A victory worth celebrating

by Tom

Being turfed out of a Fitzroy pub early Sunday morning  for ‘excessive celebrations’ over a pool game win did not bode well for the long awaited matchup between Sydney and The Enemy that afternoon.  How would Etihad’s ground staff respond to my antics when the Swans won?  Would I be tarred and feathered and run out of town?  It was a risk that had to be run.

I’d been keen to get to an away game and experience what the others get at the SCG for some time now.  Luckily Tony ‘$100 dinner’ Reed, proud supporter of The Enemy, had simply not been able to hack it in Sin City and had moved back to Melbourne.  I had an in.  Flights purchased and liver fortified I made the trip south.

Tony gibbered all the way to the game about The Enemy’s superiority and for about two or three minutes there after the first bounce it looked dicey.  Goodes booted an easy shot towards the heavens and an early goal from McGlynn was shortly matched.  Then the Swans kicked it up a gear.  The Enemy were simply a rudderless rabble as the Swans shot through five unanswered goals creating a 33 point lead by the end of the first.  Goodes was outstanding, looking more comfortable in the mid field then his earlier season stints up front.  Seeing Shaw up in the 50 was weird but it paid off in the form of three goals.  White booted in a long bomb.  Mumford was his usual solid self and Pyke tackled well.  Our defence was not really troubled as the Swans flooded The Enemy all through the second.

By half time the Swans were clearly looking like winning.  I was cautiously optimistic; the other Enemy (Richmond) beating fresh in my mind. Curiously the stats showed about equal in the forward fifties but the scoreboard thankfully did not.  Tony shambled off, face in hands, mumbling something about how The Enemy should score a few just for respectability’s sake.  His kids were trying to talk it up but their enthusiasm was not catching.

The Enemy showed resurgence in the tail end of the third and fourth quarters putting pressure on the Swans going forward.  Sydney’s hesitance and indecision cost them a few goals but it was too little, too late, and all over bar the shouting.  But there was still plenty of that from fans. They were baying for the umpire’s blood over perceived incorrect rulings. The temperature outside sunk to 10 degrees, inside it was nearer minus 8. Great swathes of the crowd had walked out, the rest were simply willing the siren to sound.  When it did the crowd showed their displeasure, booing off The Enemy.

Outside the rain was coming down in fitting closure for The Enemy.  Tony drove me to the airport where I left him slumped over his steering wheel, weeping uncontrollably, at the far end of the long term parking lot.   I flew back to Sydney, optimistic that our season was getting back on track. We may not be considered true contenders for the premiership but wins like that give me that little bit of hope we’ll be there in September.

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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