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Round 7 – Sydney v Essendon: New Kid On The Block

 

In 1988, my eight-year-old world was turned upside down when Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, Jordan and Jonathan Knight and Danny Wood burst on to the musical scene. Together, they formed the boy-band sensation – New Kids On The Block. Their intoxicating mix of rapping skills, dancing ability and showmanship had me, and my Year 3 mates, immediately impressed. Equally impressive was the group’s fashion style. Bandanas, pork-pie hats, ripped denim and bomber jackets represented a rebellious style that only existed in my dreams.

 

When my ninth birthday rolled around I gladly received a little bit of cold, hard cash to spend however I saw fit. The New Kids On The Block had such an influence on me that I had changed hairstyles to reflect the step-cut that the lads wore with such an effortless cool. So, the next step seemed obvious – I had to have the album! My older sister had recently procured a ghetto blaster fully equipped with a cassette deck, so off to the record store I bopped, my shiny new step-cut bouncing along with every stride, and a brand-spanking new copy of ‘Hangin’ Tough’ was soon in my possession – my first ever album purchase.

 

In 2016, the football world has been turned upside down as Isaac Heeney has burst on to the scene. His debut season delighted, but this year – his second, at just twenty-years of age, has seen the emergence of a bona fide superstar. Isaac Heeney is the Sydney Swans’ new kid on the block. He is a super-sleek operator who is learning his craft at an incredibly rapid rate. His showmanship and sense of adventure for one so young, has created a commotion rarely seen among the experts in the game. Strap yourselves in, Swans fans – this will be one helluva ride.

 

His partnership with Buddy Franklin has ignited the competition, and despite this match beginning with both teams cracking in hard, and both midfields showing an appetite for destruction, this pair of flamboyant and destructive footballers work tirelessly together with a synergy not seen in many combinations. A recent sabbatical has refreshed and galvanized Buddy, returning to the game at the very peak of his powers. Together, they are a lethal combination. In my mind, we may just be viewing the most charismatic coupling since Hall & Oates.

 

Kennedy, Hannebery and Parker square up to the Enemy’s onball brigade, which now includes ex-Swan Craig Bird. Courage and toughness are required in equal measure as the centre-square of the SCG is no place for the faint-hearted. The Swans have started the season in destructive form, with just one loss thus far. The Enemy’s plight has been well documented, but the AFL’s version of ‘The Replacements’ have shown plenty of ticker thus far, and will be looking to spoil the party. In a competitive first half, they look as though they might.

 

Our new kid on the block, our favourite blonde since Capper, has been lively and his combination of hardness, cleanness and brashness provides compelling viewing. His uncanny ability to leap for contested marks near goal, when recruited as a midfield maestro, must be providing Coach Longmire with some much-welcomed headaches. For the moment, Horse, let’s just leave him to his own devices. It worked for the New Kids On The Block in 1987, when the band were dissatisfied with the excessively bubblegum-pop sound of their first album, and demanded to have more input on their look, direction and song material.

 

The second half begins and the Swans launch their very own charge of the light brigade. After what has been a tense and closely fought beginning to the match, the red and whites pile on the power and the goals flow. Ramps, Macca and Zak are firing the footy up the end with increasing ease. Joey, Tommy and Hanners are dominating at the contest, and our irrepressible headline acts are backed by a supporting cast that includes Tippo, Kizza and Paps up forward. It’s a barnstorming finish from the Bloods as another big win ensues at home in front of adoring fans.

 

Assessing the ‘career-best’ single from my beloved boyhood idols is a tough gig. Much like their first ever tour around the New England states, performing wherever their manager could book them: in bars, school dances, and seedy nightclubs. But, I’ve narrowed it down to three (please note the examples of lyrical genius):

Hangin’ Tough – Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, Hangin’ tough.

You Got It (The Right Stuff) – Oh, oh, oh, oh,oh. Oh, oh, oh, oh. Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh. The Right Stuff.

Step By Step – Step by step, oh baby, gonna get to you girl. Step by step, oh baby, really want you in my world. Step! Step! Step! Step by step!

Brilliant.

 

Assessing Isaac Heeney’s career-best night (thus far) is a much simpler task. For the first time in his burgeoning career he kicked five goals, having kicked four on three previous occasions. He grabbed nine marks and compiled eleven contested possessions to mark his highest tallies in those key areas, during his time as a Blood. Twenty-two possessions overall and an abundance of pressure acts in the forward half ensured that his was indeed the starring role. Much to my surprise, the New Kids On The Block’s stint at the top of the pop world was far too brief. Something tells me that our own NKOTB, is here to stay. He’s got it – The Right Stuff.

 

Sydney 20.15 (135)

Essendon 7.12 (54)

Goals:

Sydney – Franklin 6, Heeney 5, Tippett 2, Papley 2, Jack 2, McGlynn, Hewett, Sinclair.

Essendon – Zaharakis 2, Fantasia, Brown, Bird, Simpkin, McKernan.

Best:

Sydney – Heeney, Franklin, Kennedy, Hannebery, Parker, Mitchell.

Essendon – Zaharakis, McDonald-Tipungwuti, Dempsey, Brown.

Umpires – Nicholls, Edwards, Fleer.

Crowd – 29,527 at SCG.

 

About Joe Moore

Learned the art of the drop-punt from Derek Kickett as Jamie Lawson watched on. And thus, a Swan for life. @joedmoore1979

Comments

  1. Nice one, Joe. I’ve been telling the Swans since he played his first game that they should bring out the ‘Isaac Heeney Beanie’.

  2. Joe Moore says

    Cheers, Gigs. I think the beanie would be a hit! In fact, I think anything that they put his name to would be at the moment.

  3. Keiran Croker says

    When I was up at the SCG for a game last year, a Novacastrian from Heens old Club told me that he (Heeney) had been told that he was not allowed to cut his hair. The flowing gold locks are a marketers dream.

  4. Joe Moore says

    Not surprised Keiran. The kid is a marketing dream… I’m sold!

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