Amongst the questions that we pondered on the bus trip to Northcote - if Romeo and Juliet were around today, would they die their hair raven black, dress up in mourning clothes with the pale makeup and black eyeliner and sit under the clocks at Flinders Street Station on a Friday night? Gains, Steve from Broady and me also discussed the merits of Chekhov, Gogol and Vonnegut. We discussed the ceaseless contest between youth's faith in using the rare example over the elder's preference for basing their judgments on a form of experience which seeks to negate the improbable, yet possible?
What could bring up such weighty topic of conversation. Gianni De Nittis of course. We fought over both his legacy, whether he had any untapped potential, and the thought only occurs to me now, whether he simply managed to have scored in two massively important games in the space of two weeks, cementing his status as a VPL South legend but unfairly burdening him with expectations which he would seldom be able to meet in future.
We watched the majority of the under 21s contest. We don't talk much about the under 21s on here - after blitzing the field last season, this year has seen defensive frailties creep into their game. De Nittis had been relegated to the 21s, and opened the scoring with apparently a ripping goal. I couldn't see it from my vantage point inside the social club. I did however see him try to be tricky, lose the ball, and retaliate with tackle from behind. The offence saw him get a red card. As Vonnegut's Tralfamadoreans said, 'so it goes'. The game finished at 2-2.
The main event was an even affair for sixty minutes. Which is to say, the Knights played well without creating too many chances, while we were forced onto the sidelines with very little room to move in the middle. Our short passing game was non-existent, and we seemed to be clueless as to how to work out something which might get us a goal, other than Mick Malthouse style chip kicks along the outer side, which almost inevitably had Jesse Krncevic, turning and shooting off balance into the side netting, or straight at our old foe Martin John.
When Steven O'Dor gave away an obvious handball in the box, the world paused as the referee seemed to lag behind the rest of the crowd in acknowledging the /infringement. But once his consultation with the corresponding linesperson was done, the Knights got their penalty and a deserved lead despite Zaim Zeneli moving to the correct side. The Knights kept up the pressure, and probably should have made it 2-0, but for one slightly convoluted explanation, which is as follows.
During the game one of the many Georges at South Melbourne suggested that the Knights were of the same ilk as the South of 2008. That is, they could fight and scrap and even dominate a match, but their inability to score goals would always come back to haunt them. People like to see parallels between the past and the present as a way of making sense of the world, but that particular George may have been on to something there. Pound for pound the Knights were the better team for seventy minutes; they even had the lead - and yet they just couldn't jag the result.
South finally woke up, having made use of its substitutions in an effort to win the game. The most important of these was Daniel Vasilevski, though both Kyle Joryeff and Kamal Ibrahim added something for which Gasparis, Petrovich and Taseski had not. Still, for about ten minutes we spent most of our energy on trying to snag an unlikely long range effort. But then Vasilevski - the only player who should be allowed to take our shooting free kicks - put one away into the top corner where even the valiant efforts of Martin John could do nothing about it, and all of a sudden, we felt a draw would be a good result after playing so poorly.
But that plan was ruined when we scored again, Ibrahim setting up an easy finish for Krncevic, the prodigal son continuing to put goals away. And then we scored another one, Joryeff putting his name down to become the new Yusef Yusef by scoring a junk time goal to rub pure iodine into the open wounds of the visitors. The Knights deserved at least a draw, but such is the game of football that even relative dominance is nothing without putting the ball in the back of net.
We don't have the wood on too many sides these days, but the Knights for some reason continue to find ways to see us get the three points more often than not. While I was disappointed with the majority of the performance by our boys, there's a certain satisfaction in getting a win over an old rival when they gave it more than a good shake and it still wasn't enough.