Sydney is ugly – and we will beat them
Essendon’s rise to the finals this year is very personal for me, as is beating Sydney in Sydney. Having lived north of border and put up with the “everybody loves a winner”-eastern-suburbs-latte-reluctance-to-learn-even-the-most-basic-rules-of-Australian Rules-Football supporter set was a form of intolerable torture…. I can actually feel my blood pressure spike as I think back to those days sitting in the outer at the SCG, having to listen to the inane banter of those morons. They make Melbourne supporters feel down to earth, and Collingwood supporters appear intelligent.
The Swans’ attitude towards GWS and expanding the game in one of the biggest markets has been deplorable, not for one second have they embraced the opportunity that an East vs Western Sydney rivalry might present. Short memories too – it wasn’t all that long ago that Sydney was a basket case and on the chopping block, relying on the support of the other clubs for their own continued existence in the competition. As for the glorification of Paul Roos – spare me! Sheedy summed the situation up best: “Paul Roos is the person who won one premiership by a kick in his whole career. He must have a lot of knowledge … put that in your story.” Roos cost $1.5M a season for three years, yet what do Melbourne have in return? Finals? Nope is the answer, and the myth of Paul Roos the great coach has been busted once and for all.
I still have no idea how the AFL has allowed the Cost of Living Allowances to go on for so long. Let us not forget that the AFL paid the extra $900,000, or 9.8 per cent, salary cap bonuses that effectively payed for Kurt Tippett to become a Sydney Swan. Is he playing the second elimination final? Yep! Does this still benefit them today? Yep! How else can you have the likes of Buddy and Tippet on multimillion dollar long term contracts? The so called famed ‘Bloods culture’ should be rebadged ‘Bloods money culture’, yet in an example of next-level piss taking they still cried poor when a small trade restriction was placed on them to ensure they couldn’t sign another Buddy or Tippet type deal. Hypocrites.
Sydney vs. Essendon at the SCG in the second Elimination Final has the potential to be the game of the first week of the finals, and I believe (you heard it here first) that we are big chance to knock them off. The reason? Our main strength – our quickness of ball movement – is their main Achilles heel, so to be playing them in the afternoon game is a bonus, as they prefer the slippery conditions often encountered at night which aids them in turning the game into an ugly rolling maul. Hopefully the weather holds up and the conditions remain dry, then we can move the ball quicker than a 15 year old having his first root.
Of course Sydney’s biggest strength is the toughness of their midfield and we will need a big effort from Watson to cover off on Kennedy. However as per above this strength is a weakness as they are painfully slow, so again hopefully we can use this to our advantage and get the ball into space and move it quickly. Quick transition play will in turn aid the likes of Joey, Jimmy and Hooker (fingers crossed) in the one out marking contest, as the Swans are not tall in defense. And while the SCG is eight metres shorter in length than Etihad it is eleven and half meters wider, so hopefully we can use this space to rapidly spread the Swans slow players and make them run, run and run again, turn it into a shootout, and win.
Part of me wonders if Woosha had one eye on the finals with Budda Hocking running with Fyfe on Sunday, we haven’t had a ‘tagger’ all year and we might employ this role in our forward fifty by tagging the likes of McVeigh or a Newman off half back, where the Swans generate a lot of their drive. Hartley goes to Buddy and if he can be held to 3 goals or less it is a win, which will free up Hurls to play with a bit more freedom to assist in congesting the Sydney forward 50.
I’m a fan of the bye before the finals, it is actually one of the few decisions the AFL has made in the best interest of fairness and integrity of the competition. I am even more of fan of it given we are playing Sydney who thrive on continuity and predictability – the week off won’t suit them at all and will freshen our legs to (once again) run, run and run again… not to mention benefiting the injury front with Hurls, Raz and Hooker now a big chance to return.
What an opportunity for our young playing group to take on the Swans in a final, as the AFL’s love-child takes on its disowned bastard. I believe we will have the last laugh – and WIN!