Clash of the Codes

Occasionally in life we must make a difficult choice. This sometimes occurs because we are faced with two equally unappealing alternatives. Sometimes, it is just the opposite. We are drawn towards both options, each seeming irresistible. I found myself facing just such a conundrum on Saturday night. The Swans were playing in a pivotal finals match at the exact moment the Wallabies were attempting to see off Argentina. How was I to choose? Well, if I am honest, I didn’t.

I settled in for what I knew would be a stress filled few hours, asking myself once again, why do I do this to myself? I wish I could say it was an amazing experience, but it just wasn’t. I was able to enjoy the first quarter of the Swans game, which was a relief after the less than convincing performance the previous week against GWS. They came out firing and showed the intensity that was lacking last week. Adelaide saw very little of the football and we were making it difficult for their famed forward line to make a real impression on the game.

Unfortunately it was after this stunning quarter of football that the Wallabies game kicked into action. My stress levels intensified. As soon as I settled on one channel I found myself wondering what I was missing on the other. I attempted at one stage to relieve some pressure by opening the AFL app, having the score sitting on my lap. It only made matters worse, a glaring reminder of the goals and action I was missing on the other channel. I found myself hanging out for half time in the AFL to provide some respite.

In this period I was able to gauge a better feel for the Wallabies game. Interestingly, they also had a strong start. Our defence was noticeably improved and it was really there that the game was won. Argentina played at a frenetic pace but fell victim to numerous handling errors. The Wallabies allowed themselves to be drawn into a similar style of play, not recognising if they slowed things down and stuck to their structures, points would result. The Argentinians thrive on broken play and we were starting to give them just what they wanted.

Interestingly, the games followed a similar pattern. Just as Argentina started to find a way back into the game, Adelaide lifted at the SCG. It was spooky. Impressively, both teams kept their heads and managed to hang on for the wins. The Swans managed to stand up and respond when required, keeping Adelaide at a healthy distance, with Papley and Franklin both kicking four goals each. Heading into a challenging game tomorrow night, I only hope they play as well as we know they can.

Back in rugby land the Wallabies’ bench provided a boost when required. I felt both McMahon and Polota-Nau had a huge impact when they came on and both should be in the starting line up. They brought the intensity that is going to be required to beat strong sides and helped lift the whole team.

At last my night of anguish drew to a close. Two wins, hundreds of channel changes and one very exhausted fan. Is it Summer yet?


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