Round 16 – Geelong v Sydney Swans: Kerplunk!

Geelong v Sydney Swans


Geelong can win the flag, but it won’t

Machiavelli, The Prince


Nothing brings Geelong more prestige than great campaigns and striking demonstrations of its abilities. The opposite is also true.”

Some bloke on the terraces at Kardinia Park.



There are two types of people in the world; those who tell you that your fly is down, and those who don’t. Obviously Sydney is full of people in the latter group as I managed to walk from Mrs Macquarie’s Chair to Circular Quay with my fly at half-mast and no one gave me a hint. All I needed was a quiet “hey mate, man over board” and I would have been right. But nothing. Not a whisper. Strange mob in Sydney.


We have an exchange student from Orleans in France staying with us for a month, so the trip to Sydney from Melbourne was part of our efforts to give her a collection of the compulsory postcard shots in this part of the world; the Bridge, the Opera House and grossly over-priced ice creams in The Rocks. It was a wonderful few days. My mobile phone app told me we did about 20,000 steps per day as we walked the streets and parks. I have absolutely no idea what that means but the kids slept soundly at night.


We returned from Sydney, had a few days to recuperate then set off for the Geelong v Sydney Swans clash at Kardinia Park on Friday night, followed by a road trip down the magnificent Great Ocean Road across the rest of the weekend.


This would be Audrey’s (our guest) first live AFL game. I was talking it up enormously. The battle of two of the competitions heavy weights, a clash of the titans, a superb display of skill and toughness. She would love it. It would captivate her. The Cats on their home deck are a delight to watch etc, etc. I may have built it up a tad too much.


The Cats were as sloppy and soft as a Crème Caramel.


Before the game there was a gathering at The Lord for a feed and a few pre-game bevies. There were old mates everywhere. Old mate Pal, old mate Harmsy, old mate Flynny, old mate Annie, Pal’s old mate Kumpy and Pal’s older brother, old mate Mike Sheehan (well he wasn’t with us but he was there) and our old Sydney mate Mathilde, who had made the brave trek south. She was a lone Swan in a cluster of Cats but, like her football team, her work rate at getting around the group was top class.


The game itself was over after about 53 seconds. There was a stoppage in the Sydney forward 50, Kieran Jack grabbed the footy, tweeted his Mum, did his best James Dean impersonation and still had time to snap a goal over his right shoulder. The Cats defenders were sitting in a circle at centre half back finishing off a game of KerPlunk! Mitch Clark had climbed one of the goal posts at the other end of the ground as was yelling out “look at me!!” He didn’t come down until after the final siren.


At quarter time Chris Scott was furious.


“I’m furious” he was reported to have said to the players.


The Cats lifted. KerPlunk! was put away. After twenty minutes they’d kicked themselves into the lead. Audrey was looking half interested. It all seemed a bit dreamy because as fast as this ascendancy had arrived, it disappeared. The Swans went “bang, bang, bang” and went to half time two goals up. Geelong’s midfield left the ground playing scissors, paper, rock with each other.


The third quarter commenced with minimal crowd buy-in. The Crème Caramel was sitting heavily in our stomachs. “What a strange game” we were saying to each other. It was as though the Cats supporters had been to the top of the mountain and NOT seen the promised land. They were hushed, almost serene, like a man reconciled to the fact that he is going to the gallows. There would be no coming back from here. This was just plain old bad. The Swans played footy whilst the Cats started a game of duck, duck, goose. Motlop won when he hand-balled over his head, Errol Flynn style, straight to a Swans player who belted it forward to an open goal.


“I’m getting cold!” yelled Mitch Clark from his vantage point up the goal post. Hawkins pulled his pants up and crossed his arms. I guessed that they were playing with his footy, but he didn’t want to play anymore. He just wanted to go home.


I don’t recall too much of the last quarter. I was too busy looking at the concrete at my feet. But I could tell that the Swans were marching on. I’m told that a few Cats players made some mud pies and tossed them vigorously at any Swans player who ran past them. Faux effort. Soft minds. Hawkins got Bronx cheers when he held on to a mark on the lead (first time that’s happened for a month), someone for Geelong laid a tackle that stuck, and a maggot paid a free kick to Geelong but pointed the wrong way (poor bloke was confused because he’d hardly paid one of those all night).


We left the ground to the sounds of Swans supporters singing “Cheer, cheer”. Audrey was confused.


“Weren’t the Gats supposed to win?” she asked in the delightful French accent. I thought my answer was rather brilliant.


“Yes” I said.


In the morning we piled into the car and made our way through a deserted Geelong and down the Great Ocean Road to Apollo Bay and on to the Twelve Apostles. This drive and this coastline is totally and utterly magnificent. To hell with football. To hell with Geelong. Audrey wanted to stop every 5 minutes to snap another photo. I couldn’t blame her. I had the same urge even though I’ve been on this road plenty of times. There is something majestic, even mystical, about standing on the cliffs overlooking The Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge and feeling the wind lashing your face and smelling the sea salt in your nostrils. Perhaps the Geelong players need to come here; to understand how small and insignificant they are, to feel the forces of nature, and to ponder what makes greatness.




