Only a waterlogged hard slog in teaming rain, bottomless puddles and a descending gloom can produce a gripping game like that.
Footy’s a winter sport and every now and then in Sydney we actually get to play in wintry conditions. And they produce, not pretty, but gutsy footy with everybody throwing their bodies into the contest and through the St Luke’s slosh.
It’s easy in those conditions to lose interest but no-one from either side did in an enthralling game that ebbed and flowed with the torrential rain until Willoughby kicked away with some lucky late goals in the dark for a 12 point win.
Mala returned with a bad haircut but great attitude and showed the way from defence as he attacked the footy, putting his head over the ball and into the puddles.
Covered in mud from the first bounce, Louis and Liam gave us the early edge while Paddy was in and under. Our dominance, however, wasn’t converted on the scoreboard and, after we hit the post and a certain goal to Cam was touched on the line, Willoughby kicked a goal against the run of play to take a lead they never gave up.
But there was never much in it – Wriggles kicked our opening goal while landing on his backside and Pat converted after good lead up work by Liam and Ellis to keep us in the contest.
And when Jordan slid the first goal of his career home from 50m out early in the third quarter, we were back within three points.
The intensity lifted and we regained the momentum as Jacko and Jake were hard at the footy and Liam kept working in conditions not suited to big men.
But, again, a Willoughby goal against the run of play deflated our hard work and as the rain pelted down and it became harder to see across the field, they got their bodies in front at the contest and skipped away to another handy lead at three quarter time.
With a couple of car headlights and the bright lights of the scoreboard showing the way in the final quarter, we kept slogging away but couldn’t quite match Willoughby’s endeavour despite late goals to Louis and Cam.
Many thanks to our soaked volunteers, especially goal umpire Peter, whose misery of standing in the torrential rain was compounded by his iphone showing him Collingwood getting smacked by West Coast.
Boundary umpire Matt, however, had a far better way of easing his drenched discomfort, with his trusty and well stocked esky sitting on the boundary line waiting for him after the final siren.
CANADA BAY 5.7.37 Goals: Wriggles, Pat, Jordan, Louis, Cam.