Round 7 – GWS v Brisbane: One week at a time in lady liberty’s new heartland




My Lions from suburban Melbourne found a footballing refuge in Brisbane long before it became the popular thing to do. The events of this week make one wonder just what it would actually take to bring a stop to the AFL season. Like the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the AFL has declared the global pandemic a mere ‘flesh wound’ and have sought a safe haven to continue fighting. It seems in these laden times, the only certainties are death, taxes and the AFL ensuring that the show goes on. Whatever it was that got rid of the dinosaurs, you can almost bet that it wouldn’t stop an AFL season from finding a way to keep going.


Queensland premier Anastasia Palaszczuk, lady liberty herself, rolled out the red carpet to Brother Gillon’s AFL travelling salvation show. Like New York City’s Statue of Liberty, the premier has opened her borders to the wretched refuse of Victoria’s teeming shore. Welcomed the homeless, tempest-tossed Tigers, Blues and Bombers and lifted her lamp to the masses of Kangaroos, Saints and Bulldogs who are also yearning to breathe free. You’ll forgive an old Royboy a brief moment to enjoy the irony. Fitzroy were shunted up to the sunshine state permanently at the end of 96; North will now be sharing digs with the Gold Coast team Andrew Demetriou once hoped they would become and, the ‘Noosa Saints?’ Well, there’s worse ports in a storm isn’t there. Queensland – beautiful one day, the new footy heartland the next.


Lions and Swans fans of a certain vintage learned long ago that the term ‘footy heartland’ is more of a state of mind than some place you find on the map. If the Lions weren’t a realistic chance of winning every week, I’d almost be thinking that there’s more important things going on in the world at the moment than football. What’s even stranger perhaps is that the Lions and Suns aren’t even in Queensland at the moment. No worries though lads, there’s a spare key to the Gabba hidden underneath the pot plant next to the main gate, help yourself to whatever’s in the fridge, the Wi-Fi password is Fages1961. We’ll be back as soon we can.


When the AFL wasn’t busy just surviving, it was expanding. It is easy to be cynical about the GWS Giants but beneath the strategic policy documents, the charcoal and orange and the marketing plans there is a good old-fashioned footy team. Just as VCE English students may be asked in their essays to find a sense of humanity in Victor Frankenstein’s monster, footy fans can find much to begrudgingly salute in the ‘Big, Big, Sound’ with the team attached. The Lions are developing a rivalry with the Giants which isn’t quite at Bulldog proportions but still has a bit of sting in it. They just pipped us in the Qualifying Final last year and no matter what Jeremy Cameron goes on to achieve in his career, for us he will always be the mongrel who poleaxed Harris Andrews. There’s also a lot to play for today. If Brisbane really are to be a contender, they need to prove that falling asleep at the wheel against Geelong last week was a one-off, but losing today with Richmond next week would put a real question mark against the Giants even making the finals, let alone being premiership contenders.


After a first quarter score of 1.6 last week it is nice to start with a goal to the unfashionable but remarkably consistent Jarryd Lyons. It sparks a first quarter flurry with Zorko, Linc McCarthy and Lachie Neale following to give us the first four goals. Fages has sent the same team that lost to Geelong into battle today, but he has set up the chess board a little bit differently this afternoon. Charlie is roaming a up the field and Lachie seems to be drifting deep into the forward line. He plays himself into the game today after what has been an exciting but inconsistent start to the year. He tends to lurk and roam in the forward line making something out of nothing and nothing out of something in equal measure. But he has his eye in today and finds goals, not out the back of packs as he normally does but Jason Dunstall style – lead out, chest mark and then kick a goal. His other goal is classic Charlie, amidst congestion he snaps the ball so quickly it genuinely pixelates my iPad screen. Even in the slow motion replay I blink, and I miss it. The Giants have this uncanny ability today to find a goal from a Brisbane error and then immediately back it up with another one based on their class. Taranto, Himmelberg, Finlayson and Jeremy Cameron keep them in it during the first half.


There are some moments to savour. Jeremy Cameron tackles one of the Brothers Berry (Jarrod) like a man possessed, something about us seems to bring out the Rambo in him. But our new JB bounces straight back up and is involved in the next two passages of play. In the half time interview, the Fox Footy commentators declare us premiership favourites again. Fages gently reminds them that we were leading at half time last week as well. Coniglio’s form has been criticised this week but Brisbane has a happy knack of helping guns from other teams find form. He is probably the game’s dominant midfielder today. Their Cameron, Jeremy, finds a goal followed immediately by Taranto again – it’s eerily similar to last week, this was the stage in the third quarter where Geelong flicked the switch.


The second half follows the same pattern. Brisbane kick away before being pegged back by some quick goals to the Giants. Like trams, their goals seem to take forever but then they find one before another immediately follows. Brisbane have had an awkward tendency all year to either dominate the play or be dominated, I can’t remember a time where we have gone goal for goal in a tight tussle. GWS aren’t the first team to be able to score quickly against us. It is another Cameron, Rayner, who continues his great run of recent form by taking a pack mark and then icing the goal. Probably his career highlight until he dribbles an astounding goal through from the boundary line just moments later. There is a lot to like about Brisbane today; their quicksilver ball movement befuddles the cameraman on more than one occasion.


It’s nice to get the win. Footy feels like an indulgence at the moment with so many Victorians in lockdown and genuinely suffering. The Lions are on the plane back to Queensland as I write this for what looks like the majority of if not the entirety of the season now. The unusual circumstances of the year look like giving us a Collingwood or Richmond like fixture of games in our home state. Next week, we play Melbourne in their home game in Queensland. But if 2020 has taught the world anything, it’s best to take things one week at a time – in football and in life.



Read more entertaining match reports from Shane Reid HERE.



GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY               2.3       4.4       8.5       10.8            (68)
BRISBANE                                                     4.4       7.5       10.6     13.10          (88)


Greater Western Sydney:
 Himmelberg 3, Taranto 2, Cameron 2, Finlayson, De Boer
Brisbane: Cameron 2, Rayner 2, Bailey 2, Zorko, Neale, McCarthy, Lyons, Hipwood, Martin, McCarthy


Greater Western Sydney: 
Coniglio, Whitfield, Perryman, Taranto, Kelly, Cameron
Brisbane: Andrews, Zorko, Bailey, Cameron, Neale, J.Berry 



Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


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About Shane Reid

Loving life as a husband, dad and teacher. I'm trying to develop enough skill as a writer so that one day Doc Wheildon's Newborough, Bernie Quinlan's Traralgon and Mick Conlon's 86 Eliminatiuon final goal will be considered contemporaneous with Twain's Mississippi, Hemingway's Cuba, Beethoven's 9th and Coltrane's Love Supreme.

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