Saturday, September 26, 2009

2009 AFL Grand Final - Geelong v St Kilda

All photos are courtesy of The Herald Sun Online and The Age Online.

Luke Ball neatly summarised the grief that washed over the St Kilda rooms after their loss of a desperately close 2009 AFL grand final to Geelong on Saturday.

Tears were plentiful - not least from inconsolable captain Nick Riewoldt - as the Saints came to terms with the fact that this was a year in which they carried all before them except the premiership cup.

"Half an hour ago was the worst feeling I've had in my life, to be honest. It was shocking," Ball said. "Just looking around at a few of the older guys as well, it was as bad as I've felt.

St Kilda's efforts in 2009 were inspired by how the Cats had raised the standard of the game over the previous two seasons, and Ball said the league owed much to the Geelong club for their combination of class and unstinting application.

"Full credit to them, they're a fantastic team," he said. "The competition as a whole has a lot to thank Geelong for over the past three years, the way they've gone about it. We certainly chased them pretty hard and tried to model ourselves on them a bit, but they were just a bit too good when it mattered."

A word of explanation about this. The AFL instituted, in the early 90s, a new policy which evened up the competition. Until then, the moneyed clubs [the Man Us of the world] usually won or were thereabouts and consequently had the largest number of fans. The also-rans, like St Kilda, were the perpetual whipping boys and some of these clubs broke up in the reorganization.

St Kilda, one of the original teams, did not break up and slowly, over 5-7 years, built itself up until this season, when they swept all before them, including Geelong. In Australia, there is great affection for St Kilda and many rate them as their "second club", along with the old Fitzroy. No one dilikes them.

So, in 2009 unfortunately, Geelong were cast as the party-poopers and yet theirs too, many forget, was a rags-to-riches story, some years earlier.

Geelong was one of the two original teams, with Melbourne, in 1859 and is from a coastal town [now a city], often referred to as "sleepy hollow". Let's face it, they can be a bit provincial down that way and the city slickers make a lot of fun of the town's reputation as "hicksville" though this was far from the truth.

For all that, over the decades, they've produced some stunning teams, country boys, farmers' sons and while discipline was never their catchcry, exciting, free-flowing football was their motif, not unlike the southern hemisphere clubs and the Barbarians in rugby.

As the outsiders in the competition but never one of "the city clubs", not unlike me in the Britblogosphere, they rebuilt and had some hearbreaking losses in the past five years, despite co-opting a coach [manager] from one of the city teams, a proven champion and a hard taskmaster.

He taught them self-discipline and dedication and two years ago, the result came - they took the flag after a 44 year layoff, that previous flag itself after an 11 year layoff. You get the idea - always up there but never getting the cream.

In 2007 though, they were the champs.

In the modern system, teams tend to be up for three, maybe four years and any flags have to be won during that time, before players age too much and the machine shows signs of cracking. That's why, last year, having won almost everything during the 2008 season, often grinding other sides into the dirt, they were pipped on the one day which counted - the last day in September.

As you can gather from the opening remarks in this post, that hurt. That really kicked them in the guts. Would they recover in 2009?

Well, they did and they didn't. The new golden boys, St Kilda, all praise to their coach and to them, were now sweeping all before them. After Geelong lost to them mid-season, they fell apart a bit and it was touch and go if they'd even see the grand final.

As you know by now, they did manage to get there but as the underdogs to St Kilda and throughout the game, that's how it was panning out - St Kilda having far more scoring shots but Geelong pressure and their nerves not helping them in their cause.

Geelong, now an ageing team, would surely succumb to the fresh youngbloods but in the end, it was sheer grit and experience which saw them over the line in a very close battle all day.

Relief, more than elation was the prevailing emotion, some sort of redemption after 2008 and the coach, Bomber Thomson, made that point in the after-match press conference. The other coach, Ross Lyon, stoical, put it down to those small percentage things on the day.

What next?

Can St Kilda show real character and bounce back next year to "avenge" their loss?

Can Geelong do it one more time, after their sell-by date? Will they still have the hunger?

There are 14 other teams who'll have a say in that matter as well.

... for now.


Anonymous said...

My contract with BT is allegedly for 2 Mbs

My line, at best, according to tests, will only ever deliver 500kb/s.

That is 25%, at best, of BT advertised claims.

In the real world, given continuing internet uptake, and BT totally abject failure to invest in infrastructure, I am reduced to "dial-up" speeds of 9Kb/s, or less, for the majority of the hours per day.

This is particularly frustrating, given the sudden proliferation of pictures, and the data concentrations in "pictures".

I can, for example, no longer watch streamed Utube films of the lowest density, without pre-cacheing.

Surfing is becoming a total bollocks.

Naturally, I have been particularly verbal with BT, going via a number, - 02073565000, which allegedly is answered quickly, where you ask tor "The Chairmans office", Yup, a human being, well half, maybe.

When asked for the nature of your complaint, is it ongoing, do you have the name of the person dealing with your complaint??? etc.

BT customer services is headquartered in Northern Ireland, for gawds sake, although if you ask why?, they get a bit shirty, and say that it is still part of the UK. If pressed, they will admit that there is some political reason, and probably £ subsidies involved in this novel arrangement. At least the gov't is upfront on the £6 per year tax on every landline, to then be handed to BT, (a private company) to speed up their roll-out of Broadband fibre optics.

