First things first. Elbow, Wednesday night, tremendous. Randy Newman and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra on Friday night, equally tremendous. Metro and their stupid revised timetable, not so tremendous. Still, thanks to Randy I was singing and humming 'Short People' for most of the game yesterday. Decent song, but there's no many other better ones why was that one stuck in my head? At least the trip to Dandenong by rail and bus was nice and efficient.
Anyway, to the day's events proper. One could, even at this early stage of what will certainly be another poor match report, start theorising about what could happen next week. But I hardly see the point just yet - Heidelberg still has two games to play before the final round, and while they will be expected to take all nine points from their remaining matches, a slip up in either of the two games before the final round will have significant consequences for everyone else.
Suffice to say that while the results didn't necessarily go our way yesterday, we at least fulfilled our part of the bargain - well, for this week at least. Despite the Thunder's loss of several players, as well as the consequent damaged morale from being docked six points - been there, done that - they still had a chance to play finals football, no matter how much the old Albanian guy munching on pumpkin seeds next to me had already given up the ghost.
And for that, I'm grateful that we started off well, even though we had to rely on desperation and luck to get us over the line. Still, it was nice to see that kind of hunger out there at all, from a team that has been in constant upheaval this season, on and off the park. For the second week in a row, post Joe Montemurro's departure, we moved the ball well and reasonably quickly, used the width available, and gasp, had Eddie barking out orders from the bench.
Eventually our pressure paid off when one of our numerous crosses found a target - this time Jesse Krncevic, whose diving header was angled perfectly into the corner of the net, out of Stuart Webster's reach - to give us a well deserved one nil lead. Thunder should have equalised however, when they somehow managed to hit the crossbar from close range, and the aforementioned old bloke told me to buy a lotto ticket. His whole life in Australia he's been probably waiting for South Dandenong to reach the Victorian top flight and maybe win a title, and I'm destined to never see my team in the true top-flight again. Somewhere in there is an ignoble futility expressed exceedingly poorly. Too many adverbs, perhaps.
The second half was more of the same - hard tackling, wasted chances and a difficult pitch to play on, wet, slippery and with several dead spots where the ball instead of bouncing would get stuck in the mud. Having made the switch to the opposite side of the ground in the second half, it was hard to tell exactly how close the Thunder got to scoring, but from the reaction of the crowd, it was pretty bloody close. Rhodri got caught in the wars again, the recipient of another bruising and probably illegal challenge that wasn't called up - but we hopefully have enough depth now, with most of our squad in reasonable fitness to cover should he not be available next week.
But not close enough, and thus we managed to get the three points and take it to a final round showdown with Northcote, which will hopefully utterly destroy our faux sister club relationship of the past two seasons. What the FFV was thinking when it placed two Greek clubs against each other in the final round I don't know. They probably don't read the papers, because if they did, they might just realise that no one gives a stuff about this league, and that there's probably more worthwhile ways out there of earning a living. Maybe they should ask the owners of the garish mansions around George Andrews Reserve how they make their living.
If I could make any sort of rational sense of this season, I would - though I get the feeling that if we lose to Northcote next week, it'll become perfectly clear, unlike the two messages I got on my phone telling me to be at the MCG today by 12:30 and to remember to grab my beers. What that's all about I do not know.