The football world, it seems, is incapable of enjoying what is right in front of it.
The Brisbane Lions have just won two road games against teams with legitimate finals aspirations.
Their win over the Giants was their best of the season, and they went one better a week later against Port Adelaide, withstanding the Power’s niggling nonsense and blowing them away by quarter time despite being without two of their best and most important players in Hugh McCluggage and Eric Hipwood.
It’s been the club’s best fortnight in 15 years, and rather than soak that in, the conversation almost immediately shifts to “can they win the flag?”
Can they? Yes. Will they? Most likely not.
Nothing is guaranteed in sport. It’s a lesson we’re taught over and over again, and yet we never seem to learn from it.
Even the most broken and cynical Melbourne supporter wouldn’t have seen this disaster of a season coming.
Five years ago it seemed like every accredited football journalist in Victoria was having a panic attack at the seeming inevitability of Greater Western Sydney ruling the world for the next decade.
The question wasn’t whether they would win a flag – that part was assumed. It was how many flags they would win and who could possibly challenge them.
Here we are, almost four years since their first finals appearance. We’ve had three different premiers, and the Giants appear further away from a premiership than they were on the eve of their first September campaign.
Winning flags is bloody hard. Seventeen teams fail to do so every season.
We often hear experts ask, “Will he be a part of their next premiership team?” when assessing a team’s list. No one ever challenges the ridiculousness of that question.
Nat Fyfe is unlikely to be part of Fremantle’s maiden premiership. Should the Dockers ditch him? What about Marcus Bontempelli at the Bulldogs? Maybe the Blues should get on the front foot and unload Charlie Curnow for some juicy high draft picks.
Team after team has punted a quality veteran player on the wrong side of their prime to “play the kids”, only to make their team worse and not have those kids not work out.
Leave the forward thinking to the list managers and the recruiters and take in what’s in front of you right now – listen to that stupid cliche and take it one week at a time.
There’s no harm in Brisbane fans dreaming of what might be – hope is a great thing.
But don’t do so at the expense of the joy you could be experiencing right now. No one wants to think about it, but this might be as good as it gets for the Lions.
Finals and the nervous excitement that comes with them is near enough. For now, just enjoy the ride. You never know what’s around the next corner.
While we’re on the subject of Queensland teams, can we stop with the hand-wringing over the Suns after a couple of beltings?
They stunk last year, and then they lost two top-notch, prime-age key-position players at the end of 2018 and replaced them with teenagers.
As good as those teenagers might be, they were never going to contribute as meaningfully to AFL games and Steven May and Tom Lynch.
It’s a testament to Stuart Dew and his players that they managed to grind out a few wins early in the year.
Now, the season has gotten too long for a young group with not enough AFL-level footballers.
If you want to move them to Tassie, that’s fine, but let’s not make the past fortnight the determining factor.
They were widely (exclusively?) tipped to finish last coming into the season.
We all knew they were going to be no good. They’re at ground zero of a rebuild after making a mess of things the first go around.
They’re a bad team just like plenty that came before them and plenty who will come after them.