I had tonight in the diary as a relaxing Friday night sitting at home watching the footy. More fool me. There is nothing relaxing about watching the Swans at the moment. With their season hanging on every match it is enough to send me completely insane.
It was a close match from the get go. Nobody really looked like pulling clear, until we built a small lead but were unable to really put on serious scoreboard pressure. It seemed for most of the match that someone had (unbeknownst to us) modified the objective of the game, making it instead to kick behinds. Neither team were accurate in front of goal and even the likes of Buddy struggled to get between those two pesky middle posts.
Essendon were impressive. When the lead was built they didn’t lie down, capitalising on their chances and executing their game plan well. I was really impressed by their speed and ball movement throughout the whole match. Once they hit their purple patch and started drilling goals we looked positively ragged in comparison.
We had our moments of brilliance throughout the match and going in I must admit I was hopeful of a win. At half time I was still quietly confident, believing if our kicking in front of goal could be tidied up, then we could get the job done.
Kennedy was outstanding as always, with impressively impactful touches all over the ground. Reid battled valiantly all night and the marks Heeney took were outstanding. To see him crashing to the ground in an awkward landing and then go on shortly after to kick a thoroughly impressive goal was a real highlight of the evening.
Sitting there as the Bombers kicked clear and the momentum had definitively swung in their favour I began to reflect on the match. Where we had really lost it was in the speed of the play. The little moments were killing us as Essendon swiftly punished us for our mistakes. I was sitting quite calmly, sadly ruminating on what was now surely a lost season.
19 points down with 3 minutes to go, you can safely write the game off. Or so we thought. The Essendon players were ecstatic, celebrating what was surely their climb into the eight. Swans fans were heading home, ready to admit defeat. Only their team weren’t. I am still questioning how exactly it happened.
Even as the goals sailed through I wouldn’t let myself have hope. There wasn’t enough time. But the points continued to come. As I watched Papley smother Essendon’s kick I noted how admirable his effort was right to the end. Then Rohan found himself on the end of a kick. With less than ten seconds left in the match. And he just happened to be directly in front of goal.
I was in shock, unable to move. I knew he had to kick it. It was directly in front. But kicking it meant we would win and that was as improbable, as his kicking it was probable. As it sailed through we were given an education on sport once more. Probability is nothing.
Longmire’s reaction mirrored my own, his head in his hands in complete disbelief. How Rohan can have done it two weeks in a row stuns me. He really is made for the big moments.
Tonight was undoubtedly one of those nights we will point to in weeks, months, years to come and say this is why we do it. This is why we take the journey with our teams, through the heartbreak and the pain. We do it because nothing can compare with the ecstasy that is brought by a come from behind, one point win, in the dying seconds of a game. Nothing.