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Round 17 – GWS v Sydney: Gobbling up the action

 

Saturday night and I’m nervous as.

 

Having decided to never again grace Homebush with my presence I’ve elected to stay home, cook sausage rolls and hopefully watch the boys kick a ton of them. Grabbing things from the pantry I realise I’ve forgotten a key ingredient, Italian herbs. Too late now, I’ll have to plough on.

 

Speaking of key ingredients, The Enemy have quite a number of theirs out at the moment. With an injury list that could be a top four side it now seems their key forward is a late withdrawal for tonight. Stirring in breadcrumbs my sense of elation fades quickly remembering who else they have on the paddock. Their speed and ability to hit targets is a major concern. I’ve been on a high since the Bombers game; tonight could sober me up quick smart.

 

Having said that we’re a chance here. There’s magic at Moore Park and the Swans juggernaut is rolling. Maybe it’s having McVeigh back in the side but the last few weeks have really reminded me of the Swans of old; a defence capable of absorbing any attack followed up with relentless pressure on the rebound.

 

It’s first bounce and the food is not ready. Thankfully my wife isn’t the sort to start barking “Where’s my rolls?”, “Where’s my rolls?”, “Where’s my rolls?” Marco Pierre White style. Even so I feel under the pump.

 

Over at Spotless the Swans are under fire too. An early Enemy behind is quickly followed by a goal. We’re trapped down back unable to find a way clear. It takes a fight but the ball ends up on the edge of our forward fifty although Hewett’s shot on goal doesn’t have the legs. Buddy’s attempt off the kick in is also offline. His slow starts of late have me worried we will quickly fall behind. Lloyd picks off an errant Enemy kick to score which cheers me up.

 

The oven pings as The Enemy score off a stoppage and as I move to the kitchen they’re immediately back in attack. While I’m removing rolls from the oven McVeigh is coolly extracting the ball out of danger with a centimetre perfect kick to Mills. Then just as I start pouring the tomato sauce we turn the ball over and I nearly lose my dinner to the carpet in frustration.

 

Hiccup aside it’s a strong finish to the quarter. Reid’s effort, lately as sadly predictable as death and taxes, is offline but Kennedy and Robinson are straight shooters. The Enemy cops a nasty knock off a Newman handball. We go into the break twelve points up. They go in one player down.

 

What’s impressing me in the second is our flooding to block up the backline. Top notch stuff. We’re also getting a fair rub of the green which is disturbingly pleasant. Buddy shoots to Jones who then completely ignore the big fella as he finds space. The Enemy scores off a turnover but then on in it’s all Swans forward and back. Towers is in the ruck. Jack with strong tackles. Buddy gets two goals to open up the score. What spoils it all is missing some seemingly easy tackles and letting The Enemy score twice to get within striking distance.

 

The Swans start strongly in the third. Buddy nearly scores a miracle goal from an impossible angle. Jack runs in off a clever tip off from Rohan. Melican bullocks his way of out of defence. But The Enemy although unsure of their structures and down in energy are looking dangerous. We’re lucky to get out of jail as the umpire twice fails to notice holding the ball. We’re under siege most of the quarter but remain composed enough to keep our noses ahead.

 

As Rohan limps to the bench I reach for a roll. All gone. A sign? Have we gobbled everything too early?

 

It seems that way after an early Enemy goal. A text comes in. “Stevie J is coming to get you.” Buddy must get the same message as he bends in a ridiculous set shot from the pocket. Later he gets the softest of frees in the fifty. It doesn’t compensate for the hundreds he’s never paid yet it feels somewhat wrong. As if to make the point The Enemy scores and I’m on the edge of sofa expecting a last quarter rally.

 

But the Swans are defensively resolved; playing down the wing, forcing the stoppage. Reset. Repeat. Gaining territory.

 

Buddy’s tap seals it. The Enemy are caught napping and Papley’s able to zip into an empty square.

 

A close game. I get the feeling this isn’t over between us this year. But I no longer feels as nervous about the matchups as I did.

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."

Comments

  1. You did well to stay away from that nightmare of a place – Olympic Park, Tom, although I’m sure you would have enjoyed our up-close-and-personal battle!

    cheer cheer

  2. Keiran Croker says:

    Good stuff Tom. The home made sausage rolls got me!

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