Footy’s On

“Footy’s on, footy’s here again, back to greet me like an old friend”.  Oh how true that is Champs!  I’ve been to three live games over the first two weeks at the MCG, with a total margin of 1 point.  Its great to have the game back in my weekly life.

The G is a bit like your grandfather’s axe.  It’s the same axe he has always had, its just that he has changed the head twice and the handle five times.  I’ve been coming here to see the footy since the mid 60’s and the place has changed markedly, though it still evokes that same old feeling, especially early in the season with the sun shining.  And it’s the same for our great game.  It’s the same, but different with more new rules, in particular the new substitute.  However I am still excited by the onset of a new season.

Last Sunday I headed off to see my Swans at the G against the Demons, confident that they would not thrash us by 70 odd points like last year, nevertheless anxious to see how this years team would do without our spiritual leader, Brett Kirk on field and our great coach Paul Roos.  The axe analogy works for the Swans too.  Over the last 15 years since making the grand final in 1996 we have managed to continually reinvent ourselves, stay in the top half of the competition and only miss three finals campaigns.  Personally I don’t think we get enough credit for that remarkable record.  Anyway, today along with a revamped coaching panel led by John Longmire, we have Spida’s little brother Andrejs Everitt joining us from the Dogs, Byron Sumner making his debut and Ben Reid’s brother Sam playing only his second game.

I arrive late, about five minutes in to the game, due to a significant organizational fault on my part.  I organize our work’s annual golf day and have managed to schedule it for today as I locked in the date about six months ago prior to the 2011 fixture being released and forgetting that it would be a 24 week season this year.  I’ve decided to play just nine holes out at Tirhatuan Lakes in Rowville, leave in time to make the footy and also leave the proceedings of presenting trophies, etc to a colleague.  Heading up the seventh hole I realize I am running out of time to get to the footy, so hit a half decent fairway drive and abandon my Ambrose partners to finish off the game.  I am no great loss to their chances.

I park the car at work which is over the road from the G and head over Yarra Park.  It is indeed a beautiful sunny day with the earlier cloud that made golf very pleasant having cleared.  I find my mate Geoff in the sun up on the top level in the AFL Reserve where we always prefer to head and get a briefing of how we are going.  The crowd in sparse on the top level however there are some vocal Melbourne supporters near us, who seem to think they are getting a bad deal from the umps.  Roll on the snow season, please!  Macca, Benny and Goodesy are all up and about and we seem a class above the Dees.  Young Reid also looks good, taking some strong marks and we finish the quarter 11 points up.  Goodes continues to dominate in the second, however we can’t seem to shake the persistent Dees and the difference is only 9 points at the big break.

In the third quarter we dominate with Jude Bolton moving forward and bagging two goals, O’Keeffe is everywhere though Goodes is now being effectively blanketed by Garland.  We have heaps of chances and get to 25 points up though are wasteful with 3.9 for the term.  Melbourne get some late goals and we are only 14 points up at the final break.

The Dees get the first of the last quarter and all of a sudden are all over us.  Their substitute Petterd is on and providing a focal point.  We seem to have made a tactical error in using ruckman Seaby as our substitute and don’t have any extra run.  Bolton takes a great one hander and goals to steady the ship.  The Dees move forward and as the ball spills out the back, Brad Green uses his soccer skills to toe poke the goal and they are in front for the first time.  A frantic few minutes follow with the Dees defending valiantly until Mumford palms a ball up to O’Keeffe who snaps a point to level the scores with only a few seconds remaining.

Both teams have been good in a thoroughly enjoyable game and neither really deserves to lose.  Though I think the Swans have greater improvement in them for coming weeks.  Footy, its great to have you back.

About Keiran Croker

Keiran is a lifelong Swans supporter, despite a brief dalliance with the Cats and Tigers in primary school years. Family connections to Port Melbourne and South Melbourne demanded loyalty to the Swans. The long wait for success was worth it.

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