July 7, 2017 by
Filed under: NSW Demons 

by Darren Spence

I don’t know about you but all day I had this feeling. It’s not one that I have experienced often in recent years. All day waiting for the game to start and even during the game the feeling of my heart beating out of my chest.

  • Was it because I realised the importance of this game for our final aspirations?
  • Was it because I realised that we are indeed a genuine contender this year and these are the games that we need to win but somehow never seem to?
  • Was it because it was the end of Ramadan and as such all pubs were closed and I couldn’t watch the game having a beer?
  • Was it because I had to watch the game at home on my computer with dodgy WiFi expecting any minute for it to go down leaving me no option to watch the game?

I still don’t know the answer to this but I was genuinely nervous all day Saturday right up to the final siren with (and I know I have said this a lot recently) one of our best wins in many years.

A lot has been said about us not winning against the Eagles in Perth since 2002…yes it was a LONG time ago…I actually remember that game. It had quite a few parallels to the game on the weekend, the Eagles kicked a goal in the first minute of the game, we came from behind in the last quarter to win by 6 points and it was a key forward that won the game for us. Back then it was David Neitz who kicked 3 last quarter goals to get us over the line well supported by Travis Johnstone, Stephen Powell, Paul Wheatley and Clint Bizzell….yes it is a long time ago!

But I don’t read too much into that. The Eagles are a hard team to beat in Perth, it is the hardest road trip in footy and most teams struggle to win over there but now we stand as the only team in the competition to have won all interstate games this year and how good does that sound? It says a lot about the inbred belief that this team has to overcome any adversity and a sense that they can indeed win any game.

And overcome adversity they did! Yes the Eagles had some key personnel out but they are a quality outfit with aspirations to go deep into September but for our boys to get up missing Jones (and his immeasurable leadership) as well as Watts and Hogan and then losing Viney (for a quarter) and Salem and Garlett; words cannot express how proud I was after the game. In fact there weren’t any words…it was just a loud scream and punching the computer table numerous times….it was loud…so loud in fact that security knocked on my door to check everything was OK.

The grin on my face told him everything he needed to know and I actually really didn’t care if I disturbed the neighbours with my celebration as they were celebrating the end of Ramadan…I was still the happiest and loudest man in Jakarta last Saturday night.

I had the belief that we had to start well on Saturday. We haven’t started well in many games this year and over in Perth with a parochial crowd, it was all the more important to weather the early storm. It started ominously. With a goal in the first minute and our boys struggling to get inside 50, my heart started beating faster. But then he stood up. Jack Viney take a bow. Sole captain for the first time in his career he single handedly brought his mates into the game with a massive 10 clearances and a goal in the first quarter.

The game itself was a quality game. It was close all day and I couldn’t help but be impressed with the way our boys take on the game at every opportunity. It goes back to what I was saying earlier, they have this belief and trust in one another that sadly has been lacking for many a year. They are fast, they are attacking, they are competitive, they are now a force to be reckoned with.

Another impressive thing about the win was that many of our best players in the past weeks were down on output on Saturday. This was more than made up with the game from Viney (38 possessions, 26 of those contested), he missed most of the 3rd quarter and was still BOG by the length of the Nullabour Highway.

Tom McDonald with 5 goals including the match winner, Tyson with 33 touches, Lewis with 29, Vince with 27, Oliver with 28 and the return of big Maxy with 42 hit outs all dragging the mighty Demons to a famous win in the West. More into these stats, I loved how the senior guys all lifted. Viney, Lewis, Hibberd, Vince all had high numbers in the critical final term and delivered us the vital 4 points.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the Oliver incident at half time. He has copped it from every corner on Social Media and the press. I think people forget sometimes that he is just 19. He is a still a baby in a man’s world and I am sure the leaders at the club and the coaches will get around him and support him over the coming weeks/months as he undoubtedly will cop abuse for his apparent dive and subsequent tweet.

Talking about coming weeks…..what about this Friday night against the Swans? Two teams in red hot form, two teams vying for the finals, a record crowd expected. Can we make it 5 wins in a row? You bet we can!

Go Dees


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