Happy families, but not when it comes to the Swannies

Bloody hell, the Swans should have made a bit more of an effort for Dad’s Seventy-Sixth birthday.


We should have switched the teev off fourteen minutes into the first term.  Three goals, one, to one behind, things were looking good.  Then Prinz Eugen marked, dead in front, and three minutes later, the ODNBs had a lead they weren’t gonna relinquish.


Second term, Sydney pretty much matched Carlton around the ground, but couldn’t find the goals with a compass and a map.  Four set shots brought a total return of two points.  This from a team with a Coleman medallist for a coach.  Nonetheless, they were hanging in there at half-time and maybe there’d be some extra spice in the half-time oranges.


Or maybe not.  The third was the worst example of football that Sydney have displayed this year, it was dia-bloody-bolical.  “Soft”, as Dewy told the players in no uncertain terms.  Soft and useless and just all-round stupid.  Why the hell can’t you hit a target from 20 yards?  What the hell are you gooses being paid a quarter million a year for?


Fact is, Carlton are starting to look like a seriously good football team.  They’ve got pace, they move the ball quickly, they’re hard at the ball and the man.  Ratten has copped a lot of crap over most of his coaching career, but it’s coming together now.


No-one can build a team in two years.  To come in from where Ratten did, with the players available, he was always gonna need four or five, minimum, to pull it together.  And all power to him, he’s well on the way.


Word on the street has it that Sydney’s six last-term goals were only scored because Carlton slacked off.  Not quite – Carlton did drop a bit, but Sydney lifted.


This match demonstrated that the ODNBs are on their way to being a genuine contender, and that Sydney lack the class to be one.


Not that it was all that bad a day.  My sister, recently returned from three years working in Brussels, brought over a pile of great food, my girlfriend had a genuine good chat with mum – and the last time that happened, of the six previous girlfriends/wives, was never – and Dad and I enjoyed each other’s company.


Even if the Swans did play like geese.


It aint quite been the same since Dad copped a stroke in November 2010.  He’s still Dad, but he can’t remember names and details like he used to.  I’ve gotten used to it, though.  When he says ‘Big bloke’ and swipes his hand down the other arm, I know he’s referring to a sleeve tattoo and that must be Jesse White.


And so we debate – what the hell is happening with the poor excuse for Sydney’s forward line? Aside from its non-existence…  Sam Reid is 19 and holding down centre-half forward, doing a good job at it, under the circumstances.  But the way it’s going, he’d be asking for a trade when his contract is up, otherwise he’ll just get beaten to pieces.


Sydney’s forward line has no structure, no sense.  The leading goalkicker is Ben McGlynn, a fine footballer, f’sure, but hardly the sort of player to hold a forward line together.  I’d like to see Jesse White, Sam Reid, Lewis Johnstone and Trent Dennis-Lane get six straight weeks playing together, for better or worse, just so we could see if there really was the guts of a long-term forward setup there.


Fact is, Sydney have never had a long-term forward setup.  The SCG is a short field, but, more to the point, it has the shallowest pockets of any AFL ground.  The premiership forward line was built around Barry Hall and Michael O’Loughlin, and a great forward line it was, but it only fell together by accident when the brains trust realised that O’Loughlin couldn’t run too far – thus, had to be a goal-square full-forward – and that Barry was at his best running around and bumping blokes out of his way.


Barry was a great centre-half forward.  He was never much of a full-forward, as the Dogs have discovered, though I’d’ve loved to see Barry score a second premiership with the Dogs.


Thank the gods that my birthday party is Saturday.  The teev will run, with a soundtrack of obscure 1960s soul, punk and psychedelica, cos my music heart beats strong, but my football heart cannot stand to see the 4&20s tear the Swans to pieces, let alone hear Dennis Commeti talk about it.




About Earl O'Neill

Freelance gardener, I've thousands of books, thousands of records, one fast motorcycle and one gorgeous smart funny sexy woman. Life's pretty darn neat.


  1. david butler says

    Agree with you on the forward set up situation Earl. Reid is good but only a kid. I like TDL and am surprised that he has not been given more of a go at small forward. Remember last year against Hawthorn at the SCG when Jessie White was crashing the packs and being a real menace ? If he could regularly do that he could provide some good pill for our crumbers but he is a little inconsistent for my liking and loath to use his size to advantage.

  2. John Butler says

    Earl, I reckon the Swannies were a bit stiff.

    The first 3 quarters were as good as a Blues side has played for a decade. A lot of sides would have been in strife.

    I was under the impression Jesse White had been injured. Otherwise I don’t know why he isn’t playing.

    You needed two Adam Goodes on Sunday. One to play forward and one to break lines and get it to him from the middle.

    After all the grief the Swans have given us in recent years, we’ll take any win we can get.


  3. david butler says

    and a third Adam Goodes to kick straight !

  4. John, Jesse White was dropped 4 or 5 games back. He’s a frustrating player, he has size and speed and skill, but doesn’t really put it together. Give him some of Tony Lockett’s white line fever and he’d be a champion.

    Speaking of Lockett, David, we need to give Goodes some of Tony’s set-shot skills. That’s a big weakness in his game. Eade and Roos both had a go at making a CHF out of him and it didn’t really work. He’s too much of a free spirit. Sadly, the Coleman is one award he’ll never win.

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