AFL Grand Final: Like Otto the autopilot, Swans head into sunset

A great Grand Final for all to see, obviously with the exception of the Hawthorn faithful. In moviedom, Otto the autopilot closes out the fabulous “Flying High” as he flies the plane with his co-pilot into the sunset to the tune of the March of Notre Dame (aka the Sydney Swans/South Melbourne theme song). I reckon I’ve seen it that many times I could whistle the tune by heart. For the fans of the movie, the old man in the taxi is the actual last scene: “ok I’ll give him another twenty minutes…”

…so it’s fair to say that every time the Swans win I’m amused…

As we head into the gardening season punctuated by occasional visits to see what is happening in the cricket, tennis, soccer and basketball, the AFL world goes into this semi-slumber. The size of newspapers shrink dramatically and trees are saved by the plantation (plural?). But a new beast threatens this state of being and it’s called free agency. Maybe it will all drop off soon enough as will the trade period. But for the time being, I’d have to say that I’d be fairly crapped off if I was a St.Kilda supporter and the club didn’t get decent compensation for losing Brendan Goddard to Essendon. Good luck to the Bombers – hope they get their value out of him. The AFL has to act deliberately and decisively on this front. Whilst Chris Knights, Danyle Pearce and Troy Chaplin are serviceable AFL players and free agents, they are not in the class of Goddard. Arguably this is more important than the compensation deal for Melbourne for Tom Scully as Goddard is a superstar, despite his surly demeanour onfield in 2012. Scully is a potential superstar – both are number 1 draft picks. Also Goddard still has 4-5 good-to-great seasons still in front of him, whereas Scully still carries the weight of potential. As for Goddard reportedly saying to Saints fans “respect my decision”…well personally I’d be saying p*&s off. The club is mightier than the individual.  The ball is now fairly in the AFL’s court. Watch this space!

Phew…enjoy the non-footy period and all that comes your way. As we learn from the tragic Jill Meagher story, it can all be taken away so suddenly.

Finals Week 4, 2012 FEARLESS: Greatness beckons today, amid the sadness…

The Sadness: I am one of many who fail to grasp how events came to be that led to the untimely demise of Jill Meagher. Amid the tag “world’s most liveable city”, unfortunately this tragic occurrence irrevocably stains this reputation. What goes through people’s minds to think they can commit these crimes and get away with it? The events will be treated in the legal system as they will, but none of this brings back a much-loved daughter, friend, relative, colleague and wife. It’s just truly tragic.

The Greatness: Grand Final: Hawthorn v Sydney Swans – MCG Saturday Arvo.

As the other AFL finalists fell like pins in the bowling alley, the AFL supporters were treated to a Grand Final between the two best teams of 2012. The final eight had worked well to deliver this outcome and the Meatloaf was a distant odour. The Hawks started well, albeit nervously, typified by wayward attacking and the Swans hung in there with a terrific snap for goal by veteran Swan Malceski. When Buddy scored the first of three late goals in the first quarter, it had become apparent that the Hawks had settled better and had a qtr time 19pt lead. That it belied what was about to happen is something of an understatement. Goals to Kennedy, Jack and McVeigh within the first 8 minutes of the 2nd qtr reduced the margin back to 1pt.  Kennedy had been keen to prove his old club wrong, but he might need to run faster if he assumes Colombian inlaws in years to come. He wouldn’t want to concede an own goal either! Midway through the 2nd term, an injury of consequence as Adam Goodes did a knee ligament. The impact of the injury was big – accountability for Josh Gibson, arguably losing the Hawks’ key defensive general to an epic man-on-man battle. Out of the blue ex-Eagle, ex-Tiger and now Swan forward Mitch Morton booted 2 goals in 5 minutes, his own Glenn Freeborn moment. The Ned Kelly beards of the Swan defence, Malceski and Shaw, repelled everything. Suddenly Sydney led by 16pts at the main break. In keeping with the rollercoaster theme, the Hawks were not done with yet. David Hale’s goal at the midpoint of the 3rd qtr, came after Sydney had kicked 2 goals to start the half. The Hawks had 5.2 in 9 minutes and had broken the Swans’ stranglehold, a Hawk lead restored on the back of Isaac Smith’s goal. Buddy was on fire with 2 goals whilst testing out Ted Richards’ effectiveness on one ankle. Jarrad McVeigh’s goal restored a 1pt lead to Sydney at the last break. The game had been played in the best of competitive spirits by both teams. Predictions of hail had dissipated in the presence of light rain with no impact. Injuries to Swans’ Mumford, Richards, Goodes and Bolton would go a long way to determining the outcome, but maybe the storied Bloods culture could hang tough. The Hawks took early momentum with the first 2 goals and then two behinds. A goal to the omnipresent Hannebery reduced the margin back to 6pts. Luke Hodge indicated his fierce application by going off on the blood rule again before Kieren Jack levelled the score. Then Goodes dribbled through a goal to put the Swans ahead. Echoes of John Kennedy Snr floated through the arena: Don’t Think, Do!! All of Hawthorn attacking moves kick behinds. Malceski receives a handball and whacks it onto the boot to sail thru for the sealer. Fate can be cruel. It had been 1987 when the Hawks last lost a Grand Final…a bitter pill, especially when their forward moves could have been more productive. For Sydney and coach John Longmire, the siren pronounced Sydney as the 2012 Premiers. Injuries forgotten, celebrations began as Goodes falls to his knees. 99000+ had seen a classic.

Greatness Pt 2: Melbourne Storm v Canterbury Bulldogs – Homebush Sunday

Melbourne Storm hadn’t won the Grand Final in the NRL/ARL since 1999…mmm…or so they say…needless, two premierships were taken away due to salary cap breaches. It was an odd penalty, especially given that the Storm was part of News Ltd, the company responsible for the NRL. Anyway, the win was one for the ages. Even past Storm players such as Greg Inglis had intimated that it would be a source of motivation. For Master coach Craig Bellamy and players…finally! For the Bulldogs, the 14-4 loss was as Joe Cocker once sang, just mad dogs and Englishmen!


  1. Andrew Starkie says

    Fearless, footy has changed forever; why do I feel only big clubs will really benefit from FA? Have also included Jill Meagher in my report. How can it be ignored? Yes, classic GF. It had everything.

  2. Andrew Starkie says

    Oh yes, Storm! Redemption. Isn’t perception a funny thing? We in Melbourne see the Storm as hard done by and unappreciated in Sydney. Sydney see Storm as cheats and Johnny-come-latelies.

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