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Round 4 – Adelaide v Sydney: Gone in sixty seconds

I’m not going.

 

Undefeated in every game I’ve attended in Adelaide. Five wins out of five trips.

 

And I’m not going.

 

Exorbitant airfare prices means tonight’s report is coming from the front bar of The Warren View Hotel in Enmore. I’ve never watched a Swans game at the pub and it’s a bizarre feeling. Still there’s a good crowd in and I’ve scored a prime spot in front of the main screen. At least I’m not facing the prospect of having to shift seats to make room for the members like I’d have to at the Adelaide Oval.

 

All eyes and hype are on Tippett as it’s his first game against his former team on his old stomping ground. The crowd are expected to be giving it to him and I feel disappointed I can’t be there giving it back to the crowd. The big fella is going to be shouldering a lot of the ruck duties too since Sinclair’s out with an infected foot. McVeigh is back though and hopefully he’s match fit. The Enemy are in fine form too, defying the pundits who said they’d slide down the ladder this year.

 

The game gets off to a cracking start with Cunningham’s early goal. Manic pressure sees the ball mainly up in the forward half of the ground. Buddy has a case of the fumbles and is offline with his set shot. The Enemy outwit Richards to almost even the score but it’s not long before we’re in attack again. Heeney ducks and shimmy’s before dishing it off to McGlynn who bursts through for a goal. We keep the ball locked in for a bit but we turnover the ball allowing The Enemy to steam forward and score. However Hanners, Parker and Kennedy are running amok and we look to have a slight advantage until Buddy gives away a fifty by being in the protected zone. Straight after that it’s a push in the back and The Enemy is ahead. Jack cleans himself up running into The Enemy at a hundred miles an hour and shambles groggily off down the race. The Enemy slice through the corridor with ease, thankfully only for a behind. Up the other end Buddy’s still fumbling before McGlynn intercepts to run in for six points. The first siren doesn’t sound and disappointingly for all the effort we only go into the break with a slender lead.

 

It’s an intense second quarter with The Enemy upping up the ante. Grundy gets caught holding the ball and then our kick-in apparently doesn’t travel the required distance. Rampe’s pinged and The Enemy get a goal. On the other hand Heeney is having a blinder, taking strong grabs at will. Cunningham seems to have goaled but the score reviewer, no doubt working for The Enemy, says otherwise. The pub voices its displeasure. Meanwhile the Swans press on. Buddy fumbles again before finally taking a mark, playing on to goal. The Enemy turns up the heat with repeated inside fifties which thankfully only result in minor scores. Disturbingly our kick-ins have reverted to the bomb it out and hope style of last year. Finally we get some space and after a beautiful passage of play Buddy strolls in for a goal to stem the bleeding a bit. Two points behind at half time.

 

The third quarter is a blur. Heeney, playing out of his skin, gets two early goals. The Enemy get a lucky bounce of the ball through the sticks off a long kick. All the players look exhausted and are slipping on the dewy turf but The Enemy are keeping their feet and themselves in the game. Buddy scores easily and we’re getting our hopes up that the scoreboard will open up a bit. It certainly looks that way when Adelaide’s Public Enemy # 1 Tippett scores his first. But The Enemy aren’t going away and get two in return. Tippett gets his second and as the pub erupts I’m really wishing I was there. Buddy gets out the back for an easy goal. For all that it’s neck and neck on the siren.

 

Drinks go untouched in the final term. This is footy at its best. The Swans are throwing everything at the contest but handballs aren’t connecting and hurried snapped shots at goal go wayward. Down the other end our stalwart defence is under siege. It’s end to end stuff. Heeney goals. The Enemy responds. Was that hands in the back? Apparently not and we’re not happy about it. The Enemy bombs one downfield with no players within a country mile of the ball. Was that deliberate? Apparently not and it’s a wonder the screen isn’t torn down. Heeney scores again. We’re a goal from winning with time running out. Cunningham has the ball. Fifty seconds to go. Buddy’s open, storming down the middle of the ground. But Cunningham bombs it forward to nothing; turnover and The Enemy press again. Every player pours into our half back flank.

 

All bar one.

 

The Enemy have a man loose in the arc and an empty goal square. Accompanied by an appalled groan the ball tumbles over the pack straight to him. He wastes no time delivering the unfortunate coup de grace to a fantastic game.

 

It’s an honourable loss.

 

But I bet we’d have won if I’d have gone.

 

Comments

  1. Tom.
    A risky play.
    This must be a water-tight case for the Swans to pay your airfare next time.

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