AFL Round 23 – Gold Coast v GWS Giants: Sheeds and the sunset: mission accomplished.

Gold Coast Suns V Greater Western Sydney Giants

Metricon Stadium, Sunday 1 September

Bill Ellis

I’m beginning to wonder whether Sheedy is more concerned with how he will be remembered than how his team might perform. “ANZAC Game – that was me” he’ll say, “Dreamtime – Sheedy” he will add. Today, he’s channeling Tommy Roudonikis – only without the thongs and cigarettes. He retires to the coaching box and ticks off another first – the casual coaching attire. I fully expect paddle pops to be in the dressing room at half time, or maybe he’ll sneak down at some stage and run onto the paddock during play to deliver a message – another Sheedy first. Perhaps it was some tip of the hat to Capper with those shorts, but they seem way too baggy.

It must be nice to coach a team upon who’s shoulders no expectations are borne. GWS are the embodiment of a love child for Sheeds, but like a love child, their ownership of his legacy will need to be fought for. Until now, there was not much they could do wrong, but today, it’s the end of the romance and the start of the judgement. Now, with their reckoning beckoning, Sheedy is trotting off in his baggy shorts, almost like Bush running up the “mission accomplished” banner on the USS Abraham Lincoln. In fact, that would have been a better banner for the team to run through today.

The truth today is that GWS are rubbish. A couple of close finishes against some cellar dwellers aside; they don’t look anything like it early. I start to wonder how they would go if Izzy was still there, but really he would be lucky to be doing as much as Mr Hunt is at the Suns, sitting in the vest, waiting for his opportunity. I wonder if Karmichael is feeling uncomfortable given that the change in his team’s fortunes seems to have coincided with his own inability to break into the squad (albeit injury induced). Still, he looks a chance to come good, and has that goal against Richmond to retire upon.

But the Suns come out playing the harder footy, even if only by a whisker (though Phil Davis may disagree after being ironed out early with a bone crunching bump) and the two teams look more than a season apart. Charlie Dixon is such a work horse that I am sure he has to check his hard hat at the gates, and today he’s got support from the blue collars of Day, Stanley and Rischitelli. Of course it helps when you have Ablett running amok from the opening bounce, he is worth the price of admission, inclusive of travel by bus, train and bus. The key talking point of the first quarter is the score review: the players know it’s a point, the goal umpire thinks it’s a point, the Ump seems clear that, yes, it’s a point, but let’s review it just in case it’s really……a point.

Sheedy has to have backed Ablett for the Brownlow. After dominating quarter one, Gary Jr. gets a hard tag from, wait for it, number 42. Some kid who I am certain won’t be old enough to vote next week. I check the record, Whiley? Ablett duly kicks the first goal of the quarter, and one feels for the “tagger” (can it be a tag when you can’t get within 20 m of your target?). Ever? Rischitelli gets in on the act with a snap from 50 and then the Big Beard (Dixon) provides the highlight of the match. He taps, runs, gathers a handball and belts a goal from 50. It’s already looking ugly and we are nowhere near the pie break. Ablett completes a handball from about row seven and the boundary umpire indicates that he, too, has taken the short odds and calls play on.

A late goal to Tomlinson – who I think is some relative of the great Ian Morrison and hence should be at the Dogs, keeps the margin under 50, but it’s taking liberties to call this a contest as the pie break does, mercifully, arrive.

Although the game is a loss, it is probable that they set Metricon up to account for such eventualities. Walking around the “precinct” at Metricon is like being in some sideshow alley or touristy nightspot, with here and there a band or entertainer of some sort, and watering facilities to prime you for stepping out post-game, or to keep you occupied as the game meanders from a thrashing to a pasting. I think they have captured the Coast here and I wonder how the GWS are placed in this regard? There is no way they could have this weather. It’s a cracker.

There is no doubt the Coast are “on the up”, but where to for the Giants? It’s clear that Cameron is not on song today, and without him hitting the scoreboard the sub-plot of the Coleman race is gone, and there is little to keep the crowd focused. One wonders if the nay-sayers will have their day and the Giants will become the albatrosses around the neck of the league. If they don’t improve over the break, not even Sheedy’s bare legs will save them.

GC 6.1 12.3 16.7 22.14 (146)
GWS 2.4 5.4 7.8 9.9 (63)

GOALS: Gold Coast: A Boston 4 G Ablett 4 D Stanley 3 H Bennell 2 J Harbrow 2 M Rischitelli 2 A Hall C Dixon D Prestia J Gillbee K Hunt. Greater Western Sydney: J Cameron 2 A Kennedy A Tomlinson C Hampton J Giles L Sumner S Coniglio T Adams

BEST: Gold Coast: Ablett, Dixon, Rischitelli, Weller
GWS: Adams, Tomlinson, Mohr

Umpires: Robert Findlay, Andrew Mitchell, Matthew Leppard.
Official Crowd: 13,080

Malarkey: Dixon 3, Ablett 2, Rischitelli 1. Would like to give Brennan a vote but can’t.

About Bill Ellis

As easy to read as a Clermont green.

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