Last Thursday night, I traipsed out to the SCG to see the Swans start their season again – this time against the enigma that is Melbourne.
Their earlier games had featured the inability to play for four consecutive quarters, and the oddly inconsistent form of Lance Franklin.
Meeting my dedicated Swans supporter friends, I was reminded that they are truly great people whose devotion to the cause shows all that is worthy about supporting your team.
Except a muttered threat about how every time they ask me to come Sydney lose (and something about a curse), they all found their seats and looked out at the venerable SCG.
All this rubbish about the turf being like a cow paddock is just that. The ground looked magnificent, hardly the patchwork quilt I had expected.
In the first quarter, the Swans were really on. Faster into the ruck, winning contested ball, and entries into the 50 were hugely in favour of the red and white.
Multiple goal kickers, but where was Franklin? I didn’t matter. All the Swans had to do was to keep on the pressure.
Alas, that was a task too hard.
As often happens in this crazy game, a side gets momentum and suddenly in the next two quarters, the Demons – led by Nathan Jones – kicked five brilliant goals and suddenly the good lead disappeared and so did the statistical dominance.
Remember last year? The Gold Coast did this and the Swans dived to defeat. The same thing happened.
Isaac Heeney, who was dominating in general play, collected a fearsome bump and limped off. He came back but didn’t reach the same heights.
Buddy tried hard but did not seem connected to his fellow forwards and midfielders. When he had a shot, his fearsome power seemed diminished. Did Melbourne have Kryptonite?
For my mates, the game meandered to a desultory end. The mutters started again: “If Keith comes next time, we need Harry Potter’s friend Hermione with her patented curse remover.”
I know I shouldn’t listen to the doomsday theories that the Swans won’t reach the finals this year, but it would be nice to see four quarters’ worth of effort against the Tigers.