led by a comfortable 30 points.

Bob had mentioned next week’s game against the saints. Although at the time we didn’t know it would be played at Etihad Stadium, we agreed later that we must go and cheer them on.

At the beginning of the final quarter, the quiet achiever O’Keefe placed a ball perfectly for young Luke Parker to bob up and grab. He went back and kicked a goal. Mumford wasn’t as flash today as his opponent, Matthew Leuenberger, had won in both the hitouts and disposals. This week, he swans welcomed back courageous co-captain Jarrad McVeigh after his terrible heartbreaking loss of his baby daughter. The team rallied well together this week, and from all accounts, were really supportive of him at this time. He wore a black armband in memory. Kennedy the clearance king, again reminded us of his improvement since relocating to Sydney. Nearing the end of the match (and Brisbane’s season) Goodes soccered his fourth, Parker slotted his second and Hannebery too, found the goals. I heard Bob yelp when we witnessed a heavy bump on O’Keefe’s shoulder. He came off the ground clutching it, but it all seems to be fine now. The end couldn’t come quick enough for Brisbane, as a poor final quarter and a 52 point loss, will give them plenty to think about during the off-season. The swans however, will march into next week’s elimination final against St. Kilda with some impressive form lately.

Bob will join me next game when we go to take on the saints, but for now, I think he is just happy to still be around.

 

 

About Jake "Cobba" Stevens

Jake “Cobba” Stevens is currently studying Sports Journalism at La Trobe Uni. One of the youngest ‘old bloods’ supporters in Melbourne, he can’t decide if the crowd was louder at the 2005 or 2012 Grand Final.

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