Round 1 – St Kilda v GWS: Nothing’s clear yet

St. Kilda v Greater Western Sydney

1:20 pm, Sunday, 5 April 2015

Etihad Stadium

 

Watching the Saints on Sunday reminded me of a reporter we had at one of my early newspaper stops.

Brian was earnest, dedicated, prepared. His stories touched all the bases, covered all the details. But get him out to cover a game or event and, well, stuff happened.

There was the Saturday night hockey game on deadline. The deadline came and went, and Brian’s story showed up an hour late. Many calls to Brian — including the one when the story arrived — went unanswered. In those pre-Internet days, the story never ran.

We finally tracked him down Sunday morning; he’d forgotten that the Saturday deadline was different. He also staked out a spot in the press box far from the phones — these were pre-cellphone days, too — to concentrate. It never occurred to him to check in. Wow.

He didn’t get fired; heck, it was too much trouble and expense to bring in someone new for an interview to a medium-sized Illinois daily providing such lousy wages that our assistant photo editor quit to become a used-car salesman, saying it was a better paycheck.

But after that Brian always checked in. My favorite memory is Brian calling from a motel near the state track meet in Charleston to give us his contact details:

“Hey, it’s Brian.”

“Thanks for checking in. Where are you?”

“In Charleston.”

“Yeah, we know that. Where are you staying?”

“In a motel.”

“Which motel?”

(Sound of footsteps and the door opening)

“Land o’Lakes Motel.”

“Great. What’s your room number?”

(Sound of footsteps and the door opening)

“123.”

“OK. And the phone number there?”

“I don’t know. How would I know?”

“Try looking on the phone.”

“Oh, OK. 217-555-1212.”

“When do you think you’ll be back from the track meet?”

“When it’s over.”

“Could you guess a time?”

“Maybe 7 or 8.”

And on and on. For this and other episodes, Brian acquired the nickname, “The Fog.” Because you never knew when he or his story would roll in.

One night we got his story on time (amazing) but couldn’t find him on the phone. An hour after the paper went to bed we got a call from Brian. From jail. He’d been pulled over for driving with a broken taillight and an expired license plate. The cop ran a check and discovered he also had a suspended license (from failing to notify the state about an accident) which then had expired. We were his one phone call. The sports editor pulled $100 from a bank machine and bailed him out. Seemed we were always bailing him out one way or another.

And so we come to footy, finally. The Saints are earnest, dedicated, prepared. The coaches have touched all the bases, covered all the details. And once they take the field against the Giants, it all disappears — skill errors, judgment errors, inexperience, deer-in-the-headlights panic. What, a half-dozen goal-square clearance kicks going awry, some from senior players? The fog had rolled in.

Oh, there’s no faulting effort, like a couple of brilliant, acrobatic marks from Josh Bruce; a twisting, dodging move by Jack Lonie to elude Curtly Hampton and set up a score; Jack Steven and Shane Savage show off their wheels in eluding GWS pursuit and getting the ball upfield. The Saints specialized in athleticism (and missed opportunities) but not skill, which maybe (maybe?) bodes well for the future. But consistent, cohesive play is not to be found today. GWS is the better team, superior in their run-and-carry, and the Saints have no answer for Shane Mumford, Cameron McCarthy or Jordan Cameron. Defending talls and winning ruck contests were major weaknesses last year, and so it goes again.

The Saints did make it a game in the final term, reducing a 26-point deficit to eight on three consecutive goals, but a free kick set up McCarthy, and then Dylan Shiel, who with Adam Treloar bedeviled the Saints in midfield all day, clinched it with another score.

Foggy next week against Gold Coast? Plenty of effort on Sunday raises hope, but no telling the weather report now.

Same with Brian. A few months after the jail incident, The Fog drifted off to another newspaper. Don’t know if he ever figured it out.

 

St. Kilda                                   3.0       5.2       7.5       11.12   (78)

Greater Western Sydney       3.5       7.9       9.12     12.15   (87)

 

GOALS
St. Kilda: Membrey 2, Schneider 2, Bruce 2, Savage 2, Dunstan, Riewoldt, Armitage

GWS: Cameron 4, McCarthy 3, Ward, Treloar, Palmer, Shiel, Whitfield

 

BEST
St. Kilda: Steven, Bruce, Geary, Savage, Montagna

GWS: Mumford, Cameron, McCarthy, Treloar, Whitfield, Ward, Shiel

 

Umpires: Harris, Ryan, Mitchell

Official crowd: 18,794

Our Votes: 3 Cameron (GWS), 2 Shiel (GWS), 1 Bruce (StK)

 

 

GWS fan? Visit the GWS website via the logo

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About Glenn Brownstein

I'm a red, white and blue supporter of the red, white and black who became a footy fan through ESPN telecasts in the 1980s and a buddy who founded the American version of the game. Yup, I chose the Saints, but I'd like to think they chose me, too.

Comments

  1. Yvette Wroby says

    Love the story telling Glenn. Well done. It works a treat. I can really relate to the “Fog”.

    Agree with every analysis. Unfortunately!

    Yvette

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