Not so quiet on the Western Front

There’s a disturbing kink in my footy universe.  Simply put every time I don’t drink beer the Swans win.  Starting life as a ‘no time we’re late’ excuse some weeks ago it’s now morphed into a fully blown case for sobriety at every game.  But what about all the beer you had earlier in the season my girlfriend, Julia, counters?  I respond with a ‘doesn’t count, that was then, this is now’ argument and let it go.  Logic has left the building.

Tensions are running high for this afternoon’s TV viewing.  Even Julia, who typically only likes the live spectacle, cements herself on the living room floor.  The contrast of styles was intriguing and with Subiaco’s expanse seemingly favouring The Enemy’s running game Sydney’s talk was all about shutting that down.

Mumford really dominates in the ruck and it’s a great start.  Wasted effort though and the ball is back in The Enemy’s hands.  They revert to type but the Swans swallow it up in their tried and trusted fashion.  However they’re also finding it hard to get any flow; one-on-one’s all over the field, no loose man.  After a rolling scuffle TDL dribbles one in from nowhere.   Gathering momentum Jetta marks inside 50.  The kick bends off to stage left.   Should we re-christen him the ‘Sundance Kid?’ Can he only hit the target when he’s moving?

The Swans play defensively; short chip kicks, patiently waiting for an opening.  Goodes slots one through.  The next set of play though is a comedy of errors; White dropping an easy mark, Malceski’s bad kick, Bevan fumbling.  The Enemy get a dodgy 50m free awarded to them and score.  We get a goal back, courtesy of The Mummy.  Totally misleading stats by quarter time; we’ve owned the ball but they’re ahead by three.  Low score too, 20-17.  Our fantastic possession rate coupled with some exceptional work by McGlynn has not rattled The Enemy and they’re finding their feet.

Pouncing on an early slip in the second The Enemy gets a goal.  I’m cursing every time they slide past tackles.  Moore earns a free and a goal.  Then McGlynn flies forward with Mumford in support.  He doesn’t need him though as he paddles the ball forward, scooping and scoring.  With The Enemy flooding the defence it’s a scrambling mess with turnover after turnover.  Goodes lines up at 55m out.  Will he make the distance?  Wisely he chips it to McVeigh who then stuffs it up.  The Enemy punch back with an easy goal.  They’re awarded a suspect free but the Footy Gods don’t like it either.   A McGlynn goal, then Bevan scores a behind on the siren.  Going in we’re two up, 38-36.

It’s tooth and nail trench warfare in the third, both teams trading points and penalties.  White fumbles an easy ball.  McVeigh you should have scored.  Shaw where the hell was that kick going to?  McGlynn going in hard makes sickening contact with an Enemy player’s knee.  The medics drag him off, no way he’s coming back.  It’s a worrying loss and The Enemy capitalise with a goal.  Jack shoots back with a grubber.  A lacklustre contest is let off by The Enemy kicking out on the full.  Malceski sends a searching kick into the goal area.  Moore backs in and marks, bravely ignoring the incoming tacklers.  Going down he too smacks into an Enemy knee.  He tries to get up but his legs are over boiled spaghetti.  The extra long stretcher takes an extra long time to come out.  TDL scores in Moore’s absence.  Three quarter time and The Enemy leads by three.  They’ve racked up an extraordinary interchange tally and with two of our toughest down are we cooked?

The arm-wrestle goes on; the Swans soaking it up, keeping The Enemy at bay.  Possibly the most dubious 50m penalty ever seen gets awarded to The Enemy and they score.  We’re allowing them too much space.  Mumford rushes a mark spelling disaster.  Then both Julia and I are on our feet screaming as Jetta burns forward.  Come on boy, come on!  It’s a GOAL and the living room goes berserk!

Caught napping the Swans leave themselves open for another lead changeover.  My notebook hits the screen in a yelling fit.  Calm down.  Reset.  Onscreen the boys do too.  The camera catches it perfectly.  Not one player in the back 50 as the red and white octopus wrestles the ball forwards.  McVeigh fumbles as The Enemy swarms.  White’s foot snaps out for a match saver.  O’Keefe seals the deal and we’re home but there’s only just daylight between us with 10 points the final difference.  On screen the sign says ‘Roos for PM.’

Edge of your seat stuff and that sweet taste of victory had a distinctive hops flavour to it all night.

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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