There’s two different ways to lose: the first is when you have one of those nothing seasons where wins are few and far between and losses become the norm. You’ll be disappointed to get done but hey, you’re used to it by now. The second way is when you’re carrying the weight of immensely high expectations and are completely crushed by them when your team comes undone.
Let me assure you, it’s the latter that really hurts.
It’s an exquisite kind of torture when all your family support the one AFL club and you are the only one who doesn’t, then their team beats yours. Being born and bred in NSW I have a lot of love for the Syney Swans except for one or two days a year when I find them (and my family) utterly intolerable. It’s been especially difficult given Sydney have proven themselves to be something of a bogey team for Port Adelaide and regardless of our respective fortunes, they always seem to beat us. I’ve gotten used to copping a hammering from my brothers in particular but let me promise you that it never stops hurting. Or being really fucking annoying.
Tonight’s 48-point loss was bitterly disappointing for a few reasons. The first is those expectations I mentioned and the fact Port have been considered almost THE premiership contender for this season. To start the year 0-2 isn’t what we wanted or expected. I kinda thought we’d have two wins under our belt by now and be the talk of the town. The second is that tonight was our first game at home at Adelaide Oval and clearly we hoped our vocal supporters would play the role of the 19th man and cheer us through to a win.
It’s also hard to watch your team lose by making the exact same mistakes they made during the last loss. Against Fremantle Port kept repeatedly kicking to opposition players alone and making some really poor decisions with the ball that resulted in turnovers. We keep trying to consistently play that awesome running game we can do so well, but it’s almost like the players don’t know how to get the ball up the ground if it’s not a running handball under pressure. I’d like Port to be a bit calmer and consider their options a little more.
Tonight again highlighted to me that Ryder isn’t the great saviour we probably expected him to be and that we really really really miss Lobbe. If we could have a team full of Robbie Grays and then Boaky as captain, we’d be laughing. Gray is just such a class act and ye olde cliché “silky skills” really applies. Trengove and Carlisle stood up at the back, while Monfries looked dangerous up front. Pittard had a solid game and made up for his ridiculous mistake last week. I thought all round there’s a lot of room for improvement so hopefully the players will take note and start refining.
I don’t want to say much re the Swans except it was satisfying to see Hanneberry get belted and Gary Rohan’s red hair really shits me.
In the end, the only thing that kept me watching was that tiny pilot light of hope that we’d get our act together and start kicking a few goals, enough to pull together a gutsy come-from-behind win. That and the fact the camera kept focusing on a hot and sweaty Travis Boak (that man is my everything). Watching our beloved captain hurl his mouthguard on the ground in disgust after the final siren was a good sign I think and hopefully he can lift us for round three.
Next week is the Kangaroos in Melbourne and I’ll be heading along to Etihad Stadium on Saturday night. I fucking hate North and their “Shinboner Spirit” bullshit with the power of a thousand suns so fingers crossed we can notch up win one. Otherwise the weight of that unlived up to expectation is going to keep crushing me.