Saturday posed something of a challenge for me, as you can imagine. By now you would know that there is only one thing I love as much as watching football and that is watching football. Never have I had a greater appreciation for half time breaks than when the Wallabies entered the sheds on Saturday afternoon.
I must say the start of the rugby was also welcomed, as the Swans floundered against Richmond. I was able to give my undivided attention to the first half of my beloved AFL but the team I was watching did not resemble my beloved Swans. I was seriously unimpressed. They were hopeless. I was almost beginning to wonder if once again they had been unable to find their way off their flight to Melbourne. I hate to say it but I found myself having a few grand final flashbacks.
One thing you must always remember as an AFL supporter though – it isn’t over until it’s over. That third quarter is the real teller. Fortunately for us, we arrived. Meanwhile, I was activating my rugby headspace, as the Wallabies failed to do likewise. The first half was seriously uninspiring. The game was controlled by what felt like a never-ending stream of penalties.
We helped it along by a delightful combination of poor decision-making, apparent lethargy and a serious lack of composure in critical moments. The ball being received from Genia was seriously slow. Scotland were praised for their impressive line speed but I was screaming at the TV more often than not, as the ball sat, waiting for Genia to pick it up and give our back line a chance to create something.
Granted, there were some very entertaining moments. Nobody could deny the impressive skill of Folau leaping onto the end of Foley’s perfectly accurate kick to score a try. I had to laugh at the contest between two fullbacks for a high ball being described as a ‘mismatch’, a term usually reserved for when a lightning quick back finds themselves outpacing a lumbering forward.
As half time began I switched to the Swans to find them drawing very near, dangerously close even, to Richmond. I was forced to realise we could actually win this thing. And win we did. I couldn’t look away, as every minute was so precious. So many times has my heart been broken as in the closing moments the opposition kick that final goal to seal our fate. Only this time, Rohan kicked that goal. And my heart soared.
Switching back to the rugby I was unsurprised to discover I hadn’t missed much. They continued in much the same fashion as the first half and with a number of chances to secure victory, couldn’t. I must say I was surprised by the results this weekend. I thought the Wallabies would win and I feared the Swans would finally rule out our hopes of playing finals footy.
Sadly, my nerves must endure more rounds of AFL with finals still a distant possibility. The Wallabies clearly need to sort themselves out and quickly, or we are looking at serious embarrassment against more impressive opponents. I really wouldn’t recommend multi footballing, and my heart probably agrees. Two close games in the same time slot resulted in more stress than even I could handle.