Finals are here
Now if the AFL has taught me one thing (apart from the importance of an obscure set of motor skills above all other characteristics I once thought important), it is that it is always best to play the Tigers in the first week of finals. So with the Untouchables matched against Hobart Tigers for the first final, the omens were good. Still after a close game against the same team last week I wasn’t over-confident. A lot can happen in terms of form and personnel in the space of a week- just look at America’s National Security Council.
The game started with both teams looking dangerous. The Untouchables were rucking great (I said ‘rucking’) in offense, while the Tigers were showing their individual speed and agility to threaten any gaps in our defence. Consequently both teams had to defend hard with the ball moving from one end of the field to the other each time it changed hands.
Wasn’t it a beautiful Christmas break (unless you were Malcolm Turnbull who continued to look weak and impotent to do anything about continued destabilisation from Bernardi, Christenson and Abbott)? After a weekend that was hotter than demand for inner city property in Hobart, it was a grey cloudy evening for our first game back (although still much brighter than Susan Ley’s future).
Ominously we were up against the DC’s who earlier in the season had torn us apart like East Timor ripping up the treaty over Australian access to its oil reserves this week. And we were nearly down a penalty try before the game started as my top was proving as hard to find as Turnbull’s principles (although I still expect to find it later so maybe not quite as difficult). Luckily the Steczosaurus came to the rescue and brought a spare for me.
One minute before the start of the game both teams looked be having problems with numbers that Scott Morrison could relate to (I don’t mean not being able to count which is a separate problem I suspect the treasurer suffers from- just that they were looking deficient). As often happens though, players from both sides appeared like ninjas on the starting siren and both sides had plenty of players (if only Morrison could fix his numbers as easily).
The game started started brightly for the Untouchables, dominating early play until the She-steczosaurus found a tiny bit of space in the corner and danced around the defence, like multinational corporations dancing around our tax laws to open the scoring.
Much like Turnbull in the senate, we were struggling for numbers. We had actually been looking alright until Sunday night, but Untouchables players seem to pull out late so often we should really be sponsored by Durex and this week we had a massive exodus in the 24 hours prior to the game. Luckily the White Walker was able to call his brother, Barry White to fill in and we at least had six.
Well we had six in theory. After running the Bruny island Ultra on Saturday, describing my legs as ‘a little sore,’ is an understatement of a similar magnitude to saying Tony Abbott is ‘A little bit of a problem,’ for Malcolm Turnbull, so I reckoned I was only worth about 75% of a normal player. To make matters worse we actually started the game with five (or 4¾ depending on what you classify me as) on the field. The Pirates made the most of their opportunity too, taking the opening tap and rushing it forward to overwhelm our right wing and score a try before we had touched the ball.
Match day once again saw a flurry of late withdrawals. The Stegosaurus must have been worried he would have less people on his side than Julie Bishop at the Paris Climate Conference, but last minute help was at hand. The ever-reliable Archangel Gabby was present, as was international superstar, Rihanna. Having just that day been given the go ahead to ease myself back into sport, I turned up gingerly hoping for an easy introduction, while we also had Aaron (nickname pending) rounding out the side. Now unless you support Reclaim Australia, you can probably count to five and have realised that is not a full team, but that is all we had.
Still, sometimes when you are undermanned, you can still get lucky and Steve Bradbury (If Abbott wasn’t replaced as PM, I reckon the colloquial term for winning by default would have changed from doing a Bradbury to doing a Shorten) your way through against a weak or over-confident opposition so there was always a chance I thought.
For the first time ever, I turned up to play with the Untouchables (that sounded a little ruder than I meant it to) and there was not a Stegosaurus in sight. I was a little afraid this could be the result of evolution finally catching up, but I was reassured to hear that was not the case and they will be back for the next game. Not only that, I had been unaware of the Stegosaurus breeding program which had so far yielded two offspring, suggesting the species is far from extinct and doing better than the black rhino.
Our opponents for the day were called Don't ruck with us (get it?- it took me a while) and true to their name they really didn't focus on rucking the ball quickly, instead opting to use the speed and agility of their players. They certainly had some quick players too, who were always looking to our defence on and exploit any gaps.
Hobart turned on one of those beautifully warm Summer’s evenings, that would prompt Kenny Rogers to write a song and we were lucky enough to be playing touch football. After losing a couple of female players at short notice, the possibility of a sausage fest (any event were there are more than twice as many guys as girls) was on the cards. Thankfully the Cruel Sea (I showed my age last week with a reference to Jane’s Addiction, which half my team had to google, so I figure I may as well keep doing it) was making an appearance, giving us just enough girls to put a full team on the park.
Our opponents for the night were the Fistfullobats (not a typo, just a name that earns points for originality, but not much else). They were sitting in third place so we were anticipating a tough game. Being a teacher, giving advice is a difficult habit to break, but being new to the team I had promised I would keep my mouth shut this year. Unfortunately I’m as good at keeping promises as Tony Abbott and sure enough I was making unsolicited suggestions about team strategy before the game had even started.
Showing the same unquestioning belief in my body that policy makers have in trickle down economics, I might have done a bit much leg training prior to the game. Consequently, my legs were more spent than Bronwyn Bishop’s political career by the time I got to the ground and I was relieved to see we had no shortage of players, so I could start on the bench.
The game started at a slightly slow pace, with both teams being a little conservative. The Lions showed their rugby background, passing the ball around a lot and looking to run across each other to confuse the untouchable defence.
Well that was the intent, but the Untouchables defence was up to the challenge. The defensive line was impregnable early, with each player holding their position as resolutely as Anti-Vaccers in the face of scientific evidence. Going forward, the Untouchables took a bit longer to find their mojo, but after about five minutes the deadlock was broken with the Stegosaurus and Archangel Gabby driving a series of touches straight through the Lions’ defence and scoring a try before they could get back on side.
It had been a clear and sunny day, but the cold wind that sprung up was as bitter and savage as Michael Clarke's Ashes memoirs. After our early good form and enjoyable games, I had been disappointed not to play last week because of the bye, which meant I was pretty frustrated to miss this week’s game with a new injury as well. Still, the next game seems to come around as frequently as Peter Dutton’s gaffes, so I will still get plenty of games in this season.
A few Untouchables were unreachable this week, so we only had six players and we started the game with only five, as Rihanna was living up to her reputation for starting concerts and other appearances late. Despite being outnumbered, we got on the attack early. Within a few minutes, the Archangel Gabby wrapped a dummy run out wide, creating space so the Bachelor could score, whilst being pursued by two girls (did I pretty much describe the plot of that horrible show?).
The drizzly rain looked as gloomy as Joe Hockey’s first budget, as I drove towards Wentworth Park and despite the fact that it was quickly drying out, ongoing worries about my injury meant I wanted to play about as much as the New Zealand cricket team wanted to play against the Cricket Australia XI. I got changed in the club rooms and headed for Ground 1 with the lingering smell of deep heat clinging to me the way asylum seekers cling to their children when they see Peter Dutton.
Our opponents for the night were the Banditos and as the start of the game drew closer, it appeared likely that they may follow Bill Shorten’s lead with Malcolm Turnbull and not actually provide any recognisable opposition. Just as I was anticipating an early night, the Banditos appeared like ninjas, showing they were aptly named for their stealth.