AFL Round 22 – Geelong v Sydney: Nobody knows you when you’re down and out

If it wasn’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all.

Albert King sang this line on this on his crossover hit ‘Born Under a bad Sign’ and if Rhyce Shaw is a blues fan I reckon that lyric would’ve been circling in his head all weekend. Ten minutes into the first quarter and he must have felt that the very stadium itself was conspiring against him. In a seemingly minor twist during a tackle the recently returned defender ruptured his ACL and that was it, season over. He cut a forlorn figure on the sidelines and if this wasn’t a primarily writing gig at The Almanac I’d have simply posted a picture of him to sum up my feelings about Saturday’s game.

The Enemy have an enviable lock-down on their home stadium. We did them in a couple of years ago but let’s face it sheer karma and an overwhelming sense of self belief rarely seen in any team were the keys to success that day. Today we came in at fairly long odds and with a home final up for grabs I knew there was a chance The Enemy might edge us out.

Notice I said edge us out. Not run bloody circles and turn cartwheels around us. Not dish up a forty four point hammering which if not for errant kicking could’ve been closer to eighty.

Simply put The Enemy’s relentless attack and our lack of work rate did us in today. It looked as if they had five extra players on the paddock today. With our ball receivers under immense pressure the boys were panicked into bad disposals, either belting it long to no-one or hand-balling to a team mate in an even worse position. I haven’t looked at the stats but my take is about seventy percent of the game was played in our defensive fifty. And under those conditions it’s only a matter of time before things go dreadfully south dreadfully quickly. The Enemy wasted some early opportunities and we kept ourselves in the fight for a while before succumbing.

There were some standouts amongst the slaughter. Pyke continues to take great marks. Kennedy was inspiring in an otherwise lifeless midfield. McVeigh and Richards were absolute champions in defence under an enormous shelling. Rohan looked to be working himself back into form with great defensive attack.

Yet if kicking it to Tippett in a completely lost cause four on one contest is Longmire’s finals decoy strategy it’s working very well, possibly too well. Stop doing or someone will work what we’re up to. He took a great mark in the opening minutes but beyond that wasn’t able to break free enough times. The less said about missing that open goal the better.

Hannerbury going down and off in the third just about finished me off. The wife let loose a tirade of abuse against The Enemy only for the footage to show it was due to friendly fire. Ten minutes later he was back on getting stuck in as the boys mounted a brief and ultimately doomed campaign to close the gap.

Halfway through the final quarter I was instructed to stop thrashing the couch in anger and start dinner before some permanent damage was done to our furniture. I did not resist, my pen had stopped working and a chilly balcony BBQ was suddenly preferable over the debacle. Shambling between the kitchen and the balcony The Enemy belted in a few more goals. The siren had barely blown when we switched channels; the thought of hearing The Enemy’s anthem more than either of us could bear.

I cannot decide whether this game represents a serious wake-up call or a brutally cold take of where the Swans stand going into September? Today Hannebury’s knee is apparently not quite as good as it should be and he’ll be out a week. Yet in what could be both bizarrely disappointing yet inspiring news Jude Bolton has announced his retirement. You never want to see great players go, especially one of Jude’s calibre, but if we can’t get to the Granny for him then who else?

We just need a bit of good luck is all.

About Tom Bally

Born in 1834 Tom Bally was instrumental in establishing the rules of the modern game. It's a little known fact and the rare times he talks about it all he'll say is "that bloody Wills chap got me full of grape one night and the next thing I know he's peacocking around Richmond Paddock like he dreamt up the whole thing on his lonesome. Still I got the last laugh didn't I eh? Introducing the Umpire and all that."

Comments

  1. Michael Rogers says:

    In what was the 1,000th League match played in Geelong, the ‘Bloods’ have now been the ‘visitors’ at more matches in Geelong than any other team – 101 times 1897-2013. Some more information on matches played down a ‘Sleepy Hollow’ is available at this link: http://members.optusnet.com.au/~brubarb/1001_matches.htm

  2. Andrew Gaylard says:

    Tom: “The siren had barely blown when we switched channels; the thought of hearing The Enemy’s anthem more than either of us could bear.”

    I thought I was the only one who did that. My finger is poised on the button whenever there’s a danger of hearing “Yankee Doodle Dandy” or “Sunnyside Up”. It’s the one good thing about the countdown clock.

  3. Richard Naco says:

    Get used to that tune, boys.

    Chris Scott said at the start of this season that Geelong wouldn’t be peaking before mid September. And as good as the signs are right now, we’re not quite there yet, so it’s London to a brick that we are going to soar at even higher performance levels in the not too distant future.

    So suck it in, and at least embrace the fact that the Cats do at least play fast, risky exciting football, and not that stodge that was the flood prone footy pre 2007.

    And do get used to The March of the Toreadors. They just don’t write songs like that any more!

    ;)

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