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Finals Week 2 – Sydney v Adelaide: When passion and hope meet reason and analysis

SYDvADE

Hope and expectation are two key ingredients of a football follower’s psyche. They both fluctuate from season to season, within seasons and even within games. The mood and energy of so many of us is dictated by our team’s fortunes and performances. Just a few weeks ago after a 20-goal shellacking of a hapless Richmond the Swans were minor premiers and in most eyes one of the favourites for the flag, if not the outright favourite.

 

Life was good, hopes high. Though my past experience as a South Melbourne supporter has always made me uncomfortable with favouritism.

 

A mauling from our cross-town rivals last week and the loss of a couple of key players has significantly lowered the expectations of the general footy public, and dented our hopes for another flag. I’m nervously counting down the days till we have the chance to redeem ourselves against the Crows and hopefully keep this season alive. The weather has been shitty in Melbourne and matches my mood.

 

I know our Blood Brothers are a resilient lot though and in my eyes there is still real hope that we can go all the way. Every set back we have encountered this year has been followed by a strong rebound. We have not lost two in a row. The other impressive element of our season so far is that we have been able to blood half a dozen players and still be so competitive. We have good depth beyond 25 or so players with some experienced reserves. We finished on top for a reason. We have options to rebalance the team. Am I trying to convince myself here? Or just applying reason.

 

Millsy is a big loss. His old head on a young body, courage and calmness will be missed. There are multiple options to replace him though. While Tippo will also be missed the reality is that we have performed well without him for most of the second half of the season. I am confident our young ruckmen will be able to do the job on Sauce Jacobs and give us first use of the ball.

 

Nankervis and Laidler were rested from the NEAFL Grand Final last Sunday. A big call, that might have cost us a premiership at that level. So one would think they are first in line to be called up this week. I reckon there could be one or two other changes too.  Sadly Zak Jones is out after being knocked out in the Seconds. Zak’s aggression would have been a bonus. Harry Cunningham or perhaps James Rose could be looked at to add some outside run or forward bite.

 

The Crows were impressive in demolishing North. However it was on their piece of turf. Betts is in magnificent form with back-up from a multi-pronged attack and they are a well-balanced team with midfield depth.

 

So why will we win?

 

It’s on our homeground back at the SCG. We will not be out tackled and beaten on the inside two weeks running. Our team defence will limit chances to Eddie and co. Nick Smith will do the job. Our young mob will be better for the experience of last week. Horse will have his plans. And Buddy! Buddy will not go goalless two weeks running. I hope that we will see him closer to goal this week, though nevertheless running the Crow’s Talia around. Our mid -ield will lift. I expect a ferocious game. And maybe even we will get the occasional free or mark paid in our forward half. Let’s not get carried away.

 

I was tempted to head up to Sydney to add my support. The next best option is to head to the Rising Sun in South Melbourne and yell my heart out with a couple of hundred rabid Swans fans. I don’t expect any balance in that environment, just footy viewed through one red eye and one white eye. It’s time to pull the old South Melbourne jumper from the trunk. We are now being written off and rated the underdog again. My expectations are rising.

 

##

 

The teams are in.

As expected Nanny and Laids are in. Harry C and Rosey, along with Big Ted are emergencies. I reckon there could still be a late change though. Bring it on.  Go Bloods!

 

About Keiran Croker

Keiran is a lifelong Swans supporter, despite a brief dalliance with the Cats and Tigers in primary school years. Family connections to Port Melbourne and South Melbourne demanded loyalty to the Swans. The long wait for success was worth it.

Comments

  1. Go The Swannies! I am hoping for a Swans v Hawks GF with Swans to win. No doubt Peter B will be going for Adelaide sparrows this week, as that is his roots.
    I look forward to sitting with you both at the GF lunch. I will be the one in purple.

  2. Ben Footner says:

    I feel like Adelaide can pinch this one.

    I’ve said for some time that the Adelaide side have the weapons to go deep into September and that this year is probably our best shot at a flag for a good decade as a result (even from 5th).

    Reckon our forwards could really trouble the Sydney backline – but it has to get down there first, and that’s probably my greatest concern. As is so often the case, the midfield will be where this game is won or lost IMO.

  3. Yeah, it’s funny Keiran – two years ago the Swans gave false hope to Richmond going into finals and maybe this year it’s the other way around. We’ll find out in the next couple of weeks. People tend to overhype the winners of the elimination finals and as a Crows fan I have plenty of hope but little expectation this week.

    All the best!

  4. jan courtin says:

    Nice one, Keiran.

    I hope the Rising Sun is rocking after the siren!

    Cheer Cheer

  5. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says:

    Cheer cheer Kieran.
    As far as the omen-counter goes someone left a pair of balloon dogs, one white and one red, on the donations box at the gallery yesterday!
    Haven’t seen any crows, dead or alive.
    Will be crossing everything in the O’Reilly tomorrow.

  6. Scott Morgan says:

    Great piece Keiran! I too, an old South supporter (Mum and Dad both born within a siren sound of the Lake Oval!), now living in northern NSW, am uncomfortable with favouritism. Hasn’t worked for us yet!

    We will need all our Blood Stained Angels to rise tonight!!

  7. Go you mighty Blood Stained Angels!

    Nice piece Kieran…cheer, cheer

  8. The Emerald Hill Chronicle says:

    And so it came to pass……nice piece Kieran. Bring on the pussies.

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