Damn those Ducks

The Swans have beaten the Blues tumbling them unmercifully out of the 2010 finals series. Just as the second week appearance had been so tantalisingly close against Brisbane in 1009, the Paddington Ducks have again denied the mighty Carlton Football Club at a crack at premiership glory. In truth, the Blues march towards the finals had resembled that of the drunken platoon but, unlike eight other teams, we were there on the first Sunday in September. Like all dads on Father Day, I was hopeful for more than socks and undies from my boys.

I was tempted to travel up the Hume to ANZ to sit amongst the avatars in the red and white. However, the late start and the thought of watching anything other than an opening ceremony at the Olympic stadium seemed pointless. Still, I had one of those gut feeling that supporters get at this time of year and it wasn’t from the Yum Cha lunch. No something in the bones said we could beat the Ducks away from the SCG.

The first quarter opened at the high intensity one expects of a cut throat final. The Ducks were busy around the packs and quickly took ascendency through quick ball movement and high numbers around the contest. The footie was entering their forward 50 with speed allowing the forwards easy access in an open forward line. Mr Goodes looked on song and, with the unbridled support of the umpires, ( how else could this bloke have won two Brownlow’s) was always going to be hard to keep out of the game. The Messiah had been held by the Duck’s 5/8, Kieran Jack. All jokes aside, this kid from a league family has been a stand out this year. The Dalai’s kid was also keeping Murphy on the leash. The Blues looks lost in the opening 10 minutes but seemed to steady mid way through the quarter and the gained more ball through the mid field as the game opened up a little. After the Duck’s lightening start, the Blues kicked a couple of late ones to keep the score to a respectable 15 points down at the orange break.

The Ducks again were on the boil in the second quarter and looked ready to put the Blues to the sword. Clever movement generated from the half back line set up scoring opportunities to Goodes and Don’s son, Dennis-Lane. Josh Kennedy was proving strong in both his tagging role on the Messiah as well as in attack. Mumford was strong in the ruck as well as making his presence know at ground levels. The Ducks were also employing their patented farmyard setup of pushing everyone back to clog up the Carlton forward zone like pigs at a trough. The Blues hung in their but went into the half time huddle a little deflated after a late Duck’s goal had snuffed out a late term revival resulting an increased deficit of 24 points.

Whatever they put in the cordial at half time obviously worked as the Blues come out firing. I had changed from the light to the heavies and suddenly saw everything with much greater clarity. The Blues needed to open the forward line up, get some tall in front of goals and open the game up in the centre. I channelled my thoughts to Alfred E in the coaches box. The whole flow of the game changed as the Carlton big blokes started getting it to the midfielders and you could sense that there was a new determination across the ground. The back line snuffed out any Ducks forays and Russell was especially good in turning defence into attack as was Carrazzo. Walker and Warnock chipped in for a couple each and the Blues are in control for the first time all arvo.

However, the was a non to subtle change in the balance of power and one that reminded me of the corresponding game last year when Big Jon B decided to lift the Lions. The Messiah put his hand up and broke loose in a third quarter display that left the Duck’s flightless. This was the explosive Judd of old. Bursting from packs, running and setting up play and ultimately lifting the Blues to a 7 point lead after a five goal to nil third quarter rampage. This was the stuff the Blues supporters had waited on for two years. The captain at his best lifting his team mates in one herculean effort. Magnificent.

The Ducks were rattled and looked tired. There was a sense of unease about the avatars and it looked as though the Blues might pop the balloon on Mr Roos and Mr Kirk’s farewell party. The Blues began the last term as they had finished the third. Three quick entries into the forward 50 saw three easy goal opportunities missed. However, Henderson, who has turned my opinion in the past month, suddenly had the hands of a Pakistan fielder. The Ducks eventually began to find some space and levelled the scores at the 13 minute mark. A costly spill allowed O’Keefe to swoop on a loose ball and snap a goal to give the Ducks a 6 point lead. The former inmate from Collingwood snuck forward and “stole” a easy one. Minutes later, Blues defender Dennis Armfield tried to run the ball out of the back pocket only to be caught, after bouncing the ball, by Dennis-Lane who kicked the resulting free from the pocket to extend to the lead to 12. His fourth for the day.

The mood had changed in the stands as the CGI bloke from Dreamworks had put a bit of colour back into the avatars. With under 3 minutes remaining three Blues again pushed forward only this time Henderson held the footie and kicked straight to reduce the margin to 6 points. One last surge from the Blues was needed with 30 seconds remaining and surge they did. A quick centre clearance hits Henderson on the 50 metre line. Rather than taking the shot he passes to Garlett who shoots at goal from 30 to level the scores. He misses and so to the Blues for another year.

The Ducks are home in a thriller. The Blues are left to ponder what if. I’m left in numbness with thoughts of a hot bath and razor blades flashing through my mind. A futile exercise I decided as I would probably have missed the vein as the three Blues had missed those kickable goals early in the last and Garlett in the dying seconds. Extra time would ha e been a fair result but it was not to be. They’d seen us coming and smelt what we were cooking but ultimately the proof is in the tasting and the taste left by the Ducks was a bitter one.

SYDNEY 6.6 11.8 11.11 14.15 (99) CARLTON 4.3 7.8 12.12 13.16 (94)

Sydney: Dennis-Lane 4, Bevan 3, Shaw 2, Goodes, Moore, White, Jetta, O’Keefe.
Carlton: Walker 3, Waite 3, Garlett 2, Henderson 2, Warnock 2, Murphy.

Sydney: Kennedy, Goodes ( Umpires McBurney, Jeffery, McInerney)
Carlton: Judd, Russell

CROWD 41,596 at ANZ Stadium*

* 28,825 of which will be appearing at your local cinema next school holidays.

About Tony Robb

A life long Blues supporter of 49 years who has seen some light at the end of the tunnel that isn't Mick Malthouse driving a train.


  1. Disappointing to dip out again TR.

    It’s difficult to win finals away from home. We need to ensure a home one next year with more consistent performance.

    Juddy needs more support.

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