AFL Round 8 – Sydney v Fremantle: Draw your own conclusions

Last night could have been much worse.

With ten more shots on goal than us The Enemy should have administered a thrashing that may have been a serious spike through our premiership bid. But despite their inaccuracy it really came to down to our mental slip in the last fifteen minutes that almost cost us the game. I’ve occasionally thought the Swans may be their own worst enemy and they nearly proved my point.

It started worryingly enough. After last week I was thinking “don’t get jumped” and suddenly The Enemy was up on the board with two goals, one of them a lucky roll through Rampe’s legs. It took Hannebury to stop the flow but The Enemy were skilfully cutting off our options past half back yet finding acres of space themselves to push ahead. Everitt scored off some nice work by Kennedy and Parker.  Bolton slotted one in on a tight angle. The boundary umpire seemed prone to some left bias when throwing in, his compass pointing magnetic north perhaps.  At the first siren the Swans were just hanging in there.

The second quarter was the Hannebury Half Hour. One goal off a free, another off a long bomb sent straight down his throat from Parker and yet another long bomb from Hannebury himself. The kid truly embodies the Swans spirit and got everyone fired up to be harder at the contest. Mummy went down, possibly via a cheap shot in the back, then minutes later was airborne across the pack attempting to mark. The Swans kept The Enemy goalless for the remainder of the term and pushed ahead by eighteen points.

During the third the umpire must have felt jealous and decided to get in on the action.  No sooner had Mummy marked on the edge of the fifty then the umpire suddenly dived in out of nowhere.  Light relief at a time The Enemy were forcing errors and edging back into the game. The Swans seem to have reverted to that heart attack inducing style of play from two years ago.  Dangerous kicks across the backline and placing themselves under pressure with poor handball disposal. Goodes, although putting himself into the right places, was having a shocker as far as kicks went.

Is there anything more annoying than the ‘Freo’ chant? Possibly but I couldn’t think of anything last night. With goals to Jetta and McGylnn putting us out to a twenty seven point lead halfway through the forth it looked like we’d just about hold out. But then the momentum shifted. A couple of suspect frees went the Enemy’s way and it whipped them up into an attacking horde. We couldn’t do a thing right.  Walsh read the ball out of their defence beautifully then murdered the attempt on goal. I had uncharitable visions of Horse sending the luckless Irishman back to St Kilda, bound and gagged with a note around his neck saying ‘not as sold.’ The Enemy seemed to win every contest and eventually drew level with seconds to go.

According to some sources the English translation of the phrase ‘escaping by the skin of your teeth’ originates from 1560. Clearly Sam Reid’s been doing some off field history studies as the lad took a brilliant grab deep in our defensive fifty to effectively save our bacon. Whether his future remains up front or in the back line, like his equally talented brother, its clear proof he’s a great mark when there are not three or four players hanging off him.

I didn’t even hear the siren. Everyone just stopped moving on the field. We all looked at each in bemusement then shambled out of the stadium in a dull buzz. A draw’s a funny feeling. Standing in the bus line it seemed more like a loss even with the two points in the bag that might come in handy towards the pointy end of the season. With another tough one next week the boys really need to mentally regroup and dredge up the hunger. They looked dangerously exposed to fast ball movement and those skill errors are proving costly.

Still round eight, forth on the table, I suppose it could be much worse.

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. craig dodson says:

    I think injuries are catching up with us Tom.. We miss Shaw’s drive off half back (armstrong and rampe have been ok but not made an impact). LRT, Johnstone gone and I still think mummy still seems a long way off his best. Am improvement from the Hawks game though

  2. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says:

    Agree with Craig, Tom. Missing LRT and Johnson. And the absence he other night of Shaw and Mattner off the half back line, meant we were stuck from the first decision. Let’s face it, they’re old dogs now. We’ve been spoilt for years with the most beautiful movement from back there … I’d keep Armstrong permanently in and get the games into him. In his last few, he seemed to be starting to see what was what and who was where. Perhaps there’s a spot for Rohan down there … I’ll look for you in Row U.

Leave a Comment

*