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Finals Week 2 – Geelong v Sydney: Well, I didn’t see that coming!

 

Well, I didn’t see that coming! Dedicated readers (thanks Mum and Dad) will recall that a few weeks back I boldly proclaimed we WILL win it all. Perhaps I have jinxed us? I, like many others, thought we were a safer bet to beat Geelong than backing Winx for a place. Football is a strange game.

 

I am a pessimist at heart. I don’t get ahead of myself. Yet, as season 2017 saw us get off the canvas more times than Rocky Balboa, I convinced myself that we could even take on North Korea with a water pistol.

 

Pre-game I was swapping text messages with my mate Brad (not a Swan supporter), that we should assign Kieren Jack to Dusty in the Grand Final. The son of Rugby League royalty, Kieren has tackling in his DNA and wouldn’t cop the Dusty fend. At 10.30pm those text messages were sent back to me as a montage, along with some unsavoury images. My reply can’t be printed.

 

We all have bad days at the office. As an aspiring ruckman for the Mangoplah Cookardinia United Goannas U19s, I once conceded the first 36 hitouts in a match. In my defence my opponent was 7’8 (I tell myself to help sleep at night) and skipping training to hit the turps for uni night was not the ideal preparation. My bad day at the office was in front of eight people and three cattle dogs at Gumly Oval in East Wagga (still more than watched GWS on the weekend) not 55,529 at the MCG, with a Preliminary final spot on the line.

 

I could not help but feel for Rampe. If Dangerfield played as a permanent full-forward I think we may have our next 100 goal a year player. I was hoping Rampe would channel Craig Kelly and start pinching, standing on toes, pulling hair… anything to stop the carnage! It must have been a lonely feeling standing at the top of the square, one out, with the ball coming in at will.

 

The sure hands and confidence that the Swans had carried since July had deserted us. After quarter -time we were uncompetitive. The Cats were simply outstanding. They had winners all over the park and proved many a ‘Monday expert’ wrong. At times I felt as if I was watching the 2014 Grand Final again. When we play bad at the MCG is looks like we only have 14 players.

 

I am a football dinosaur when it comes to modern day tactics. I still believe in wearing a garter to keep your socks up. Despite my ignorance, I am still smart enough to see that we don’t really have a plan B when things go wrong. We play a great brand of football that works 98% of the time, yet when things go wrong, they stay wrong.

 

Poor old Macca. Not the 300th celebration that such a legend of our club deserved. Thrown into half forward to try and provide a spark, he battled hard all night (we would expect nothing less), however, he needed more to help with the heavy lifting.

 

What of Buddy for the evening? It looked like he should have been wearing his whites to cover the Thigh Pad he had strapped over the corky. When Tom Lonergan pulled out I thought the big man would cut loose. Was it injury, a superb job from Taylor, or simply a poor night? Truth be known it was probably a little bit from each category.

 

It is cold, wet and miserable at the MCG. Spring doesn’t last for three months in Melbourne, rather it is a two-hour-window, that usually occurs on a Wednesday arvo in late November. I’m told it was 30 degrees in Sydney during the week, maybe Horse should have made us train indoors with a snow machine cranked up?

 

Unfortunately, we have had a few players perform poorly on the big stage repeatedly in recent years. It will be a tough task for them to regain confidence. September football is a brutal stage and will highlight any deficiencies.

 

With the result a forgone conclusion, the last quarter has the intensity of your standard workplace between 4pm–5pm on a Friday afternoon. Do I punch out those 47 invoices or start wrestling with the choice between pizza or fish and chips for dinner? The Swans don’t want to be there and the Cats don’t want to get hurt before the Prelim.

 

We have few winners tonight. Kieren Jack simply doesn’t know how not to try. Lloyd has elevated himself into our consistent top bracket of performers and it’s hard to find another to give the 1 vote to. As for the Cats, it starts at the top with Dangerfield, Blicavs did a brilliant blanket job on Joey and Motlop provided the polish.

 

If you have read this far, congratulations, you must be a die-hard fan. Either that or you are procrastinating at work, seeking relief from a screaming toddler or perhaps related to me. Most fans have probably already spent three days trying to erase the game from memory and have placed a media ban on themselves.

 

There it is, season 2017 gone up in smoke. Despite the final meek submission, it was such a thrilling ride throughout the season. History was created from the 0-6 start, and we should be proud of the resilience our boys showed to earn a shot at September glory. The platform is in place for success in 2018 and beyond. It will be a long six months, but we will reconvene in March 2018 to do it all again. Cheer, cheer the red and the white.

About craig dodson

Born in the sporting mecca that is Wagga Wagga and now reside in Melbourne with my lovelly wife Sophie and son's Jack and Harry. Passionate Swans supporter and formally played cricket at a decent level and Aussie Rules at a not so decent level! Spend my days now perfecting my slice on the golf course and the owner of the worlds worst second serve on the tennis course.

Comments

  1. Cat from the Country says:

    I was at the SCG in 2014 and 15 when your team absolutley throttled us.
    I know exactly how it feels to see your wonderful team struggle to make any impression.
    I am so glad I did not have to live through it again.

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    Neither did I Craig, neither did I. I went to last year’s Prelim as a neutral, expected something similar this year.

    Kudos for writing this so soon.

  3. Keiran Croker says:

    Well done Craig. Never easy to find some lines to sum up a horror story performance. I was there and from mid 2nd quarter it was clear there was no coming back for us. Like you I suspect there is no Plan B other than throwing Reid or Rohan back and Macca forward. Like our playing squad, I am sure that the coaching collective is a band of solid citizens. Maybe it’s time to mix it up a bit. I hear we are talking to Steve Johnson about joining the coaching ranks. That might make it interesting.

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