AFL Round 18 – Hawthorn v Sydney: Solace in Icelandic Ambience

Tonight, the Bloods face off with the Mayblooms in what many are predicting to be a Grand Final prelude. I hope they’re right. The Enemy this evening are a powerful club. They are a club that I respect. They are also a club with which I can sympathise. As an eight-year old boy, I played for the Umina Soccer Club. Like all players and supporters of The Enemy, I was forced to wear a brown and gold outfit to every match. I also suspect that my coach’s sporting philosophies would bare a striking resemblance to those of one Mr. Clarkson. If nick-naming an Under 8’s soccer team ‘The Socceroos’ was not austere enough, surprise visits on a Sunday afternoon from said coach and his spoiled-brat son for an impromptu, gruelling fitness session that a seasoned triathlete would struggle to endure, was just taking the piss…surely. Clarko strikes me as the type of bloke who was cut from the same cloth.

Now, before a big match, I find a need to relax and gather my wits. Today, I choose to listen to some music and I have recently discovered a genre that was once foreign to my ‘punk-rock adoring’ ears. It is far too avant-garde for me to explain, so I will borrow some words about my new favourite musician, Olafur Arnalds. He is a ‘multi-instrumentalist and producer’ from Mosfellsbær, Iceland who ‘mixes strings and piano with loops and edgy beats crossing-over from ambient/electronic to pop’. Interestingly, Olafur started out as a drummer for a hardcore metal band named ‘Fighting Shit’. Like me, I guess his musical tastes changed as well. Once the ‘Incredible Icelandic Instrumentalist’ has calmed my nerves, I am ready for battle.

Clashes between these two footballing powerhouses have been nothing short of epic in recent times. The stands of the ‘G are filled with over 72,000 punters who must agree. This is 1st vs 3rd, and I am up for this, the boys look up for this, and so is my Hawks-mad mate, Halesy who sends me his best wishes via text message. The Enemy burst out of the blocks with a goal to their 200-gamer and all of a sudden….the face of the ‘Faceless Man’ magically reappears! Every man on the opposition instantly recognise their ex-Buddy and rush to exchange pleasantries. Game on. This is a tough, exhilarating opening and the Swannies look to be struggling to keep up. Wayward kicking for goal keeps us within reach as the Faceless Man and Tippo in his return match, bag majors. The old firm of Lewis, Mitchell and Hodge dominate the centre from the outset, and The Enemy take a narrow lead into the first huddle.

The second term begins and this encounter already has all the features of a belter! The pressure around the ball is immense with players from both sides having time and space savagely cut to an absolute minimum. Breust goals and I’m not quite sure if the Brown & Gold faithful have taken to debasing their own and thus elevating their booing obsession to a new level? I soon realise it is the Broooost chant, but my puzzlement remains as for no particular reason, they are booing our Australian of the Year… Withstanding all of that, the atmosphere is electric and everybody in the immense stadium is glued to the action. The artist formerly known as ‘The Faceless Man’ snaps for his second and there is a slight shift in momentum. McGlynn and Tippo extend the Swannies lead out to a couple of goals and then Lewis lets rip with a torp that even Blighty would be proud of. Puopolo chases it, breaks the tackle of Laidler and goals on the counter attack. Half time follows, and this is a one hell of a cracking footy match.

The Great Goodesy begins the third with a bang and the Bloods are quickly out to a twenty-three point lead. Just as quickly, this lead disappears as The Enemy find plenty of the footy and do plenty of damage with it! For a fifteen minute period, the Swans’ forward pressure is about as effective as Tony Abbott’s foreign policy and The Enemy open up a nine-point lead at the final break. Big Roughie is causing some damage, and the rangy Isaac Smith likewise. The intensity and pressure lifts again in the final stanza as two giants of the modern game are locked into fierce battle. The Enemy are a tough side to crack. Joey, Benny and Macca try their best to orchestrate the fightback, but their experienced men take control of the important moments and they prevail by ten points. WOW. Another epic battle. A deserved victory to The Enemy, and I certainly feel as though we will meet again on an even bigger stage.

For me, it’s time to return to my Icelandic fantasy land and to contemplate the bigger issues in life, such as the state of Dan Hannebery’s ankle and reasons why anybody would want to name their band ‘Fighting Shit’.

Hawthorn 15.14 (104)

Sydney 13.16 (94)

Best:

Hawthorn: Lewis, Smith, Roughead, Mitchell, Hodge, Birchall

Sydney: McGlynn, Bird, Rampe, The Faceless Man, Goodes, Jetta

Goals:

Hawthorn: Roughead 4, Breust 3, Smith 3, Puopolo 2, Gunston, Burgoyne, Hodge

Sydney: Goodes 4, The Faceless Man 3, McGlynn 3, Tippett 2, Kennedy

Crowd:

72, 760

Umpires:

Donlon, Pannell, Nicholls

Malarkey Medal Votes:

3 – Jordan Lewis (Hawthorn)

2 – Jarryd Roughead (Hawthorn)

1 – Ben McGlynn (Sydney)

About Joe Moore

Learned the art of the drop-punt from Derek Kickett as Jamie Lawson watched on. And thus, a Swan for life. @joedmoore1979

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