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Round 18 – Fremantle v Sydney: Slipping Swans See September Slip Away



By Caspar McLeod.
Fremantle v Sydney Swans.
20/7/2019. Optus Stadium.


It’s been a great month or so for sports in general, with the United States national women’s team winning the soccer World Cup (their fourth), Wimbledon delivering trophies for the Joker and for Halep, New Zealand’s hearts being broken by England in an all-time classic, and the NRL and AFL seasons hurtling twoards their conclusions. In the NRL, Melbourne is once again the cream of the crop. Their AFL namesakes are not. With all of these magnificent sporting matches, tonight’s game… promises to not be in the same tier in terms of a spectacle. Still, it’s a game between two desperate teams, and this AFL season has shown that a game between two desperate teams can be brilliant.


Sydney’s season, mathematically, isn’t over. Neither is Fremantle’s. For both teams, the rest of the year has to be flawless, while also relying on teams above them to falter. For my Swans, we’ve just re-signed our coach. Fremantle may be on the verge of getting rid of theirs.


It’s a tight season and anything can still happen. However, last week was disastrous for both teams; Fremantle were horrid like they always are down in Tasmania while we were shocked by the Blues. Should be an interesting game.


(Yes, I could have written on my Bombers’ victory against the Crows, but I was too excited to write. That was a great win, though, wasn’t it?).


First term. There is a healthy amount of red and white among the purple sea in the crowd. The ones in purple are pretty happy as Brad Hill kicks the first of the game. Reid responds with our first. This game is entertaining early. Both teams butcher kicks inside-fifty. The ball lives between the arcs. Both teams miss chances, and the game becomes a deadlock. I’m tempted to turn it onto the North-Brisbane game, but I don’t because I don’t leave my team like that regardless of what’s happening, and North are winning (their score lives on the bottom right corner of the screen), and I don’t want to watch North winning. Besides, we are winning this game! No reason to change the channel. I would feel better if we kicked straighter, though. McCartin fails to make me feel better by missing. Sydney by three points at quarter time, although, as Pavlich says, we “should be” up by six goals.


Second term. Aliir saves a goal from Sandilands with a brilliant effort. Would love to buy him a cup of coffee one day. Fremantle grab back the lead with a brilliant goal to Conca. Luke Parker kicks a brilliant goal (there is something about that stadium which brings the magic out of him). Sydney in front. Conca nearly does it again when he receives a bullet-like handball from Mundy (Happy Birthday). Mundy ties it up with a neat shot from the boundary that misses by this much. Sydney is playing sloppily this term. Freo are letting us off easy in this term, in a reverse of the first quarter. Matera misses another one for the Dockers. Papley makes the purple men pay by kicking his first and giving the lead back to the Sydney-siders. I looked away earlier when Fox took his mark of the year contender. The replay shows that it was, indeed, a brilliant mark. Reid repeats his first quarter heroics with a kick from fifty which nearly scores a point. Thankfully, it goes through the middle of the two big uprights. Sydney by ten points. Fox takes a mark forty out or so, and makes it a sixteen point lead. Rory Lobb brings the margin back to ten. And that is how it stands as the siren sounds. Imagine if both teams had kicked straight during that quarter? Both teams would be around fifty points or so.


Third term: McCartin just misses. Reid also misses, this time more comfortably. Not much else is happening early. Lobb changes that with another goal. Sydney by six points. Lobb does it again, this time with a strong mark in the goal square. Scores are level. Lobb then takes a strong mark in defensive fifty. C’mon Sydney! Early on, the commentators were saying how much the third term mirrored the first in terms of Sydney domination for no reward. Well, the script has sure flipped. Matera kicks a miraculous goal and Fremantle are back in front. Darcy takes a mark in the goal square, his opponent disadvantaged by the fact that Darcy is a man mountain. He kicked it like a ruckman, straight into the post. Freo by seven points. That how it stands entering the last quarter. UGH.


Final term: Not a good start in the final term as Freo win it from the centre, resulting in a goal to Michael Walters. Sydney players again slip over. It’s almost as if this game is being played in Reykjavik winter instead of Perth winter. Luke Parker wins a free kick. He doesn’t do much with it. Next forward entry sees Reid take a mark. He kicks true. YES! We are back within seven. Blakey kicks another after our pressure smothers the Docker defence. Freo by a behind. They kick another behind. Freo by two. A massive collision between a Swan and a Docker stops the game. McCartin comes off second best, but eventually stands the mark. Both players get applauded by the crowd for their effort. Ten minutes to go, the score stands at 50-48, the locals with their noses in front. Heeney takes another spectacular grab in defence. Mundy gives away a free-kick, followed by a fifty-metre penalty, which results in a point to Sydney. Mundy breathes a sigh of relief. I groan in frustration. Dockers by a point. We kick another point. Scores are level again. Only 50 points a piece, but so gripping! 5:49 remaining. We are dominating play, but keep giving it back to them! Yet again, the purple men are doing the same. Parker takes a mark from a brilliant short kick. 2:30 on the clock, and… he kicks a point. We lead by that kick. Angus Brayshaw kicks a point from fifty out. Scores are level. Langdon kicks a behind. Freo by a point. HOW IS THAT NOT HOLDING THE BALL, UMPIRE!?! 55 seconds to go. Sydney get in inside 50. 32 seconds to go. Throw in. 15 seconds to go. Ball up. Ten seconds left. Freo kick it outside 50. Three seconds to go. Freo get it inside their forward fifty. Siren.


My Swans are done but will benefit long-term for playing as bravely as we did. We slipped a little too much, and turned the ball over too much, and didn’t take advantage enough of our dominance early, but still: brave. Fremantle, who looked dead last week, are still in the hunt for finals. Great game. Who said higher scoring games equal better contests?



FREMANTLE    1.1       3.6       6.7       7.10 (52)
SYDNEY           1.4       5.4       5.6       7.9 (51)

Lobb 3, B.Hill, Conca, Matera, Walters
Sydney: Reid 3, Parker, Papley, Fox, Blakey


Hamling, Lobb, Conca, Mundy, Walters, Ryan, Darcy
Sydney: Lloyd, Parker, Reid, Blakey, Papley, Hewett


 Lobb (shoulder)
Sydney: Nil


Reports: Nil

Umpires: Rosebury, Gavine, Harris

Official crowd: 33,594 at Optus Stadium



Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


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About Caspar McLeod

Third Culture Kid at Heart. Grew up in Asia, discovered footy at age 9. AFL has since been my burning passion. Ask me who were the winners all the grand finals between 1938 and last year's decider, and I'll be happy to tell you. I'm a footy nut with a passion for writing and acting. All though I love writing and acting, during the footy season, AFL is my true passion. Waiting ever so patiently for the day when Essendon Next win the flag.

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