AFL Round 2 – GWS v Melbourne – Tempting fate

There are some games you are afraid to predict.  There’s a fear that, knowing when you’re a chance, stuff that, a very good chance, the team will somehow falter and you’re left wanting.  I think we will win.  I mean, it’s Melbourne.

That’s why pre-game rituals are important.  You follow them and they add some security to the otherwise unknown.  Whether it’s left sock on first or the lucky undies, turning all the volume knobs onto an even number (like Stephen Coniglio) or using the same opening as your last match report when you played Melbourne.  You stick to routine.  Take nothing for granted.

Above all do not send out the tweet “Retweet if you’re confident of victory today”.

One does not tempt the wrath of the whatever from high atop the thing.

Otherwise your team could run out on a beautiful Canberra autumn day and leave a few things behind on the team bus.  Like a sense of direction.  Ability to stay with your man.  Kick a goal.  Those little things that can be the difference not just between winning and losing, but losing and embarrassment.   Melbourne, the team who kicked fewer goals than Rhys Palmer at the last outing, brought with them a will and capacity to play.  And play they did – keeping the Giants deservedly goalless.

Unusually for us we were watching the game at the Rooty Hill RSL.  It was now a Giants’ supporters venue for games outside Sydney.  When you leave the NEAFL at Blacktown at 2:00 pm, with the sound of the song echoing through the near empty stadium, it’s better to change routine and be somewhere you can watch pretty much the whole game rather than keep heading west and miss the first quarter.

See what happens when you change routine?

All of us gathered around the screens in the courtyard were in shock, which was slowly turning to anger as the quarter wore on.  I was sitting next to someone whose other team was Carlton.  She was not having a good 24 hours.  “I’d be curled up on the coach, yelling at the TV now if I wasn’t here.”  I knew how she felt.

The second quarter, although an improvement, brought similar sentiment from us in the courtyard.  An early goal to Dylan Shiel lifted our spirits; only to have them dashed again as Melbourne quickly responded.  The effort was starting to lift, possessions were won and the ball was making its way to our end of the ground.  But our conversion rate was about as successful as getting legislation passed the Senate cross-benches.  A shank, a touch, a what the heck! meant more behinds when we needed goals.  Thankfully a goal just before half-time gave the score a respectability it didn’t truly deserve.

It was too much for us.  We decided to head home at half-time and watch the game (or not) from the comfort of our lounge room.  At least one has the ability to rant and rave in private.

In hindsight the second quarter was the turning point.  Melbourne won the quarter by three points.  We had far more scoring shots than they did and it was our wasteful kicking held us back.  It was not something to necessarily be confident about.  We’d lost games by kicking awry.  Although we’d thrashed them last time, and the time before, and the time before that, you couldn’t take anything for granted.  Particularly the way that the footy gods had ceased to smile on Adam Tomlinson and he was red-vested due to injury way too early.

Within minutes of opening the door we had the TV on, but play had already resumed.  “We must have scored”, I said, as I saw the score was six points more than half time.  Of course I’d missed it when Adam Treloar did what he’s done so many times in his relatively short career: kick the goal to turn it all around.

It was a barrage.  From the front, on the run, from a set shot, Devon from the right and Jezza from the left.  Impossible angles and impossible scores.  We’d found our legs and ran and ran.  Nathan Wilson made the most of his opportunity and sparked some dazzling plays off half back.  Phil Davis and Nick Haynes stood tall in defence.  Sunshine beamed in the goal square.  Cogs tagged Nathan Jones out of the game. Dylan Shiel was everywhere.  The old hard heads marshalled the troops and the young men delivered.  If only we could get Toby Greene to kick straight it would be a perfect quarter.  Didn’t matter.  Nine unanswered goals.  Tick off another milestone for our highest ever score in a quarter.

What happened to Melbourne?  Did we remind them that yes, of all the teams in the competition, we had their measure?  Our streak against them was three and we were going to make it four.  Surely Paul Roos would get them to remember what they did in the first quarter.  It was only 90 minutes ago…

But the smell of demon blood was in the air and now was not the time to shut it down.  It was time for another rout.  Our first win had been in Canberra and we hadn’t won there in three years.  It was time to turn that around and put on a show for the capital supporters.  Another five goals to the Demons one.

It’s the basics really.  Stick with your man.  Make your kicks stick.  Anticipate.  Follow your routines and be prepared if the new move doesn’t come off.

Giving up home advantage is one thing you should never take lightly, so Steve and I have agreed to voluntarily ban ourselves from watching Giants games at the Rooty Hill RSL.  We should know better than to tempt fate.


About Kath Presdee

Just a suburban girl, just a suburban girl. Lawyer by day, wife and Mum by night. I experience the agony and the ecstasy of sport, having followed Cronulla all my life, the Brumbies all their life and as a foundation member of the Giants.


  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Kath for all the hype re recruiting Griffen , Patfull a dual b and f quietly snuck under the radar as he has done for basically his whole career he will be vital for the Giants . Patfull is versatile as well having played for Norwood as a forward mainly as well . The Giants are coming ( Brett Hand your res coach is a ex Redleg as well and top bloke )!

  2. Kath Presdee says

    Too true Rulebook! We’ve spent our first three seasons with defensive 6 issues – kids too underdeveloped to play on men, and injuries to key mature defenders. Patfull is a needed and welcome addition and for the first time we’ve got genuine competition among fit defenders for spots.

    I’m also liking our NEAFL squad’s work. Can’t give Norwood all the credit though!

  3. A great read Kath..

  4. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Do they now play for the Scully-Frost Cup?

  5. Kath Presdee says

    Oh Swish, it’s the Scully-Tyson trophy and the Dees are yet to claim it.

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