As per the generous sponsorship of IKT Knowledge (Via Mr Damo Judd) I was lucky enough to travel to Indonesia last weekend. As a thank-you I agreed to do a write up of the weekend so here is my attempt to make some sense of the chaos that ensued as the Jakarta Bintangs hosted the Vietnam Swans on the second competitive game of the year. The Swans travelled with a healthy looking squad comprising of veterans, gun players, newbies and a raft of immigrants ranging from the beautiful mountains of Canada to the gorgeous and welcoming pubs of Ireland.
The Bintangs started the game at a ferocious pace clocking up an impressive four goals in the first 10 minutes; with a very plausible thrashing on their hands, the Swannies came to life and bombarded the Bintangs’ goal for the rest of the first quarter. It was a tremendously exciting first period with Vaughan, James and Scotty all playing their role in scoring and creating goals for the Bintangs whilst Billy and Dan recovered from their first 10 minutes to shut down the potent Bintang attack.
At quarter time, with the Swannies ahead on the scoreboard, the crowd rippled with excitement at the prospect of another exhilarating and high scoring 2nd period. They were treated to the latter as the Bintangs exploded from the blocks and tormented the Swannies defence with some clinical finishing. The Butcher made mince meat of the Swannies defence showing his prowess with a number of smart turns and kicks. The Swannies defence wasn’t helped by the midfield and forward lines inability to man up and perhaps the team as a whole misjudged the situation, leaning towards a more attacking mentality rather than trying to shut the Bintangs down.
I wish I could say the Swannies learned their lesson in the third quarter but unfortunately the Bintangs continued to turn the screw with more accurate kicking and better anticipation under the high ball. Frankly, the Swannies were dejected and unable to lift themselves in the two crucial quarters that saw the game swing favourably in the Bintangs direction. Problems arose all over the pitch, where we were second to a lot of the ball, our kicking was as wild as Nicko’s negotiating at a currency exchange counter and our decision making was as existent as common sense was in our previous night’s antics.
But in the infamous words of the even more infamous Manu “We are the Swannies, the mighty mighty Swannies” and we were not going to go down without a fight. Coach Andy and a few of the senior players along with an overenthusiastic but awesomely cool Tuan rallied the troops at three quarter time. The team came out of the traps like a locomotive steam engine, battling to every ball and contesting every possession. Travy got on the end of some great passes and poached a few goals whilst Vaughan, Trent, James and Josh Leary amongst others put in a huge last quarter to make the scoreline a bit more respectable.
Fearing that the game was getting away from them, the Bintangs threw on former Swannie superstar Shagger who attempted to turn the game back in the Bintangs favour but was shut down emphatically by the much improved Swans defence and midfield.
At the final siren, the Bintangs ran out comfortable winners but there was an element of positivity about how the Swans responded to the dreadful two quarters that saw the game get away from them. It’s never easy travelling to such a strong footy stronghold; the Bintangs were well worth their win with a number of their players putting in top quality performances. What really stood out was their lethal kicking, kicking a total of 22 goals and 5 behinds – which works out at a shooting accuracy of about 81%, a phenomenal effort; but we can’t just credit their display and performance to their ability to kick goals, it was their all round play that tormented the Swans and put them in such kickable scoring positions.
So what now for the Vietnam Swannies? Well we get back up off the deck, brush ourselves down and get ready for the most important game of the year – ANZAC Day. Despite the loss we can take huge encouragement from the game – Trent Davies played superbly in the half back line, Scotty Radford showed a level of ability and aggression that bodes well for the midfield, Vaughan demonstrated his ability to perform in the big games – claiming ‘Best on Ground’ for the Swans, Timmy Pickert showed what an awesome guy he is by again making the 17 hour trip to play with his favourite Asian footy team and the group as a whole bonded and strengthened their playing relationship and their camaraderie over what was a very testing but enjoyable weekend.
Two particular mentions should go to the very generous donations by club sponsors Dragon Industries Asia and who sponsored Scott Radford and I to travel and play in the game. Many thanks for generosity.
By the way I also had an awesome game completely shutting down ex-swannie Dave O’Shea…..just saying.
Til next time,