AFL Round 2 – Sydney v Gold Coast : The sentiment derby

Everyone has the teams they love and plenty more have the teams they hate.

But there are some teams that you don’t mind seeing do well, against any side bar your own.

Among all the teams that I love to hate, the Sydney Swans and Gold Coast Suns are two that I can’t quite bring myself to loathe.

The dilemma comes when my two seconds meet, in a sentiment derby.

It’s almost harder to pick a side when these two are playing, because neither has a true stake on my affections.

This clash almost feels like the reserves playing before the seniors, with my number ones, the Lions, scheduled to play in a Saturday twilight affair.

The Swans have long been my back up side, due to my southern background, their well famed no dickhead policy, and their ability to turn up in September even when the media forget they exist.

But then, a new little brother emerged down the M1 from my Lions and I grew space for another, though the affection for this bunch of kids was really based on sympathy rather than admiration (Gary Ablett excepted).

Despite Gary’s round 1 win over the Saints putting the teams on an even-ish keel, I could not help but feel the gap between my two fallbacks, as the Swans unfurled their premiership flag.

With the ceremony, and the sight of Andrew Demetriou in a poncho, over, I am prepared for the pain to begin for my Queensland cousins.

Just as a Channel 7 commentator astutely observes,  “you don’t unfurl a premiership flag every week”, Jarrad McVeigh starts the script off as it was intended, with a grubby goal in the Sydney drizzle.

Jack Hutchins and Charlie Dixon, who has transformed from skinny kid with potential into bearded giant and definite star, returned the favour and my sympathy quickly transformed into optimism for my most recent sentimental favourites.

At quarter-time, I make a hasty exit to my car radio and it seems the Suns are there to stay.

After a flurry of Swans goals (that’s four in the wet), Dixon claws one back and the Gold Coast are still in with a chance of claiming the second side cup.

After a short distraction involving a paddock, a quarter of community footy and an accidentally scenic drive through Logan, I jump back in my car to make my pilgrimage to the Gabba, just in time to hear the ABC exclaim “this is back to a two-goal game!”

What I’ve missed is the Gold Coast showing the Swans the benefits of an extra month of pre-season training and going toe-to-toe with the premiers in the third quarter.

My second team derby is going well beyond expectations and suddenly the unthinkable is becoming ever more plausible.

The Jaeger Bomb hasn’t kicked a goal but he’s done just about everything else and is running as if he has just downed some of his alcoholic namesake.

Canadian cult hero, Mike Pyke, kicks a goal and my engine is off, I get out of my car and await the final chapter of the match.

By the time I passed the Brisbane insitution that is the Chalk Hotel, the Swans are out to a 34-point lead, and pulling away from a spirited Gold Coast.

When I took my place at the Gabba, it is all over.

Everitt, O’Keefe, McVeigh are all one goal richer than the last time I checked, but Steven May has the final say of the day and Sydney end up with a 41-point victory.

But it’s the Suns who have claimed a larger chunk of my heart, by showing a bit more of their own.

SYDNEY SWANS 2.1   6.4   11.10   17.12 (114)
GOLD COAST     2.2     3.4    8.6    11.7 (73)

Sydney Swans: 
McVeigh 4, Parker, Pyke, Everitt, O’Keefe 2, McGlynn, Kennedy, Jetta, Jack, Bolton
Gold Coast: Dixon 3, Hall 2, Smith, Shaw, May, Matera, Hutchins, Day

Sydney Swans: 
McVeigh, Jack, O’Keefe, Smith, Bolton, Hannebery, Pyke
Gold Coast: Dixon, Harbrow, O’Meara, Prestia, Ablett, Hunt

Umpires: Farmer, Bannister, Leppard

Official crowd: 20,372 at SCG


Our votes 3. Jarrad McVeigh (S) 2. Kieren Jack (S), 1. Jaeger O’Meara (GC)

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