Spirits High, Goal Achieved

As part of our unit 2 of Outdoor and Environmental Studies, we are forced to travel up to the high country, hike with ridiculous snow gear on, pitch a tent and freeze our asses off. But don’t get me wrong, I love the outdoors and challenging myself to an adventure, but does it have to be at the snow? Really? I mean why couldn’t they pick a better destination like Queensland or Fiji? Anyway there is a lot of preparation involved. Choose foods with carbohydrates. Make sure to waterproof your sleeping bag. Make sure to layer your clothes. And for God’s sake don’t wear any cotton! All these rules and tips are doing my head in! One of the first and most important rules to keep morale high is to “Keep your spirits high and keep motivated. Always work to towards your final goal.”

This rule can also be applied to the Sydney V Saints game I had the pleasure of watching the other day.

After a very poor performance against Richmond the other week, I was starting to doubt Sydney’s performance. Their last few games had been a disgrace, and I hadn’t felt satisfied with a win in a long time. The Saints, who had been in ripping form recently, had won 6 of their past 7 games. Swans on the other hand were abysmal last week at the hands of Richmond, and hadn’t experienced a fulfilling win in a while. If form was anything to go by, St Kilda would be looking for an easy win. The game was played out at ANZ Stadium in Sydney. The Swans welcomed back Spangher, Rohan, White, and Malceski in turn of Kennelly and Roberts-Thompson. In the Saints, Baker and Lynch replaced Koschitzke and Dawson.

The boys knew today was like a virtual final, and both teams realised that their finals hopes would be affected by today’s result. Significant amounts of rain over Sydney recently caused the ANZ surface to become slippery. After the first two minutes, Rhyce Shaw bobbed up in the forward line and snapped his fourth goal for the season. There were a lot of stoppages and the whole play was congested. Sydney was on the attack early, but their scores couldn’t match their inside 50’s. Armitage took advantage of this and scored a snap from 50. Riewoldt, who had nothing go his way so far, was gifted a free kick and converted. Goddard too scored from a free kick. The Saints led into quarter time by 10 points.

“Keep your spirits high and keep motivated. Always work to towards your final goal.”

It’s funny how fat a post can be sometimes. Goodes and Bolton both failed to score, thanks to the post. And as if their luck couldn’t get any worse, Bolton’s soccer goal was disallowed after an incorrect call from the umpires. To make it hurt even more, Milne lined up and kicked through to put the Saints up by 13 points. Again and again more behinds were scored. Jesse White, who had been playing for his career, bombed one which was rushed over the line to make it one goal and ten behinds. Inaccurate kicking had been the Swans downfall of this year. Shortly after Riewoldt took an amazing contested mark and then kicked straight. It was an interesting contest between Riewoldt and Richards. Both had made mistakes, but both were making their mark on the game. Finally the goals seemed to widen, when Spangher set up for Reid in a dangerous spot and O’Keefe crumbed the spillage and snapped a goal. From then on, most of the ball was on Sydney’s attacking half. But this proved to be costly. Milne at centre half back went long to Schneider who simply popped the ball over to Gilbert who bent it back for a goal against the flow. Goddard had been getting a lot of the ball, and Jones too, had been tackling like a man possessed. St Kilda’s ball use had been much more efficient, and it showed on the scoreboard. With less than a minute before the main break, Jetta, at half back, went for a run before giving hands to Kennedy, who gave a short kick to White, who gave quick hands to speedy McVeigh who dribbled the ball through from 45 out. GOAL! The momentum was all with the Swans, and the game was still very much up for grabs.

“Keep your spirits high and keep motivated. Always work to towards your final goal.”

The sun was well and truly out for the third quarter, and it was shining on the Swans. Bolton ran through with a nice pick up and bombed it long to Goodes who gave hands to Spangher who then chipped it over the top to Hannebery who ran into an open goal. But again the Saints were playing smart fast-break footy. On the wing Ray kicked to Riewoldt. Ray kept running and then received the ball back again, played on, and threaded the needle from the boundary. Bolton again, involving himself in the play, was awarded a free kick and made the most of the opportunity. Reid, who is improving game by game, was the recipient of a miskick from Jetta. He goalled and the swans were in front by 4. Jack Steven (I thought I would mention his name because it is similar to mine!) laid a great tackle, but couldn’t convert. Was it time for the Saints to get the run of behinds? Lynch certainly didn’t think so. That and a 50m penalty goal to Armitage gave the Saints some breathing space heading into the last quarter.

“Keep your spirits high and keep motivated. Always work to towards your final goal.”

Goodes sparked to life at the start of the last quarter and contributed to the scoreboard with an amazing kick with the outside of his boot. The swans were rolling along. Jesse “Motorbike” White kicked a goal and Spangher snapped an important one, which put the Swans up by 12. The misery continued for St Kilda. Former Swan, Sean Dempster, was stretchered off after a concussion and Riewoldt failed to make an impact in the last quarter. Swans however couldn’t be stopped. Rhyce Shaw was back to his best, and Jarrad McVeigh was playing well too. Big man, Shane Mumford, was completely dominating in the hit-outs (many of them were super effective) and made himself useful all over the ground. He finished his best on ground performance with a goal and sealed the swans a very important win. Polo’s late miracle goal didn’t make a difference to the result, because Swans had won!!! Yay!!! Satisfaction!!!

Good work Swans! My Outdoor Ed teacher would be proud! You are now qualified to hike in the snow! I think…

About Jake "Cobba" Stevens

Jake "Cobba" Stevens is currently studying Sports Journalism at La Trobe Uni. One of the youngest 'old bloods' supporters in Melbourne, he can't decide if the crowd was louder at the 2005 or 2012 Grand Final.

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