Round 19 – GWS Giants v Melbourne: The Sweetest Thing

You stand out when you wear orange.

It’s a lovely sunny day in Greater Western Sydney as we make our way to the station to catch the train to Skoda.  For once we aren’t alone.  There’s another orange guernsey at the ticket machine and another at the ATM.

We attract stares as we buy our coffee.  We see some acquaintances who joke about our lack of wins.  “Maybe today” we tell them.

On the platform there’s another in his charcoal polo.  Another in his 2013 Members hat.  At each station more come aboard.  Two older gentlemen, in their 2012 membership hats, engrossed in conversation about last week’s game, follow us onto the platform as we change for a connecting train.  Still more board the sprint to Olympic Park.  You can’t avoid seeing us.  We don’t exactly blend in.

For the first time I’m walking in a predominantly orange crowd from the station to the stadium.  Today feels different.  Just as the boys have started to really click on the field, maybe our little Orange army is coming together.

We take our usual seats in the Members Reserve in time for the warm-up.  The crowd is building and it’s orange.  We’re louder than usual when the siren goes and the ball is bounced.  We’re shouting at the Umpire (and again, and again) with the confidence of people who know we’re being hard done by and why.

“I don’t like this” my husband confides when we’re back to the centre after Melbourne’s second goal.  “We’re getting caned by the Umpires and Melbourne will end up walking all over us.”

I shrug it off, but up there in the stands we’re nervous.  We can feel a win: it’s due and deserved after our recent performances.  But if we’re nervous, what sort of pressure must some of these young men feel?  It’s been a year since they’ve won; some haven’t won a game in their career.

But we then string together three goals to end the quarter with a four point lead.

We clap.  Today can still be the day.

The quarter time huddle breaks apart and the crowd cheer the team on as they go to their spots on the ground.  And we cheer, how we cheer, as we keep Melbourne at bay.  A goal to Giles after the half-time siren and we are on our feet, cheering them into the rooms.

The third quarter is tighter; Melbourne has lifted.  But we’re not letting them get away with it.  If we can hang onto Collingwood at the G, no way Dees; not in our backyard.

The camera pans around the ground and focus on the fans’ signs.  Two little girls in supporters’ gear hold up their “Who needs Buddy? We (heart) Jezza” and the ground announcer reads it out.  The fans nod sagely, even though Jezza’s been a bit quiet so far.

Fourth quarter fades are something we are used to.  But not today boys, please not today.  We need to to tell Melbourne that it’s our day and they’re not waking from their nightmare just yet.

And we do.  Coniglio has discarded the green vest and Toby takes the red.  Cogs stands up right at the start. Scully shows he doesn’t need the crowd booing to turn in a blinding performance.  Callan Ward lifts his game to an even higher level.  He’s been an inspirational leader week in, week out, but his game today deserves all six Brownlow votes.  We rise with him as he pumps up the crowd after goal number four.  When the siren sounds there is an almighty roar.  The song is played over the PA system five times.  We’re singing, we’re jumping, we’re clapping.

We are not just happy, we are ecstatic.

Master 6 has run down to the fence, high fived Tim Mohr and run back to tell us.  We watch the boys sing the song on the big screen and then the crowd floods onto the ground for kick to kick.

As we wait on the platform for the train home we strike up a conversation with a fellow Giant.  We’re happily recalling the deeds on the field and smiling about what’s going to come in the years ahead.

Sometimes when the anticipation has been building it overshadows the feeling you have when the longed for event occurs.  But not tonight.  We’ve been waiting for a year and it is the sweetest feeling.  And it’s all the more sweeter for it being shared with comrades in orange.

About Kath Presdee

Just a suburban girl, just a suburban girl. Lawyer by day, wife and Mum by night. I experience the agony and the ecstasy of sport, having followed Cronulla all my life, the Brumbies all their life and as a foundation member of the Giants.

Comments

  1. Pamela Sherpa says:

    Kath, I was just watching the cricket in England on TV and there was someone in the crowd wearing a Giants jumper. HOW COOL IS THAT?

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