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Round 5 – Sydney v GWS: Onwards to Round 6 please

 

 

This is our week I’m sure of it.

 

As the crowd roars over a fading Advance Australia Fair it feels good to be back at the SCG. I didn’t see last week’s game; Melbourne’s Channel 7, in a wonderful display of USA like coverage, decided that two non-Victorian teams didn’t warrant airing. But I’m back home now and Heeney, Tippett and Rohan are also back; the missing cogs that will see us awaken from our slumber. C’mon boys, give it to them.

 

The ball is bounced. A pack forms, Jones buried at the bottom. Sinclair wins the next ball up, tapping it down to Rohan who immediately sends a long ball into attack. Tippett dives in. The ball spills loose. Hannebury picks it up and quickly flicks it to Kennedy who puts on the boot. And goals from about thirty metres out. The team gets around him.

 

A nice start.

 

We win a free kick from the centre bounce. Rohan bursts through and is almost within striking distance when play is annoyingly called back. Kennedy retakes the free, booting the ball towards the edge of the fifty. Sinclair has his arms chopped and plays on with advantage, sending the ball towards Tippett who’s holding his ground against two Enemy players. With a strong grab, the big man marks and goals.

 

There’s a growing optimism in the stands. After the horror start to the season are we finally getting back on track?

 

Sinclair wins a free from the next centre bounce. With nothing immediately on he goes the safer option sideways to Mills. Jones presents himself and then the ball is sent wide to first gamer Melican. The Enemy has no possession yet. Melican sends a short one intending to hit Papley but The Enemy spoils the kick. As the ball hits the deck Hannebury slides in and with sleight of hand whips the ball out to Papley who slips into space to score a beauty off his right boot.

 

Perfect footy conditions at the SCG. A freakishly warm night. Three goals up. The confidence is growing. We’re in with a chance here.

 

The Enemy wins the centre bounce. Sinclair wins the ball back and sends a high looping ball off to the edge of the forward pocket. As the Swans swarm in The Enemy pushes the ball out and are pinged for deliberate. Reid measures his kick, carefully poking the ball to Tippett. The big man looks for options. Buddy is lurking behind him. Do it! Yes! Tippett hands it off, Buddy swings around and lets it fly. A magnificent goal. The crowd is on their feet cheering.

 

And.

 

Then.

 

Nothing.

 

Four goals in four minutes versus scoring only that many in the following hour. The game frustratingly slipping out of reach with each siren.

 

The Enemy is finely curated, one could say manufactured, team and they’ve got all the answers. But in some ways after that four-minute fireworks display the rest of the night is like watching someone slash their own patchy tyres in the vain hope the NRMA will turn up with brand spanking new ones. A numbing cocktail of forgotten footy basics. Take 70% handball, 20% kick to no-one, 10% hideous decisions, add a dash of evaporated tackling, shake mildly, strain and pour over ice. I’ll have another one of those if you don’t mind bartender!

 

There’s no confidence going forward. Where there should be hard run and presenting options the team looks fixed in place. Twenty disposals and not advancing any further than the back wing. Once the ball gets trapped in defence inevitably the only way it’s coming out is via the umpires running it back to the centre circle. Another six points of damage.

 

In all honesty, it looks like we’ve been found out. The new players are standing up admirably but without direction from experienced ones our game is falling apart. Grundy cops a knock and is eventually swung forward. Melican’s on his own down back, we’ve no idea where Smith has shambled off to.

 

Still, at least the crowd are consistent. Groaning with every missed pick up, loudly pondering what game the umpires are officiating, posting sound coaching advice. My wi-fi picks up the Swans interchange bench link. I start punching in passwords (gettippettoffground, whereiskeiranjack?, forwardsnotbackwards) but the connection remains frustratingly off-limits. Up in the box Horse is as sphinx like as ever.

 

Late in the last quarter Buddy’s 800th goal is applauded by whoever is left. It’s a fantastic feat but the circumstances feel wrong.

 

Idle speculation as we head into the night. A spell in the twos for this player. Where was plan B? Do we have plan A let alone B?

 

Maybe next week then.

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. I’m sure Sydney’s form will turn around next week. Their round six opponent should hold no fears. Sadly, all good things must come to an end. The 0 and five start has been an unexpected, and richly desrved pleasure!

  2. Earl O'Neill says:

    Great work, Tom, the line about tyres is a beauty.

  3. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says:

    That about sums it Tom! Beautifully. You almost could have ended this piece at
    And
    Then
    Nothing.

    I’m feeling somewhat better as the losses accrue. Like when you’re still on the see saw you want it to work. But once you fall off, we’ll it’s just over. Round 5 was the fall and the grazed knee I think. I’m sure I won’t feel that way by the end of the week. Cheer cheer.

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