Round 17 – Sydney v Brisbane: Dr Terence Elliot and a Fitzroy Lost Boy in the shadow of the Tigers

Sydney v Brisbane

6:10pm, Saturday September 13

Cazaly Stadium



All the talk is Richmond at the moment. I genuinely had to double check that we were playing Sydney tonight. The Tiges bared their teeth this week, not just to a couple of late-night souvlakis, but Geelong and the entire football world at large. There was some genuine discussion online today about exactly when it would be best for Brisbane to lose to Richmond during the finals. I mean, which week. Best to finish second, have them finish third and get rolled by them first up, that way, with the double chance, Brisbane would get another go. That seemed to be the consensus. There’s some deep wisdom beneath that sort of chin scratching stupid.


There was a bloke who once went to the doctors. Said, ‘Doc, whenever I lift up my arm like this it really hurts, what’s your recommendation?’ The doctor pondered this in a similar way to the commentators who were mulling over exactly which would be the best final for Brisbane to be defeated in and responded, ‘stop lifting your arm up like that I guess.’ There’s some similarly deep wisdom from that doctor as well. I’m not sure if that’s an old joke or a storyline I remember from A Country Practice. With Brisbane’s injury list at the moment, we could do worse than throw Dr Terence Elliot into one of the staff maroon and blue polo tops for the next few weeks. But before we start to worry about Richmond’s Darth Vader, we had the small matter of an in-form and impressive young Sydney team to play.


In the steamy rain with a footy as slippery as some outdoor pool tiles, the first question is if Brisbane can play ugly enough to get the points. Despite being in a rebuilding stage, there are still some Sydney midfielders like Parker and Kennedy who play as hard as if they’ve been rendered by blacksmiths. With Jarrod Berry on the sidelines and the Swans well organised to sit on some of our midfield silk like Neale and McCluggage, it is Jarrod Lyons who is given the space to be our dominant midfielder. JL could honestly take some Brownlow votes from Lachie in quite a few games this year, perhaps an awkward amount such has been his stolid consistency. Cam Ellis-Yolmen worries the Swans in ways that small men, no matter how skilled they are, just can’t. It’s a different sort of engine room for Brisbane but it is heartening to see that an effective Plan B exists. CEY was brought to the Lions for games like this, and to my mind, tonight was his best game for Brisbane. He ran through contests like a backhoe. The first quarter would have been exactly what the Swans would have wanted.


Fages was quick to remind the press this week that the Lions are not the ‘Harris Andrews Football Club.’ In the Fox commentary box, Gerard Healy was quick to remind us that while his replacement, Jack Payne, was playing well tonight he would have one of Charlie Dixon, Josh Kennedy (the big bearded Eagle one), Tom Hawkins or Jack Riewoldt as a dance partner in week one of the finals. It’s hard for we Lions to be all Zen and live in the moment when the chatter is all about the troubles ahead.


The second quarter is a similarly muted struggle with some brief passages to savour, for different reasons. One such moment is when Dayne Zorko finds himself the nominated ruckman against Aliir Aliir. It’s sort of like going on holidays and leaving the front door wide open and with the key sitting in it to psychologically confuse the burglars. Like Zorko in the ruck, that probably isn’t recommended either. Aliir doesn’t overthink it and adds an easy ‘hit out to advantage’ to his stats. In a better moment for the Lions, Zac Bailey delivers the ball into the forward Lion before being crashed to the ground. He gets up, follows up, receives a handball and runs through a series of Swans defenders Last of the Mohicans style before giving Brisbane their third goal for the quarter. The Lions held a kick and a half margin at half time, as much through Sydney going scoreless in the second than anything Brisbane did themselves.


Apparently, the French get quite uppity about other countries using the term champagne for their sparkling wine. I feel a similar indignance watching Marc Murphy and now Nick Blakey. They are the lost boys of old Fitzroy who have never worn the colours, maroon and blue. Blakey has two beautiful moments in the third quarter. His left foot, something that must have a radar setting, finds Hayward twice for goals that make it a two-point game early in the last quarter. They don’t dominate, but it is Blakey and Aliir who have the most aesthetically beautiful moments of the game tonight. This has become a bit of a Brisbane trend of late, open up a decent lead to see it pegged back in the last quarter to just hold on.


What follows though is the Brisbane response that we have seen in patches this year, the early part of the second quarter against Geelong comes to mind. McStay has been authoritative tonight. He finds our lesser credentialed Cam (Ellis-Yolmen) for a quick reply. Coleman and Charlie quickly follow, crisis averted. Eric Hipwood then does something that should revive the Buddy Franklin comparisons. After someone’s speculative kick into the Brisbane forward line he out runs two opponents, scoops it on the bounce and then threads a goal that may just win him the car. Eric’s work rate has been impressive over recent weeks. With the game won, Zorko and Bailey finish with some junk time goals which gives the final score a margin that the contest never really had.


According to popular opinion, we have a final to lose to Richmond or Geelong or even Port Adelaide in the coming weeks. I get it. Richmond are the biggest story in town this week. Cobblers need to cobble. First though, we have Carlton in the last round. The Tiges have a Crows team that suddenly look ominous. Que sera, sera. Richmond can wait, who knows – maybe until next year?




SYDNEY          2.0      2.0      3.1      6.5 (41)
BRISBANE     1.1      3.3      5.4      11.7 (73)


Hayward 2, Papley 2, Parker 2
Brisbane: Bailey 2, Cameron 2, Hipwood 2, Coleman, Ellis-Yolmen, Lyons, McStay, Zorko


Parker, Lloyd, McInerney, Mills, Clarke, Cunningham
Brisbane: Lyons, Rich, McStay, Ellis-Yolmen, McInerney, Robinson 



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About Shane Reid

Loving life as a husband, dad and teacher. I'm trying to develop enough skill as a writer so that one day Doc Wheildon's Newborough, Bernie Quinlan's Traralgon and Mick Conlon's 86 Eliminatiuon final goal will be considered contemporaneous with Twain's Mississippi, Hemingway's Cuba, Beethoven's 9th and Coltrane's Love Supreme.


  1. Shane superb yes love the subtle digs early I reckon fatso the wombat from,Country practice could be useful as well

  2. With the Swans threatening five minutes into the last quarter, your mob thought “We’d better start playing some real footy!” Unfortunately, they did!

    I’m having my doubts about it being the Lions (with an asterisk) year, Shane. Usually takes more than a couple of years at the top. But you never know!

  3. Thanks Rulebook. I’m pretty clearly scraping the bottom of the Vegemite jar for inspiration to write about with these match reports. And end of season malaise perhaps.

    Jan thanks, they certainly need the stars to align. But still, ‘gather ye rosebuds while ye may’ as well

  4. Phillip Hill says

    ‘not just to a couple of late-night souvlakis”

    Love it.

    One of the best openings to a article I have read for a long time.

    Now I will read on

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