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Round 4 – Western Bulldogs v Sydney: Happy Birthday Banjo!

If you read my Round 4 article last year, you will know that I am not the biggest fan of school holidays. Being in year 10, it has become apparent that I need to start actually trying in my schoolwork, or else I will be completely deep fried by the time year 12 hits.


But today, I had other things planned. Just for today, I was able to escape from the firm grasp of studies. For one, my friend Banjo was holding a soiree for his 16th birthday (happy birthday to you my good friend), and also, the Swans were on!!! However, today I would be giving the game a miss for Banjo. After all, he does not really like Aussie Rules.


Every time I praise the game which is every Victorian’s favourite sport (of course, I am the only person in NSW that gives a stuff), Banjo will always say “Aerial ping-pong, mate”. To which I respond with a laugh, because I know deep down that it is by far the best sport of all time. But that doesn’t stop us from being best mates!!!


I arrive at Banjo’s house, and we have a good game of catch on his driveway. After an hour or so, we head back inside, which is by now packed with at least twenty people, wishing him a happy birthday. He responds gratefully. It is 5:00, so I take a very brief peak at the scores, and shock, horror, the Swans are down by 22 points!! Banjo takes a look at the score, and says “Yeahhh down with the Swans!!” He always tries to get on my nerves by saying this. What a lad!


Eventually, the Swans hit back through Lance Franklin (who else?), who kicks a couple of crucial goals to put us in a steady position in the third term, at the same time that I check my phone once more.


Banjo and his household are getting very excited for the Rugby 7s at the Commonwealth Games tonight. I am not the biggest fan, but when you are in that atmosphere, you cannot help but feel the same way!!!


I am hanging out with his family, feeling fantastic, when Banjo asks me “How are those Blood-Stained Coke Bottles going?” I cannot believe that I forgot about that game! I pull out my phone, and the game is going right down to the wire. I make use of the “Watch Live” feature on the AFL app, and I take my 15 minutes of preview time now. Banjo decides to watch on with me.


I was getting very animated, and at times, I felt like his family was looking at me like I was having cardiac arrest or something. That may well have been the case, as it is usually when I watch the Swans. With three and a half minutes remaining, the son of Dunkley is free and running back to an open goalsquare. I almost rip my hair out in frustration, and even Banjo can tell that this is a big moment. He starts celebrating, until Dunkley spills the pill!!! What is going on?


But the Dogs still create chances, and Luke Parker, who has been brilliant all day, thinks it would be ideal to kick it straight to Caleb Daniel. Who knows what was going through his head, but he would sure be glad that it did not end up costing us. So they were within a point of us with a minute remaining.


Enter two Sydney first-round draft picks. Heeney spirals a left foot bomb up towards centre-wing, and who should find himself in that space, but Ollie Florent. I have not been fully convinced with Florent in the few games he has played, but what he did was fantastic! Playing on immediately, he takes on young Tim English (who gets awfully close), and I know when he sizes up the big sticks, that the game is now won. He drills it through, and wheels away in celebration.


“NO!” says Banjo, and I say “Hurrahhhhhh!!!!” Florent, you champion!!!! The siren sounds on the win, and I put my phone away. Just in the nick of time too, because the dinner is also ready. The Rugby 7s starts, and the whole house is absolutely chockers. The noise when a try is scored is absolutely deafening!!! The atmosphere is palpable, and I cannot help but express my excitement. It is scary to think that this was just a pool match! Banjo almost blew his top with all the yelling!


So of course, the Swans won today, and that was pretty neat. But this day will not be remembered for that. Banjo was happy, and joined me in the 16 club. I was able to have a great time with him and his family. Happy Birthday to my best mate Banjo!


OUR VOTES: Parker 3, Macrae 2, Franklin 1


About Daniel Saunders

I have been an AFL fanatic and Swans supporter for most of my life, much to the dismay of those around me; they never hear the end of it! What else do you expect from New South Wales school life?

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