We’ve all heard the story of the ugly duckling becoming a swan, but are we currently watching the much-lauded Sydney Swans regress to the point of ugliness again?
Thumped at home by North Melbourne in Round 4, the Swans have just one win to their name so far and with Fremantle Sydney-bound this weekend must be odds on to finish the round at 1-4.
And all that in spite of the hype surrounding Lance Franklin’s arrival – and that ‘never say die’ Bloods approach to the game that has served John Longmire’s group so well these past few years.
Longmire himself has come under scrutiny this week, some all-knowing footy scribes suggesting it was the ‘Horse’ who deserved worst on ground honours against the Roos.
Of course, that’s nonsensical and alarmist, but given it was Damien Barrett and Garry Lyon spouting the view it all kind of makes sense.
Longmire isn’t under the same kind of scrutiny as Mick Malthouse and Damien Hardwick at the moment, but unless the Swans conjure a return to finals contention before the back half of the season, the blowtorch will be sparked up – no doubt.
Relief at Tigerland
As the Brisbane Lions threatened to wrest control of the match on Thursday night, Damien Hardwick’s jaw appeared to tighten the point of his teeth cracking under the pressure.
It really appeared as though the Tigers had lost control of the match – and all in the face of a Brisbane side packed full of rookies… all the way to the coaching box.
Despite steadying to win in the long run, it must be more than worrying for anyone with an interest in the Tigers that the Lions were able to control the match at all.
All it took was some ‘run and gun’ style footy from the Lions for them to have the best of the second quarter – the first they’d won for the season.
God help Richmond when they front the likes of Hawthorn and Geelong, or even free-scoring Port Adelaide and West Coat.
(NB: Richmond actually face Hawthorn and Geelong in the next two rounds and if their finals hopes aren’t dashed already, going into the bye at 2-5 should all but see them finished for 2014.)
Eulogising Jon Brown
Yep, it’s started already.
Jonathon Brown does seem likely to retire after this season, closing out a thoroughly successful and resected career in the top flight. But having started saying farewell already seems a bit like writing-off a great player before he’s ready to hang up the boots.
In some ways it makes sense in Brown’s case, especially considering the likelihood of him caving his face in against a behind post before quarter time in the Lions’ next match.
That said, however, who could count him out from playing ever week and finishing with close to 50 goals for the season… and potentially going around again in 2015.
Perhaps it’s the AFL news cycle that demands the story be aired to fill a gap – or perhaps Brown’s start to the year had hinted at the end.
All that, though, was before he kicked four goals in his 250th – so let’s butt out and check back in when it’s actual ‘retirement time’ in the last month or so of the season.
We all survived, after all
Hard to believe, I know. But we’re all here and there was no football on Good Friday.
Seriously, James Brayshaw, will one ‘blockbuster’ in your club’s calendar really make that much difference to the bottom line?
You’ve muscled in on ANZAC Day to the point there are now three fixtures played on the national day of remembrance, so don’t go getting ahead of yourself.
Between deals with the Tasmanian government and your burning desire to see the Roos play on every freakin’ ‘special’ day on the calendar you’re getting close to turning the Kangas into the League’s travelling roadshow.
Odds are currently shortening for the following to adorn North’s next run-through banner: “Have ball, will travel”
Sucked in, Clarko
They say ‘pride comes before a fall‘ and for Alastair Clarkson, the idiom might well be ringing true on Easter Monday.
Clarkson and his match committee failed to pick Brian Lake for the blockbuster against Geelong and were painfully short down back – to the point where Tom Hawkins made Kyle Cheney look like his own, personal ‘Raggedy Anne’ doll.
What odds on Lake being first name scrawled on the team sheet for Round 6?
Too late for the Hawks to stay undefeated in 2014, but Lake should arrive just in time for a soft kill against the toothless Tigers next Sunday.