Remember when petrol stations a) were everywhere and b) closed at 6pm? There was a roster system so one of the many in town would stay open later, and they had big sandwich boards out saying ON ROSTER.
Well, in the crowded footy blogging marketplace I think there is room for a similar approach. So this week if you haven’t read Sean’s piece at RFC Ramble then that is what you should do now. I do have some tiny thoughts of my own and they will follow this stripy thing.
Jack Riewoldt (who is across town having breakfast as I write) was huge right from the opening bell. This was right up there in his best 4-quarter efforts. Dummies like me who moaned about him being allowed out of the front 50 were dead wrong. He is some sort of footballer and if he hadn’t had full forward written all over him from Auskick onwards, he would have made a fearsome Kennedy-like tall midfielder. I have been pretty critical of him at times, but the leadership he is displaying now is priceless. Tyrone, Cotch, Miles and Ellis are also playing at just about capacity. Ivan showed some form – this team is really humming. I have beatified the back six; they are not yet saints but can be addressed as, for example, “The Blessed Jake Batchelor”, “The Blessed Troy Chaplin”.
Newy’s long goal in the first quarter reminded me no matter how much someone’s legs slow down, if their footy brain is intact and they can kick it over a wheat silo, there should be a spot for them when team balance allows. I think I had packed Chris away in the ‘Captain of the Twos’ category but I was hasty. On the other hand Rhyce Shaw is gorn.
Tippett was occasionally useful in the centre but up front he was pantsed by Chaplin. Buddy started well but Rance took him to the cleaners and by the end was doing party tricks. Buddy’s hit on Titch Edwards deserved 2 weeks minimum. He had fumbled the ball and was frustrated. There are very few footballers that have ever fully kicked the tribunal habit, I think there are instincts there that are beyond curbing. I would have liked to see a bit more vigorous remonstration, to be honest. As they love to say in TV land there were “spot fires” all night, but that’s the kind of incident where you can quickly inflict a corky on the miscreant and its all part of the game. Come on Tiges, these are 1%ers. Was pleased to see Rance step on Buddy’s mouthguard. This is good stuff. There has been some signs of other fans starting to arc up at the Tiges of late, a sign that we are being seen as a threat, not a joke.
The interchange infringement when Titch returned was, of course, a farce in every regard. Ty had taken a courageous mark and was lining up for a certain goal (this year.) Suddenly the ball was taken to the centre, then I think a 50m penalty was paid, inevitable when no-one knew what was happening. Nick Smith’s shot would have missed another set of goalposts. If he had kicked a major, and momentum had swung to the Swans, and it had affected the result, I wonder if the mea culpa would have emerged from the AFL? In an attempt to understand what happened on field, I have looked at the rule book and I cannot find any reference to penalties for interchange infringements.
That comeback from 33 points down should have given us a ton of confidence. It’s the mirror image of those terrible losses last year, which spread the word that no matter how far behind the Tiges you were, it was never too late. That is our biggest comeback since 1973, and hopefully now the worm has turned. Other sides, if they get a lead on us, will be looking over their shoulders, tightening up with the ball and conversely feeling looseness in the bowels. We controlled the game, and although scores were level with three minutes to go, I imagine you would have had trouble getting a bet on the Swans at that moment. Ivan’s spot kick was, as everyone has said, one of the highlights of the season, and I am looking at immortalising it graphically in some way or possibly commissioning a ballet.
Although we were terrific, that 2nd half from the Swans was beyond terrible. Its worrying that they are really missing a 1st year player – they need Heeney back. I expect if we were to meet the Swans again in the finals they would look pretty different. Big Tippett might even find himself running around in the NEAFL. They might break the attendance record up there at the Apsley Hornets.