The revolution will be televised

With all this Olympics brouhaha dominating the news the Swans game this week crept up on me like a spider in the dark. Nine’s coverage has been in modern parlance an epic fail and it’s a relief when Sunday comes and we get to watch an entire sporting event. Imagine if Fox or 7 Mate showed the first bounce then cut away to something else? Or screened endless hours of the MCG whether there was anything happening or not?

The perennially undersold Swans have been on a hot streak lately and the pundits are pointing to a comfortable win. But with Karlton Football Club (KFC as they’re affectionately known in our house these days) hunting a spot in the top eight I wasn’t confident they were an easy proposition. Reid’s out with a knee injury and although he’s no Buddy Franklin in front of the sticks at the very least he’s a magnet; drawing players off LRT, Goodes and our other scorers.  It’s also ROK’s 250th game and these milestone events never seem to go to plan. I’ve always thought KFC a danger side but with Colonel ‘Judd’ Saunders on holiday they’re under temporary management. Hopefully the new boy doesn’t know his hot wings from his original recipe.

The Swans get off to great start and I’m all eyes (and mouth) at the idiot box. Bird snaps off a stoppage for a behind then LRT takes a strong mark for a goal. I’m nervous though at how well KFC are moving the ball and finding space. They goal and immediately go on the attack. However our defence is tip top again with Shaw seeing the ball clear of danger. Up the other end Goodes draws a free for a push then gets fifty and a point blank goal. Our handball movement looks slick and it takes a dubious ignoring of Richards being held for KFC to stop the bleeding with a goal. We fade slightly in the dying minutes allowing KFC another goal and then time runs out for Jetta who’s starting to get his run on. Eleven points up on the siren.

The second quarter starts and it’s clear we’re missing Reid’s height in the forward fifty with the ball bouncing maddeningly over Goodes’ reach several times. However Bird, LRT and McGlynn combine to push us further ahead. Jetta makes a superb run, handballing to himself in a show of just how much he’s willing to back himself these days. KFC’s appetite hasn’t diminished though and halfway through the second they start putting the screws on. Our near water proof defence combined with their errant kicking get us off the hook. Our lead gets reduced to a three and a bit goals and there’s warning bells going off that we’re not as switched on as we could be.

During the break I reflect on what McAvaney’s absence is doing for the commentary. I was almost certain we were in for the usual love fest for the eleven secret herbs and spices. Instead it’s a balanced affair, at times weirdly swinging in our favour.

Siren time and McGlynn gets proceedings off with a quick goal. Hannebury follows suit. The camera makes a rare trip into the roving maul and my appreciation of all the players skills goes up a notch. KFC belt in a long ball thankfully only for a minor score. Bolton smacks his right ankle on another player and hobbles off. Tough bloke that he is he’s back on within minutes. This third quarter is mirroring the second with KFC trapping the ball in our defensive 50 and smothering our attempts to clear.

Then disaster! Bolton marks, comes down and crumples to the ground. The replay shows a sickening hyper extension of his left knee. As he’s helped off the ground I get the fear that the rot’s about to set in. More worryingly there are grey clouds swirling on both next week’s game and our finals horizon.

TDL is subbed on. Smith lays a superb tackle. Jack belts in a fantastic six pointer from outside the fifty to get the momentum back; 74 to 42 on the siren.

KFC sets the pendulum going their way early in the forth with a goal. TDL responds with a great tackle, eerily similar to his 2010 elimination final effort, toes it to Mumford who scores. Goodes misses a superb marking effort but it’s great to see him up and about more since returning from injury. We’re letting KFC control the flow too much though and leaving Richards and Grundy too much to handle. Jetta steadies the ship after a bit of fumbling in the arc. Time ticks down and although we’ve clearly got the four points in the bag I’m still frustrated at how easy KFC are getting in to score. Malceski stuffs a gift goal that would have made up for his earlier unlucky long range attempt. The umpires gift KFC two attempts at goal and then it’s all over. 93-71 to the Swans and with Jude ‘It’s only a flesh wound’ Bolton moving around the signs are encouraging.

And hey whether we’d won or not I did at least get to see the whole thing.

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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