AFL Round 7 – Brisbane v Sydney: Burdened with the footy hump

It’s been a strange kind of season.

Officially sacked from being my mate’s tipster, deservedly so having consistently failed to get even 40% right each round, the muse also seems to be failing me with the Swans’ on field performances. Last year I wrote about every game, even while on the road. This year I’m taking down notes like a fury but the drive to lash a few hundred words together for The Almanac departs mere hours after the game. My form seems to be mirroring that of the team, consistently inconsistent.

Maybe it was the Franklin media hype getting to them but the loss to GWS struck me as a team half awake and thinking of wining the next week’s game. The loss to Collingwood was clearly a team fully awake and thinking of the previous week’s loss. Then a semi return to form against a run off their feet Crows followed by a resounding slump against North. That was a game so terrible that three weeks on I can still hear the Swans supporter two rows in front of me getting stuck into Franklin from start to finish of the final quarter. A guy in the bus queue to Central said it was the worst performance he’d ever seen and he was counting the early 80’s games.

Then an upward swing against Freo, four tantalising quarters of that gut busting, hard tackling side of 2012, followed by a ho-hum win against the Demons. At least that one saw the return of our heart and soul Goodes. Shame he didn’t score straight away but it was worth it to see him gliding around the MCG looking ominously good.

And so to the Gabba where we faced an Enemy fresh from a tough win against the Saints.

In many ways we should have had this one in the bag from the first quarter. Finding space Goodes got two quick goals, followed by Jack, and we were firing off attempts left right and center. Reid looked a bit jittery but I put that down to a long absence from the fray. But our accuracy was down and after The Enemy ran into Laidler earning a soft free and goal I started wondering whether this might be turning into another North game.

The second quarter was a fumbling affair, marred by odd decision making. Way too many handballs flicking around to receivers already under pressure and kicking long to no-one in particular; dangerous traits that seems to have crept into our game of late. Things started coming together halfway through the second with Cunningham, Reid, Kennedy and McVeigh getting on the scoreboard. The absence of Tippett and Franklin turned the team into the Swans of old looking for multiple avenues to goal. There was a real sour note though with Pyke being subbed off with a hamstring injury. Derickx is an able performer but he’s not at the Shane Mumford level just yet and we’re exposed in the ruck.

We owned the second half. The Enemy only got three goals while we ran rampant up and down the field. Jetta’s proved his kicking vision is better than ever. Rhyce Shaw topped off his 200th game with a goal. And while the fourth quarter wasn’t much to write about (11 lines, 40 words truth be told) we didn’t take our foot of the throat, running out the game 79 point victors.

Still I turned off the TV pondering next Friday’s game more than anything. The basic skill errors worry me; against a quality opposition we’re likely to get taken apart. Can we take it to the Hawks or will we fold like a Bondi Beach deck chair?

I’m sort of afraid to go to the game. My overall tipping might be rubbish but so far I’m 4-0 for picking games viewed from the couch as ones we win. But I’m back in the writing game and the Swans are back in the top eight so maybe things are coming together.

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