Dangerfield won KerPlunk!

Bartel won scissors, paper, rock.

Motlop won duck, duck, goose.


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About Damian O'Donnell

I'm passionate about breathing. And you should always chase your passions. If I read one more thing about what defines leadership I think I'll go crazy. Go Cats.


  1. Nice summation Dips. How I love the Great Ocean Road. Has anyone tipped the Cats correctly this year? Not sure I have.

  2. Rulebook says

    Great stuff Dips loved K Jack tweeting his mum and the sledging of M Clark and Hawkins
    Where did the old mate line for your group come from ? Great ocean rd is a incredible drive

  3. A great write-up, old mate.
    Sydney really showed up the Cats for what they are: le pretenders.
    The reliance on Monsieur Dangerfield and Monsieur Selwood is unhealthy in the extreme.
    Even against North, who were two midfielders down, it took a 48 possession game for Danger to get them over the line.
    And M Clark? He is just no good.

    Maybe some of us old mates will have to meet up at my place in Apollo Bay one of the days, to admire the beauty of the Ocean Road and the excellence of Luke Reynolds’ brewing skills.

  4. Trucker Slim says

    Great piece Dips, very funny and very lively. And yes, your answer to Audrey’s question was rather brilliant.

    Is Dangerfield masking the serious cracks appearing in the Cats team/game? He’s brilliant, yes. He certainly tore the Hawks a new one. But like Ablett at the Suns, I wonder whether that many possessions is really worth it if you haven’t anyone to work with.


  5. Pissed myself reading this Dips. Much like your Cats when the ball approached.
    I love talented footballers who consistently take the third of two options. We have one in Elliot Yeo. You have one in Cockatoo. Go short when a long bomb is required. Fly when you should crumb. Crumb when a spoil would have got the job done.
    Sometimes its just a youthful inexperience thing. We used to call Andrew Embley “the Red Setter” but he grew out of it.
    Every week I go along thinking that Yeo will make a big difference if “the penny has dropped”. Looks like he will be on a long leash for a while yet.
    SMotlop and LJetta have much in common. They want footy to be fun like when they were kids, not hard work and game plans.
    A succession of bosses had to rather forcefully convince me that’s not how the world works.
    Did you stop at Bell’s Beach on the way down so Audrey could admire your handiwork?

  6. Neil Anderson says

    Looks like the overpriced ice-creams at the Rocks weren’t so bad after all. And I assume the weather was a bit warmer than Corio Bay as well.
    I was at a café in the Rocks a few years ago and saw Carl Barron a few tables away. I had seen all his material on DVD’S and wanted to say hello. My wife held me back saying anything I said to him was likely to end up as part of his stage show.

  7. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    Perfect wrap Dips and a great night. So great to add you and the fam to the clowder.
    I love the Great Ocean Rd too but ‘la victoire? Elle est belle.’
    Allez les cignes!

  8. Yes, Dips, that’s how I remember it.

    The worst part of the whole scenario is that it was a ginormous let-down. It was a dud game.

    The Great Ocean Road is not a let-down, no matter what the conditions. Winter in the car, heater on and sun through the windows is a joy. It’s why driving in Ireland is also so atttractive.

    Interesting to see what the Cats’ next move is. They looked un-Geelong. Free them up, I say. Too constipated and concerned. No confidence. Unable to cope with the defensive brilliance of the Swans.

    My recommendation is that C Scott employs a coaching consultant. I have Stevie J’s card if needed.

    Great call from one Cats fan – in the train coming home. “They need Malcolm Blight back.”

    Other recommendation: get Dangerfield forward a bit more. Make the other midfielders responsible for winning the footy. He’s struggling with his goal kicking, but he would be hard to stop one-out inside 50.

  9. E.regnans says
  10. Peter Flynn says

    I could tell a brilliant piece like this was brewing.

    What game was the gaffer playing?

  11. There are several recently unemployed NSW greyhound trainers who may be able to help as Assistant Coaches. Old dogs that won’t jump when the lids open? Young dogs that run alongside each other and won’t chase?
    Tie a Sherrin covered in pig fat and fifties to the lure and problem solved. Bobby Davis is your uncle.
    Sadly some of the younger players on the list who have failed to thrive may need to be (humanely) put down with a trade to Fremantle.

  12. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Terrific piece Dips. Is it a case of the defence getting leg-weary ? Not much run off half back from what I saw. At least the Gats didn’t get your tongue or crap on your keyboard. Super writing.

  13. Unlike the game and result, a piece much better than some of the parts about which it’s written.

  14. Thanks for the comments. Love youse all.

    The Cats might be the great pretenders for 2016.

  15. Paul Spinks says

    Very good read, Dips. They should rename the Terrace the Almanac Knoll or something.

    I thought we were contenders after the North game, but things have plummeted somewhat since. Too much denial in-house, I think.

    I’m presently sojourning in Torquay, which is, these days, officially unofficially part of the GOR. It will extend all the way to Melbourne one day.

  16. Luke Reynolds says

    Superb Dips. So many great lines. Was a cracking game.

    An Almanac lunch at Smokie’s place in Apollo Bay sounds like a plan…

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