Round 13 – Sydney v Melbourne: A win was a win and it was good to win in the wet

I watched the rugby on Saturday and the Swans on Sunday. It taught me something about both games.


In Union, the ball can be stuck under a pile of players and the referee can pick out a penalty for something that no one in the crowd can understand. On the other hand, footy has few rules and is meant to be played above the ground with skill and spectacle.


You didn’t get much spectacle when the English ground out the Wallabies. There wasn’t much more when Sydney took on the Dees at the SCG. There was one difference of course. The Wallabies game was played on a terrible surface with fine weather. The Swans played on a fine surface with atrocious weather. It showed.


Blainey said that the grounds had been hardened by drought when the rules for AFL were drafted. The game was designed for dry weather and union was the reverse. This weekend, history was inverted and it showed.


The Demons were storming up the ladder and the Swans had lost one and had a few out. The pundits told us that the Swans didn’t play well in the wet. It wasn’t impossible to imagine an upset but from about five minutes, that looked like it was never going to happen. Not that you could always tell what was happening. The rain pelted down from beginning to end and the crowd along the fence deserved free seats.


There wasn’t much in the way of marking or handballing and at times, the game resembled union with its scrimmages and it’s minor territorial gains. Half way through, the swans were only up by three goals but McVeigh was too skilled and Rohan too fast and the swans just stretched Melbourne till they snapped.


Along the way Reg played his 200th, and the Swans took the record for the most tackles in a game. There were great signs of redemption for Dean Towers and both Aliir and Jones showed real promise. At the end, the Swans were up by 9 goals and the fans were happy.


A win was a win and it was good to win in the wet. Having said that, I would rather have had a sunny day and a game that looked less like a game of union. And had the drought broken over a hundred and fifty years ago; perhaps that’s what we would have been playing.


SYDNEY SWANS 2.6 4.8 6.13 12.14 (86)

MELBOURNE 1.1 2.3 3.6 4.7 (31)


GOALS Sydney Swans: Franklin 4, Towers, McGlynn 2, Hewett, Kennedy, Nankervis, Lloyd

Melbourne: Petracca 2, Kent, Hogan


BEST McVeigh, Towers, Vince


Umpires: Donlon, Stephens, Kamolins, Jeffery


Official crowd: 19,086 at SCG

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