• AFL Round 18 - Hawthorn v Sydney: The Faceless Man Returns

    When passengers boarded Virgin Australia Flight VA858 in Sydney last Friday afternoon. There was shock. There was horror. There was inconceivable confusion. There was a faceless man on board. 'Where is his face?' asked one bamboozled guest. 'He looks astonishingly boring' said another. 'No face, no hope' claimed a repulsed flight attendant. The Faceless Man is returning to a land where he once ruled with all the might of Julius Ceasar in Roman times. The snide remarks and puzzled sideways glances are just a prelude to the torrent of abuse that the Faceless Man will encounter upon his return. Will he prove triumphant? Will he miraculously return to those face wearing days that he once enjoyed? Only time will tell.

    Tonight, the Bloods face off with the Mayblooms in what many are predicting to be a Grand Final prelude. I hope they're right. The Enemy this evening are a powerful club. They are a club that I respect. They are also a club with which I can sympathise. As an eight-year old boy, I played for the Umina Soccer Club. Like all players and supporters of The Enemy, I was forced to wear a brown and gold outfit to every match. I also suspect that my coach's sporting philosophies would bare a striking resemblance to those of one Mr. Clarkson. If naming an Under 8's soccer team 'The Socceroos' was not austere enough, surprise visits on a Sunday afternoon from said coach and his spoiled-brat son for an impromptu, gruelling fitness session that a seasoned triathlete would struggle to endure, was just taking the piss?surely. Clarko strikes me as the type of bloke who was cut from the same cloth.

    Now, before a big match, I find a need to relax and gather my wits. Today, I choose to listen to some music and I have recently discovered a genre that was once foreign to my 'punk-rock adoring' ears. It is far too avant-garde for me to explain, so I will borrow some words about my new favourite musician, Olafur Arnalds. He is a 'multi-instrumentalist and producer' from Mosfellsb?r, Iceland who 'mixes strings and piano with loops and edgy beats crossing-over from ambient/electronic to pop'. Interestingly, Olafur started out as a drummer for a hardcore metal band named 'Fighting @@@@'. Like me, I guess his musical tastes changed as well. Once the 'Incredible Icelandic Instrumentalist' has calmed my nerves, I am ready for battle.

    Clashes between these two footballing powerhouses have been nothing short of epic in recent times. The stands of the 'G are filled with over 72,000 punters who must agree. This is 1st vs 3rd, and I am up for this, the boys look up for this, and so is my Hawks-mad mate, Halesy who sends me his best wishes via text message. The Enemy burst out of the blocks with a goal to their 200-gamer and all of a sudden?.the face of the Faceless Man magically reappears! Every man on the opposition instantly recognise their ex-Buddy and rush to exchange pleasantries. Game on. This is a tough, exhilarating opening and the Swannies look to be struggling to keep up. Wayward kicking for goal keeps us within reach as the Faceless Man and Tippo in his return match, bag majors. The old firm of Lewis, Mitchell and Hodge dominate the centre from the outset, and The Enemy take a narrow lead into the first huddle.

    The second term begins and this encounter already has all the features of a belter! The pressure around the ball is immense with players from both sides having time and space savagely cut to an absolute minimum. Breust goals and I'm not quite sure if the Brown & Gold faithful have taking their booing obsession to a new level? I soon realise it is the Broooost chant, but my puzzlement remains. They are booing the Australian of the Year after all... The atmosphere is electric and everybody in the immense stadium is glued to the action. The artist formerly known as 'The Faceless Man' sanps for his second and there is a slight shift in momentum. McGlynn and Tippo extend the Swannies lead out to a couple of goals and then Lewis lets rip with a torp that even Blighty would admire. Puopolo chases it, breaks the tackle of Laidler and goals on the counter attack. Half time follows, and this is a cracker of a footy match.

    The Great Goodesy begins the third with a bang and the Bloods are quickly out to a twenty-three point lead. Just as quickly, this lead disappears as The Enemy find plenty of the footy and do plenty of damage with it! For a fifteen minute period, the Swans' forward pressure is about as effective as Tony Abbott's foreign policy and The Enemy open up a nine-point lead at the final break. Big Roughie is causing some damage, and the rangy Isaac Smith likewise. The intensity and pressure lifts again in the final stanza as two giants of the modern game are locked into fierce battle. The Enemy are a tough side to crack. Joey, Benny and Macca try their best to orchestrate the fightback, but their experienced men take control of the important moments and they prevail by ten points. WOW. Another epic battle. A deserved victory to The Enemy, and I certainly feel as though we will meet again on an even bigger stage.

    For me, time to return to my Icelandic fantasy land and contemplate the bigger issues in life, such as the plight of faceless men the world over and reasons why anybody would name their band 'Fighting @@@@'.

    Hawthorn 15.14 (104)

    Sydney 13.16 (94)


    Hawthorn: Lewis, Smith, Roughead, Mitchell, Hodge, Birchall

    Sydney: McGlynn, Bird, Rampe, The Faceless Man, Goodes, Jetta


    Hawthorn: Roughead 4, Breust 3, Smith 3, Puopolo 2, Gunston, Burgoyne, Hodge

    Sydney: Goodes 4, The Faceless Man 3, McGlynn 3, Tippett 2, Kennedy


    72, 760


    Donlon, Pannell, Nicholls


    3 - Jordan Lewis (Hawthorn)

    2 - Jarryd Roughead (Hawthorn)

    1 - Ben McGlynn (Sydney)
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. RogueSwan's Avatar
      RogueSwan -
      Great work, I enjoyed reading it.
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