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Round 23 – Sydney Swans v Gold Coast: Predictable in their unpredictability

 

If there’s one certain thing with the Swans it’s their randomness.

 

Take Saturday night’s game. What I thought would have been a relatively sort of ‘paint by numbers’ affair aimed at celebrating some milestones, get Buddy some match fitness and freshen up our finals form ended in a somewhat different place.

 

The plan started off on track with the Swans dominating the first quarter in possession and corralling The Enemy into their back half. Those ‘Heen Machine’ banners got a good shake when Goodes connected with the youngster for an early goal. Reid was up and about with a strong mark although his attempt on goal curved off for a behind. Kennedy took a great one hander and scored a major. Reid and those ‘Mr Tickle’ arms of his made another appearance but with another behind it looked as if he was having one of those nights.

 

Naturally Buddy was under scrutiny anytime he went near the ball but he seemed to be playing cautiously, leaving the forward action to Tippett and Towers and co. Still with Kennedy and Hannebery both contributing to the scoreboard we had the firepower. Rohan and Heeney clearly have no sense of self-preservation, hurling themselves into contests with Kamikaze abandon. The Enemy, perhaps excited by the prospect of an empty goal, hit the post. Late in the quarter everything seemed under control with the Swans once again threatening another goal. Until we looked downfield and saw what everyone dreads going into finals, a player hobbling around clearly in trouble. Kieran Jack’s knee had taken a serious knock and even as Cunningham put us thirty seven points up our tough captain was hustled off stage left.

 

Typical Swans luck was the general consensus in the stands.

 

The appearance of Jetta in the second quarter signalled the end to Jack’s night. And with that the wind seemed to go out of the Swans’ sails. Whether a sense of self-preservation took over or the captain’s absence dented the Swans’ morale the tide turned The Enemy’s way. Play reverted back to that maddening ‘handball to the man under pressure’ style so prevalent in the early rounds. Players started slipping over more. We weren’t exactly going backwards with Tippett and Cunningham booting goals and Goodes barrelling through the pack towards the posts, but the drop off in effort effectively handed The Enemy the second quarter.

 

It was a similar story for most of the third with the defence heading for Turnover City. Had The Enemy been more accurate they might have overtaken us. As it was our lead was cut to fourteen points and it was looking like we might get rolled. The Enemy claimed miss of the year at point blank range. Disappointment rippled through our section as Shaw started limping early in the third. Rohan seemed to have gone missing for a long time. A fan in our section even started booing our players only to be pulled back into line by the surrounding crowd. Mind you this bloke is so hard to please I’m half convinced he’s one of the coaching staff. One more mistake from the boys I thought and he’ll either have a stroke or burst into flames.

 

Back on ground Buddy got free out back but being rustier than the Titanic managed to miss the lot. However it sparked a minor revival of form and after two quick goals to Reid and Heeney we went into the final break somewhat steadier.

 

A nice combination of Goodes to Buddy, an overhead flick back to Goodes and goal set the tone for the last quarter. The pendulum swung back in our favour with seven majors to the Enemy’s two. At one point Rhyce Shaw even looked like troubling the scoreboard. Loudly encouraged by the crowd the veteran, playing his final ever game at the SCG, lined up outside the fifty. Sadly he took the sensible option and dished off to someone in the pocket. In the dying minutes, as if to prove a belated point, Buddy took a juggling mark and nonchalantly kicked the final score of the night.

 

Our little section of the O’Reilly Stand hung around soaking in the win and applauding the players before bidding each other and the SCG a fond farewell for another year. We’re in the finals again which is a hell of lot better than facing a long spring and summer waiting for the season to start again.

 

Who knows how we’ll go but it’s the unpredictability of it all that keeps me coming back for more.

 

MATCH DETAILS:

 

SYDNEY SWANS:  6.3  9.7  11.11  19.13 (127)

GOLD COAST:  0.2  6.3  7.7  9.10 (64)

 

GOALS:

Sydney: Cunningham 3, Reid 3, Heeney 2, Kennedy 2, Towers 2, Tippett 2, Goodes, Hannebery, Rampe, Mitchell, Franklin.

Gold Coast: Lynch 2, Dixon 2, McKenzie 2, Stanley, Garlett, Kolodjashnij.

 

Umpires: Brown, Ryan, Jeffery

 

Crowd: 25, 424 at the SCG

 

 

About Tom Bally

Born in 1834 Tom Bally was instrumental in establishing the rules of the modern game. It's a little known fact and the rare times he talks about it all he'll say is "that bloody Wills chap got me full of grape one night and the next thing I know he's peacocking around Richmond Paddock like he dreamt up the whole thing on his lonesome. Still I got the last laugh didn't I eh? Introducing the Umpire and all that."

Comments

  1. Peter Fuller says:

    Tom,
    I was surprised when I read the introduction to your post and the theme – unpredictability – which ran through it. Perhaps it’s been true of this year, but my recollection of 2014 was of the Swans’ metronomic consistency. They played to a standard which enabled them to win against most opposition, occasionally lower their colours to the best (typically by a narrow margin). The spectacular exceptions to this pattern was the first and last game of 2014, when the Giants and Hawthorn took advantage of what I considered un-Swans like performances.
    That’s also been my impression over the last two decades, that Sydney (almost) always give their supporters a great sight, and offer that reassuring certainty that the Bloods will not cave easily.

  2. Peter Flynn says:

    G’day Tom,

    Big test this week.

    Looking forward to seeing your young Old Mate Heeney continue on his amazing trajectory.

  3. Hopefully Heeney has a blinder especially given the latest news out of Moore Park….

  4. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says:

    Mr Tickle arms – spot on Tom. It’s just such a shame he has Mr Bump feet!
    Go Bloods. Cortinas once again.

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