It's not the result we wanted, and for a good chunk of the game, not the kind of performance we wanted either. The portents were there from before the game, when we saw that once again Gerrie Sylaidos was on the bench. Starting on the bench against Avondale, I can understand even if not entirely agree, but why he didn't start on Monday is anyone's guess.
More to the point, why was Gerrie not subbed on until about ten minutes after Kingston got their red card? And why was Luke Adams not even in the starting eleven? And why was Perry Lambropoulos still starting at right-back? These are the questions that I and many other South fans had on Monday night and afterward. The consensus among our social media dwelling fans seems to be pretty clear. It starts with a back four of KK, Adams, Marshall, and Norton. And just as importantly, starting Gerrie in the same team as Schroen, and dropping one of the two defensive mids we've been starting every game with.
|The VIP section at any ground is wherever Mike Mandalis is located.|
Photo: Luke Radziminksi
If Tangalakis is of the idea that Gerrie and Schroen can't play in the same team, surely that notion would've been dismantled once and for all by the way the team played in the 25 odd minutes they were on the park together. Yes they were playing against ten men, but the team as a whole showed more purpose and drive than it had prior to that point. It's understandable that in some games, against a superior opponent, a coach might want to go more defensive, try to grind out a result. This makes even more sense I suppose when you don't start a recognised striker in a game for seeming lack of other options.
But Kingston, despite being a good team in their own right, are not Bentleigh or Avondale, and we should not be afraid of taking on a team like that. We let them take the initiative in the early part of the game, and were only able to make do with the odd long ball out of defence that caught our opponents out of position. But the fact that we were able to manage to get some good chances out of even
|No amount of voodoo stick magic was able to get us over the line.|
Photo: Luke Radziminksi
Indeed the biggest positive to take from this game, other than the fact that we did fight out the game to the end without too many obvious signs of despair, was Billy's performance. He straightens the team up, provides an obvious focal point, and has a powerful shot. But most importantly, he showed on Monday night that he can also be a hard worker. Numerous times in the latter part of the game, he would move out of the box to provide an option, to collect a pass, to create room in the space left behind for other players to move into.
|This dog is every South fan at the moment.|
Photo: Luke Radziminksi
There's a lot of ifs and buts in that, and if we lose another two or three games soon and find ourselves in the relegation zone rather than hovering above it, all pretense of stoicism will fall away. I hope that it doesn't come to that, because this team has the potential to do good things.
Pascoe Vale away at CB Smith Reserve on Friday night.
On the couch
Thank goodness the footy and the state leagues are starting this week
Kinda weird watching Dandenong City vs Melbourne Knights, this year's variant of the NPL Croatian derby, in that while making references to the FFA Cup match these teams played against each other a year or two back, neither commentator seemed to make reference to the promotion-relegation playoff match they had in 2017, and which one associate of mine who used to work on local building sites said would be fixed in favour of Knights. Now that that result just happened to fall Knights' way proves nothing, but the game itself could've been a momentous occasion, and I wish it'd be treated as such. Far less momentous was this game, which never reached any great heights, and which Melbourne Knights won comfortably.
So over on to another of the live streamed games, Port Melbourne vs Green Gully, at Green Gully Reserve for reasons I do not know. I tried to come up with all sorts of possible reasons, but nothing worth putting to print. It looks like there are even fewer people at the game than either a normal Port or Gully home game, which makes sense. Port is 1-0 down at their home-away-from-home, thanks to a Michael Eagar mistake, and they are soon down 2-0 thanks to Eags again. You can't win them all.
On Saturday, I checked into Avondale vs Pascoe Vale, a pretty ordinary game that was only ever going to have one winner, in part because Davey van 't Schip is being expected to score all of Paco's goals this year; that is, until this Friday one assumes, when Joey Youssef will score his trademark goal against us.
Switching over to the Geelong derby between North Geelong and Geelong. I was promised fireworks and atmosphere the likes of which we scarcely see at this level. Instead we got an awful game, and an audio feed where one had to trust the commentary team that the local Cros were making a lot of noise. At least there was some action eventually, with North taking the lead, and quickly rushing out to a 3-0 lead with the visitors looking totally unlike scoring except for the one time they did, and thus at halftime of this game I switched over to the main event, hoping for no regrets and expecting none.
Altona Magic vs Oakleigh Cannons provided its own moment enlightenment. Now when Chris Taylor was coaching, we were often winning. Sometimes it looked great, sometimes far less so, but even when it didn't, the ends justified the means. But now that CT is at Oaks, along with a variety of former South players of a recent vintage, the style of play is currently borderline unwatchable; I say borderline, because I have been watching them with some regularity this year, but the whole thing has the moral stench of a snuff film. I'm entertained, but I also feel unclean after the experience, like I should be wearing a raincoat and dark shades while entering the theatre via shady back lane entrance. In previous weeks there was the just the idea that Oaks was struggling, perhaps being a touch unlucky, that result would eventually turnaround. And maybe they will. But last week the on-field arguments and abuse towards teammates started, and I felt like I was back in 2018, as people who should've known better chewed each other out and contributed to our own dire situation. And if our own potential 2019 dire situation is not completely unrelated to what happened last year, neither is Oaks situation that far removed. If one was to choose an allegory from Greek mythology, I would choose the well-known fable of Collingwood sacking Mick Malthouse and Carlton rushing in thinking to may hay of that famous ray of sunshine. It didn't work for the Blues, and it's not working yet for Oaks, but it's early days yet. Still, they'd like to get some more points on the board before they're due to beat us in a few weeks.
Live streaming these first few weeks has been a hell of an experience, but all of sudden I feel like I've not really enjoyed much of it; like there has been too much choice and no chance to savour the delights of a singular meal. Hopefully the start of the unstreamed state leagues will get me out of the house and at the grounds a bit more.
At least I got some fresh air and exercise I suppose.