AFL Round 13 – Port Adelaide v Sydney: Fall from grace

The modern flat screen TV is a marvelous invention, a major evolution from those CRT behemoths of old. Back then there was no need for remotes; the buttons came out to you. And once installed those monstrosities took up half a living room and several people to move around. Yes of all the advantages it’s the lightness of the flat screen which really stands out.

My apartment too has a singular benefit arising from its layout. A long narrow hallway stretches uninterrupted from the front door all the way through to the second floor balcony. Think of it as a virtual runway.

Now consider the two together.

Anyone, say a Swans supporter watching yesterday’s game, could easily take said flat screen TV out to the lobby and off a quick step start a shambling run. The momentum takes that person past the kitchen, out into the sudden openness of the living room before being funneled down past the second bedroom, through the main bedroom and out onto the balcony slippery from the afternoon BBQ and continual rain. There the electronic beast is raised above the head and with a primal scream hurled into the abyss to come crashing down on the concrete below.

Long after the final siren I sat glowering at the TV considering its demise.

This was supposed to have been a triumphant game on two counts. Bolton, O’Keefe and Goodes breaking an AFL record of the most matches played together and Kurt Tippett making his debut for the Swans. The end of the Tippett saga was the main focus pre-bounce. How would he go having sat on the sidelines for eleven games? Was he going to be worth the dollars? Personally I wasn’t expecting a blinder but after months of trade scandal and COLA debate it was pure relief just to see the big guy on the forward line.

Ten seconds later he’s marked the ball strongly in a sea of Enemy players and banged it through for a goal. ‘Tippett!!!’ is recorded in my notebook.

Those were the last notes I took.

I was on afternoon BBQ duty and figured I would record the game and take the luxury of drifting in and out, observing the game, perhaps noting particularly good passages of play, rather than sit down for any immediate in-depth viewing.

There are some things you should never see and at best witness only once. ‘Big Brother’ and ‘Jaws 3D’ were both contenders for that dubious accolade but now there’s a third and more likely winner. I’m not sure it’s worth the agony to go back and do a full autopsy on yesterday’s game so here’s what I remember.

First quarter. The Enemy being held at bay and every time I go into the kitchen we score. Tippett gets another goal and we’re into the first break some twenty points up and looking good.

Second quarter. Slog fest. Neither team going anywhere. Waterlogged turf causing skill errors and play is extremely unremarkable. The Enemy gain some scoreboard pressure but I’m still fairly confident.

Third quarter. Very worried. Our performance is as soggy as the ground. Midfield has gone missing. One goal to The Enemy’s two. ‘Worryometer’ shudders up to panic when Goodes is subbed off with a knee injury.

Fourth. Head in hands and/or silently screaming down the hallway. Under pressure the Swans continually blaze away out of the defensive arc down the same bloody side causing numerous turnovers. Tippett denied again trying to out muscle The Enemy. The lead changes five times before The Enemy exploits massive gaps in our defence and win by 18.

Under last year’s circumstances I could potentially chalk this loss up to one of those freak brain fades we have every season against sides we have no reason to lose to. Did we waltz into this one too Tippett conscious and forget the other seventeen players? Lurking underneath those factors though are some serious questions that our injury woes may be exposing a lack of depth and cohesion. This is twice this season we’ve been served a dose of our own pressure medicine and cracked. Whatever the reasons it’s a growing concern.

My TV should definitely watch its back.


  1. Kath Presdee says

    Genuine question – have the Swans played Richmond this year yet?

    I think that will be their mettle test for the year. Richmond seem to be the team that the Swans should but don’t put away easily. This year Richmond looks to be serious. Sydney’s performance against the Tiges may answer some questions about where the team really is… and ask a few more.

  2. Tom Bally says

    Kath. Thanks for reading and you raise a good question. The Tigers have proved to be our bogey side for some time now and it should be good litmus test. In my eyes the Swans seem to play up or down depending on the perceived level of the opposition. In one respect they could be accused of not taking Port too seriously. Then again the Cats dipped out too so maybe its just one of those weekends.

    I’m actually thinking we’ll have a more immediate answer after Friday night’s game against Carlton. McVeigh’s post match comment about ‘not doing anything’ in Q3 when Port were on the rise was both alarming (they knew it and couldn’t adjust) and encouraging (they recognize where it went wrong and will come out guns blazing at the SCG!)

  3. Keiran Croker says

    I often feel that my TV is at risk Tom! Remove all throwable objects from reach.

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