The Match Report for Swans V Elephants
Posted by Vietnam Swans on August 22, 2009
Literary great, and footballer, Matty Townsend writes the Tribute Match Report between the Veitnam Swans and Lao Elephants held on 8 August 2009 in Hanoi.
Fabbo put the heat on me to write a match report. I told him the truth: I am not very good at football, and it takes all the concentration my little Gen X head can muster to focus on the task at hand. I’m not composing literary sketches out there: I’m attempting to take my place in the grand tradition of Michael Symons, Jonathan Robran and Ben Doolan. That tradition? People you barely remember doing unremarkable things with great, great concentration.
So all I can do is tell you what happened to me, and what happened to everyone else as far as I can remember it. It may not be entirely accurate.
The game started hot. It also finished hot and it was bloody hot in between. I started in the backline and deliberately stepped on the toes of the bloke I was playing on, but he seemed fairly relaxed about it. I was pleased to be in a backline with Aiden, whom I didn’t know but everyone seemed quite confident about, which in turn made me confident. Then he limped off with some bogus ”injury”, and I remembered that you can never trust people from the public service, because they’re lazy.
Side note: the Swans have heaps and heaps of bald men. I can’t interpret what that means.
Another thing: is anyone even sure that Dave Kainey has a job in Singapore? Is he like the Japanese salaryman who gets sacked but can’t face his wife to tell her and just pretends to go to work every day? How in God’s name is he here every second weekend?
Anyway, the football started and we were rubbish. Henry from the Phants got a lot of touches early but Trav said he thought he “…was dancin’ like a little pumpkin in a kids’ beauty contest”. I have to say that that’s not actually a direct quote but reconstructed from a post-match conversation, and so I have to be realistic that it may not even have been Trav that said that. In fact, I may not actually have had that conversation.
Anyway, their 12-y-o midfielder with the shaved head was the one who actually cut us up. My apologies if you’re him and you’re reading this and you’re not twelve, but you played well so shut up anyway.
Ben Leaver was the best player of the quarter but he didn’t really have any competition on our side. I don’t know Ben but he is a gracious host, which I think is a lost art these days, much more graceful than Brian “The Whale” Roberts, who is also a football playing publican but an arsehole to boot. The bloke I was on (who was either called ‘Ayesy, Aiseigh or Eh-Zee) was a really lovely bloke, and fortunately dropped both marks that he led for. Nothing to do with me: I was five metres behind him both times.
Quarter time had a lot of angst, like the new Terminator movie, which is almost unwatchable. The movie does have Christian Bale in it though, and he speaks very forcefully, which I can imagine would be persuasive if I were in the difficult circumstances he and his friends were in.
Willy wheeled round the back of a pack in the second term and slammed a kick around his body that I remember thinking looked quite artful. Shannon and Mickey Francis didn’t seem to have a lot of puff but both looked dashing. We had a squad of 443 players and I think it went to our heads, because the changes off the bench were putrid. Jerry ended up on the big mining-town unit with the rope necklace, which looked dangerous for a while, but then Jerry took off at one stage on one off his trademark runs up the guts and it was all a little Salvador Dali, which comforted me in an unusual way.
(PS – ask any woman who grew up near any Australian coastal town: rope necklaces on a guy mean only one thing and it’s not something you want to find out about late in the piece. I have it on excellent authority. Email Fabbo for details).
Halfway through the quarter, I got pinged holding the ball by Bruce Spence’s unfortunate looking nephew. I promised myself I’d be gracious about the embarrassment of getting done by someone worse at football than me, until he opened up on me after the game over what an idiot I’d been to hang onto it, at which point I thought: bugger him, he’ll never get any better looking no matter what I write.
Half time: We split into groups of about 137 and the captains of each unit addressed the masses. Derrin was very encouraging to the backmen. I had one bottle of water and remember wondering how Dan physically reconstructs himself each morning into human form.
Also: I am led to believe that Potsy is a businessman. Unless you are Man Friday from Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Robinson Crusoe”, you need to own and occasionally wear a shirt to do business. If anyone can categorically prove that Potsy owns a shirt, I will buy them a copy of Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Robinson Crusoe”.
Drew lost ten kilos and gained three inches in the third quarter, looking far more like the 2002 Anthony Rocca than the 2008 Rocca he normally does. Actually, even a little 1995 Anthony Koutafides, to be truthful. In fact, was John Coleman part-Croatian? It doesn’t matter. Late in the term, Daisy leaned over to Gus and said that he thought the girl in the denim shorts looked like this waitress he knows in Nha Trang. Jesus, wait, that wasn’t then. I’m losing it now.
I don’t remember it at the time but I’ve done the calculations and Fabbo must have started his after-match speech at three quarter time.
The fourth was fantastic to watch, especially from the last line of defence because the ball never came anywhere near us for the first four minutes. I defied Willy’s “get off the field every sixteen seconds” proclamation at least until the ball came down a couple of times, by which time the little ants up the other end of the field had done very exciting things that I couldn’t see clearly but meant that we weren’t losing by as much.
So, then we won by 4 points, which was very exciting. I don’t know who kicked the goals but so guess what anyway, all you goalkickers should just suck it up for once because match reports always tell it like the goals were the only things that matter. What about the way I stepped on that bloke’s toes at the opening, and asked him what his favourite thing about living in Laos was? That stuff lays the foundations.
And did anyone see Nicko on the day? I’m sure he must have played but I just didn’t notice him at all.
Photos courtesy of . More match day photos have been added to the .