AFL Round 11 – Sydney v Geelong: Welcome to the cat-aclysm

It’s impossible to know how Chris Scott feels on this Friday morning.

Did he jolt awake thrashing around in shredded sheets screeching in horror? Or slowly surface from an ominous dream that lurked around in the back of his head for hours?

Did that just happen? Did my team really just get beaten like a pack of mules?

The media don’t seem inclined to ask such questions and well, it’s been a hard thing to get to grips with for anyone involved in this fine game.

I woke with a throat raw from a cold virus that even the combined efforts of Alexander Fleming and Carlton United Brewery couldn’t cure. Blurry eyes blasted by the Swans Indigenous Round guernsey crumpled on the floor. Bought in the euphoric post-game collector frenzy, its swirling design tells a unique story. But the sight of that peculiar red, white and blue garment will always remind me of another one. A hundred and ten point win and one of the Swans best four quarter efforts I’ve ever seen.

In hindsight our recent form strongly suggested the win. But of course there was no way of knowing that yesterday evening, as I shambled up the calf crippling incline of Foveaux Street cursing whatever twisted logic had decreed Thursday night football was a good idea. I’d come out of the Madison Hotel after dinner and straight into the tail of three monstrous bus queues snaking down Chalmers Street. With no buses in sight the only option was a hideous power walk up to the SCG. The Thursday Experiment might be viewed as a roaring success but it’s doubtful the coin counters in the temple even gave Sydney’s rush hour traffic a second thought as they rubbed their hands together.

All of which meant I was still queuing for beer when Tippett took his first mark of the night only to miss at point blank range. I spilled half a cup, thinking it might be one of those nights.

And it was in a way. But by halfway through the second quarter the boys had slammed through so many goals the odd behind was almost irrelevant. When a talented team like The Enemy has been kept goalless for close to forty minutes seeing the likes of Jack or Kennedy occasionally misfire didn’t set my alarm bells ringing. Instead I was pondering if Malceski, Shaw, Richards and Lloyd and co. could sustain their frightening levels of intensity in the contest. So much pick pocketing of the ball and applied pressure was occurring that I felt sure The Enemy would wake up to it and switch tactics. But they didn’t and the Swans carried on winning the ball off half back at will and running it up to Franklin, Tippett and anyone else who felt like having a crack at goal.

There’s been some speculation this season about Adam Goodes’ longevity but he looked in dangerously good form from where I was sitting. At one point the seas parted as he took the ball round the back of the pack to slam in his second for the night.

A lady next to me said she and her husband had come up from Geelong for this. Her husband could only manage was a few croaks of frustrated annoyance every time his team floundered in attack. He was a broken man by the end of third and at seventy nine points down so were his team. Occasional mutters from Enemy supporters about suspect fixtures and being undermanned had tailed off. The cheer squad had given up.

The Enemy made a brave effort in the final quarter but they were gone. Two video reviews, both going our way, added salt to the wound. Shaw was deemed inconsiderate enough to have got his fingertips in the way of a recalled Enemy goal and Jetta’s long bomb on the siren got the thumbs up from the Those Upstairs.

The mood back to town was oddly muted. Disbelief at what we’d seen and what it means. My own feeling is that this is a team who have had enough of the criticism and are flexing their muscles and starting a full tilt for the Premiership.


  1. Earl O'Neill says

    Nest time Tom, from Madisons head straight up Devonshire St. Gentler slope, shorter walk.

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