For fucks sake, I remember Colt Telecom rolling out fibre optics around London in 1997/98, raising funding via "The City," - - have BT learned nothing in 11/12 years. I was getting "Dial-up" speeds in 1996/7, and now, with BTs alleged Broad Band, we are back to those speeds again.

Naturally, "customer service" is far from an apt description. I did accuse them at one point of being as much use as a stale fart in a space suit, which they surprisingly took in their stride. They are obviously well trained monkeys who are able to parrot the company mantra.

The Head Guy of customer services is Andrew Hanna, and if you dial the number above, and ask the operator to e-mail him with your telephone number and ask him to call you back, maybe you would care to vent on your perceived BT shortcomings.

One of Hanna's underlings is a guy, Paul Knox. He is bloody useless, totally intractable, will not negotiate around anything. Another equally useless is Roishin (sp?) Gilroy, polite, but, well, why do they pay them? They can all be e-mailed as can Hanna, but best to inundate the top man.

My underlying impression is that they all just hate the Brits anyway, and couldn't give a f*ck!

Should your complaint take you down the "Technical" route, which can once again be e-mailed to avoid the fuck-up that they call the automated response computer, you will receive a call-back from somewhere in India, and you will repeatedly have to request that they speak more slowly. They appear competent, and genuinely willing to help, although how much help they can give, I would not know, since I did not go that route this time, having trodden it so many times, and arrived at the same conclusion each time, - - that there was nothing that could be done technically, it was just the number of others drawing down data at the same time!

So you could liken BT to a hotel that is fraudulently trading. They are selling and overbooking 150 bedrooms, when they only have 50 bedrooms, so you end up with 2 springs out of the mattress, half a pillow, and one sheet.

18 months ago a fibre optic cable was laid 30 yards past my front gate, but evidently nothing has happened concerning that development. Certainly it is not being used, as I have checked with all the other operators concerning broad band in my area. It seems the entire country, in whatever aspect you care to examine, is a total screw-up.

Anyway, that's my blast.

If you get problems, inundate the f*ckers.

James Higham said...

Now I'm not disagreeing and it's an issue for a future post but what has this to do with the AFL Grand Final?

Anonymous said...

What degree of likely-hood is there that any future post would have relevance to the subject I raised?

I'm absolutely steaming on this as I have been unable to access the internet for the previous 35minutes because the data rate, if there was one, was too little for my router to pick up on.

And BT do not give a flying f*ck.

Sorry James. To answer your question, - - nothing.

But .....

James Higham said...

OK, not fussed at all. :)

Keep it rolling. Don't start me this evening though on BT. I was in a mellow mood.

Anonymous said...


I wish.

I'm frantic.

The world we know is disintegrating, going down the pan. The sell out is almost complete.

QE to infinity to create hyperinflation is the only way for the western world to handle the derivatives, and it will be a western world problem when the BRICS (and others) insulate themselves from the effects.

FEMA was practicing for mass inoculations in 2007.

The US Treasury Department also began coordinated flu pandemic preparations with Homeland Security also in 2007.

Replikins, a Boston-based biotech company, warned governments in 2008 of developing flu viruses that were of concern.

"The current H1N1 outbreak in Mexico in early 2009 was predicted by Replikins, a Boston-based biotech company in April of 2008 using human, not pig data. Replikins also indicates it alerted public health authorities and government agencies of its prediction. Replikins says changes in Replikin Count have been shown to precede the clinical reality by six to 12 months in all other influenza outbreaks of record. The company says it has demonstrated that all influenza pandemics and epidemics, and their cessation, over the last 90 years have been associated with statistically significant changes in the concentration (Replikin Count™) of a particular group of genomic peptides of the virus associated with rapid replication (Replikins)".

The $9 billion the U.S. allotted to fight a flu that has crossed continents, that did not spark a deadly flu outbreak in South America during their flu season, and which so far has resulted in fewer deaths than recent past seasonal flu outbreaks in North America, speaks for intentional misdirection or even possible conspiracy involving vaccine makers and politicians to create a flu pandemic. And it won't be the first time, as I posted here, oh, about 18 months ago!

That the so-called swine flu was first observed in Mexico just at the same time Nicholas Sarkozy, president of France, was visiting there to announcement the establishment of a new French vaccine plant in Mexico has just got to be more than coincidence.

The mortality rate, currently of the new strain, is LESS than for normal type flu that happens every year.

And now the UK gov't is pushing, GPs are calling out to patients.....come and get it....

Something stinks.

And my Grandchildren have arrived with letters from their school saying their thumbprints on a data-base will be required for access to the school library system.

Something else stinks!

In fact everything stinks, and that's before I even think about the G20 parade of culpable scum

Felonius Monk said...

I have been a St.Kilda fan since I discovered the AFL ten years ago(I'm American),and while it was heartbreaking to see them fall short,what better opponent to lose to than Geelong?

James Higham said...

Heh, Felonius - an actual comment on football.

I feel sorry for St Kilda fans.

Don't forget we came back from the wilderness too after 44 years in 2007.

I'd already thought, in the head, that if the Saints won, oh well, that was really nice for them. I was really pleased when the Swans won a few years back too.

No one dislikes St Kilda, even in the rougher years.

It's a pity it had to happen this way.

Strange theat an Englishman should be addressing an American on an Australian game.