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Round 15 – Melbourne v Sydney: Bloods keep the Demons at bay

 

Melbourne v Sydney – Friday 30 June, 2017; 7:50pm – MCG

 

1736, the number of days since Alex Johnson last played a senior game of football. Mostly sport is just distraction and entertainment. We do regularly draw analogies between sport and life, such as resilience, courage and determination. In Johnson’s case such analogies apply in a big way. His courageous return in the NEAFL on Saturday in Canberra after multiple knee operations over the last four years must provide inspiration and add resolve to his mates for tonight’s game at the MCG.

 

I’ve had an entertaining day. An Australian Cricket Society lunch with guest Merv Hughes, stories for another day. A couple of quarters of Under 18 Championship footy at Etihad looking for our next star, then a few drinks with work colleagues, before heading to the G. I find my mate Geoff and his son Marius in the Southern Stand top deck at the Punt Road end.

 

Kicking to the City end we start brightly, though our kicking yips from past weeks have continued. Gary Rohan after nailing last weeks last gasp winning goal is up and about with more touches then he sometimes gets in a game. None deliver goals though.
Amidst the intense opening young Mills has gone down behind play. A Melbourne player is reported. However what should have been our first goal is lost when the free is reversed due to some dumb retaliation on our part.

 

Half a quarter of our endeavours are balanced by the Demons one foray forward that delivers a nice mark and goal. They then get on a roll, part impressive, precise play and part fortunate umpiring calls. Four straight goals unanswered, until Luke Parker marks, then goals after the siren – 1.8 for the quarter.

 

Mills does not return. One down! Our resilience will be tested against one of the competition’s form sides.

 

The prevailing perception about the Swans is that we are a bit slow and one dimensional, over reliant on inside contested possession. Whatever! The second quarter starts like the first. We are smashing them around the packs and the ball is trapped in our forward line, though we just can’t convert. The goal to points ratio gets out to 1.11 before Buddy, one of the prime culprits in recent times takes a strong grab and converts from the far flank.
Parker is playing a blinder. We finally start getting reward for effort when Heeney slots a classy goal from the near flank in front of us. We break away when Kizza gets on the end of a nice piece of rebound footy, having gut run the length of the ground. He is getting back to the form we know, and along with the welcome return of Macca down back we are close to our best combination. We go in at the main break 20 points up, or more precisely 1.14. Hopefully our profligacy will not come back to haunt us.

 

The fist pumping Demons supporter and his teenage sons from the row in front don’t reappear after the break. Maybe my constant commentary on the game has worn them down, or perhaps they had to leave for the snow. Cheap shot! Though the crowd is a bit thinner then I might have expected. Anyhow, the Dees return with more endeavour and get the early goal, albeit from another dubious free. Fortunately for us they miss an easy one from right in front, courtesy of a poor Lloyd kick out. From that point we take control again and Lloydy kicks a lovely running goal after some good linking play from Dean Towers, who is stepping up to the mark. Reidy is clunking marks and Bud is back to dobbing goals from in front of the Members. Five goals up at the last break, I think we’ve got them covered.

 

The last quarter is a bit of an arm wrestle, until Buddy provides one of those moments that will linger in the memory for many a day. The ball falls to him deep in the right pocket just in front of us. Bud drops it on his left boot and Daicos-like it snakes inside out along the ground as I follow its trajectory. It was never going to miss. It’s a pleasure to have this man in our team. He has played another outstanding game with four goals.
The rest is junk time. We practice our possession game and rack up the stats. It’s been an even performance from our boys. A solid 6 goal win. Newman and Melican continue to impress down back. Jones and Hewett are adding depth through the midfield. After such a terrible start to the season these boys are truly showing great resolve and determination to keep us alive in the finals race. Go Bloods!

 

Our votes: 3 Parker, 2 Franklin, 1 Kennedy

Postscript: AJ successfully completed a half of footy in Canberra, including a goal, in front of a number of the Swans squad who had flown in from Melbourne. Fingers crossed for a return to the ones later this year or in 2018.

 

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.

Comments

  1. Hi Keiran
    What a relief not having to wait until the dying moments this week! I don’t know why, but comparing (if you can) being there at the G and watching the replay, our dominance seemed so much more obvious in real time. Maybe that’s just me.

    We mustn’t take the Suns lightly!

    Looking forward to seeing AJ play on Saturday, and hopefully a big crowd turns up to cheer him in the ressies before the main game. An inspiration, indeed.

  2. Luke Reynolds says:

    Great write up Keiran.
    Will be a wonderful story if and when Alex Johnson makes it back to the Swan’s senior team. Really hope he gets there.

  3. Keiran Croker says:

    Jan, I agree. With the exception of the later part of the first quarter, we flogged them from start to finish. We just needed to convert better. Watching the replay later they made out that Melbourne were in the game. In reality they weren’t and they were disappointing. We need to keep bringing that endeavour each and every week, then we are a chance.

    I reckon that AJ’s return must have lifted them. Really looking forward to AJs progression back to the Ones … fingers crossed.

  4. tony miles says:

    Great win over casey scorpions

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