• Round 1 – Sydney v Essendon: The Wizard’s Week

    Round 1 – Sydney v Essendon: The Wizard’s Week

    Six years ago, the West Calder Wizard emerged from the solitude of the Scottish Highlands to embark on a journey. A journey to an unknown land. A journey which would take an unexpected turn. For not long after landing on our shores, the Wizard found love. Those close to him were fond of his cordial manner, and were not surprised when news of this romantic liaison filtered through to the homeland.

    The West Calder Wizard will be wed on Saturday. Mrs. Wizard is lovely. The Swanette and I will be there to celebrate.

    The Wizard is a Bombers man, and so three quarters in to Round One of the new football season, I console by repeatedly telling myself, ‘don’t worry, this is the Wizard’s week’. We had discussed our thoughts on the match during the week via text message. I was wary, he was worried. Turns out, we were both right.

    I had plans to convert the Wizard into Swan. I failed. We attended a match at Etihad Stadium in 2011. It was the Bloods v the Bombers and he had just recently selected them as his team of choice. After sufficient pre-match lubrication, we entered the arena. The match was toing and froing all night, until finally, the final siren sounded. Goodesy had just taken a mark and had the ball in hand. The Wizard leapt up out of his seat and let out an almighty ‘yessssssssssss’. After my careful explanation of the rules, he sheepishly sat and Goodesy lined up the set shot that could win the match. The tension was palpable as the great man struck the Sherrin. He missed. The Wizard rejoiced, and I couldn’t help but smile. He will forever don the sash.

    The Bombers soared in the first quarter of 2015. The Bloods were flat. Longmire’s expression at quarter-time reminded me of the Wizard’s reaction when I ordered a couple of Strawberry & Lime Ciders at closing time in an inner-city Melbourne bar. This ended the evening, apart from a fleeting moment when we considered taking a lovely portrait of ‘lil Wayne’ off the wall of the bar upon exiting. A momento? Wisely, we decided against it.

    Half-time rolled around, and I begin my positive self-talk. ‘It’s the Wizard’s week, I’ll give him this grace’. The third quarter is more of the same. The Bombers look slick and hungry. The Swans do not. Watson is impressive, in more ways than one. Parker is valiantly flying the flag in a one-man show for the Bloods. I’m accustomed to a slow season’s start, but this is on another level. Cooney, the former Bulldog maybe back to his Brownlow best and leads the charge in front of goal. The lead skips out to seven goals and I think of the Wizard. He’ll be a happy man.

    Slowly but surely, the Swans begin encroaching towards the Bombers’ score. Joey, Kizza and Hanners start to crack in. Buddy and Tippo are looking dangerous. The young Heeney (I’m struggling to contain my excitement about our new no.5) is showing maturity beyond his years and momentum starts to build. As we draw nearer, I again ponder the emotional state of my Scottish friend. ‘Stuff the Wizard, he’ll have a top week anyway, Carn the Bloods!’.

    A determination and resolve is demonstrated which will please the Bloods brethren. The boys are fighting back. That’s what we’re used to. That’s why we admire our team. Sure, the opposition are underdone, but it’s their prerogative to select thirteen, yes thirteen, players struggling for match fitness. The will to win is admirable and the Swans are at their destructive best when it matters most. Destruction which reminds me of the Wizard’s bucks night. Darts, Etihad Stadium, flying furniture, riot police. Sound familiar? It wasn’t the Wizard’s doing by the way.

    As Kizza levels the scores, the home crowd roars. As Buddy puts us in front, they go bezerk. When the debutant Heeney seals the deal, the win is assured and I conclude that while it’s not how we intended to perform, this is the type of win that can build early season form. Get stuffed Wizard, we won! See you Saturday mate.

    Sydney 10.12 (72)
    Essendon 9.6 (60)

    Sydney: Franklin 3, Tippett 2, Bird 2, Heeney, Jack, Laidler
    Essendon: Cooney 3, Colyer, Goddard, Melksham, Daniher, Heppell

    Our Best:
    3 – Kieren Jack (Sydney)
    2 – Luke Parker (Sydney)
    1 – Ben Howlett (Essendon)

    Crowd: 23,274 at ANZ Stadium


    Dalgleish, Chamberlain, Armstrong
    Comments 8 Comments
    1. DamY's Avatar
      DamY -
      Good work Joe
    1. joemoore12's Avatar
      joemoore12 -
      Thanks mate, appreciate it.
    1. Robtorq's Avatar
      Robtorq -
      Good work again. A bit of humour and also the tension of the game. Not to mention that new number 5
    1. joemoore12's Avatar
      joemoore12 -
      Cheers Rob. That lad will provide us with years of enjoyment. No doubt.
    1. RogueSwan's Avatar
      RogueSwan -
      Nice one Joe. Thanks for that.
    1. joemoore12's Avatar
      joemoore12 -
      Thanks Rogue. Always a joy to write about our boys.
    1. Big Al's Avatar
      Big Al -
      Awesome work Joe, very entertaining.

      As for struggling to contain your excitement over the #5. I gave up that struggle long ago. I headed to Blacktown last year to watch the young Heeney put on a clinic in the u/18 championships. I've been a paid up platinum member of the bandwagon ever since.
    1. joemoore12's Avatar
      joemoore12 -
      Thanks Al. He's exciting alright. Every bit as impressive as Hanners when he first appeared, probably even more so.
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