I am a Sydney Suns supporter and I will not apologise. They are my local team, full of friends and teammates, and I forgave the purple stripes long ago.
I want to watch them play with my own eyes, I want to see them crush it in the flesh.
I want to wear my Mike Neild jersey to Leichhardt Oval next weekend and not get any lip about it, because I want Sydney to be in the final, with the hometown crowd behind them, after winning this game to go.
Sydney and Brisbane have looked a cut above the rest all season, disposing of the bottom half of the ladder with big point differentials. Especially in light of Melbourne’s recent tendency to escape by fine margins, both the Suns and the Breakers will feel disappointed not to have taken the top spot.
Now they’re forced to meet each other in a high-stakes final round, in a naturally occurring semi-final between two of the best teams in the AUL.
The Suns will be looking to their stats leaders to get the frisbee rolling against Brisbane. Evans and Blakely will throw the goals, and Dawson and Blakely will catch them (Tex is having a blinder). They’ll look to move the frisbee through the big T’s at the back: Tulett, Thomas and T’Eunice Cheung.
‘Block-Generation’ is actually Dani Alexander’s middle name. Incredible foresight from her parents. She, together with athletes like Parsons, Dawson, Lee and Wentworth, will present a formidable challenge to the Brisbane women, one that they may not have faced so far in the League.
Bringing it all together will be the Sydney swagger, the skip in our collective step, that we live in the #GCOE and we know it. I’m talking baiting huge blocks, I’m talking skying big packs, I’m talking flick hucks into the wind. Let’s get it!
But Brisbane won’t just roll over because I want to watch Sydney play in Leichhardt. They don’t care about me at all, and they’ll be gunning for a finals berth of their own.
Despite my membership to the Sydney Suns, I know all about the Breaker’s threats – they’ve been carrying my fantasy team all season. Without Grimmond and J-Mac I may never have reached the dizzying heights of 7th on the fantasy ladder (now a lowly 31st), and I kick myself every day for not picking Lyra Meehan or Sophie Taylor.
Brisbane have talent spread evenly across their roster: every player scores goals and every player gets blocks. They have maniacs and superstars that specialise in the ridiculous. They’re anchored by a few incredibly talented throwers, they’re shooting to big bad receivers, and all of them are drunk on the weird, loud, whooping spirit of Queensland going “eight straight”.
Furthermore, the Breakers’ levels of intensity are evenly spread along a spectrum of TiVo to McGuckin, and that is a huge asset. You need smooth operating and cool heads as much as you need hypebeasts in the AUL. Brisbane have it all.
More important than the physical matchup of the team’s players, for me, is the semantic battle between the object or weather phenomenon that they’re playing for. Here’s an excerpt from a thesis I’m writing, set for release next year, titled ‘Paper beats rock but what the hell beats a dragon: Putting AUL team namesakes in a dense, conceptual Thunderdome’:
“We know all about the Sun. It’s 4.6 Billions years old, the facilitator of life on Earth and, in my personal opinion, a real nuisance in the summer. Its heat, weight and density are on a scale we cannot even conceive of. And if you think six-a-side makes the AUL fields look big, then your brain will melt when you realise that the Sun could fit 1.3 Million Earths inside of it.
“A breaker, on the other hand, is like a wave or something. Or is it a person riding a wave? Unclear. ‘Breakers’ is a clever play on words, sure, but a cheeky pun faces formidable opposition from the humongous star that literally powers our planet.
“Even if it is a particularly big swell, like gnarly ten footers (I surf sometimes no biggie), they mean comparatively nothing to a star. Even if you took all the oceans on Earth and simultaneously threw them at the Sun, the impact would be so negligible that that Mars would laugh at you and everyone on the planet would perish.
“Consider, also, that they are the Sydney Suns, implying plural, and you will realise that this is not even a contest. Suns beats Breakers every day of the week. Let’s get it.”
Tune in tonight at 7pm for the most important game of the inaugural Australian Ultimate League season to date. The Sydney Suns take on the Brisbane Breakers in the AUL’s first ever game to go, and it’s going to be a barn-burner.
Written by: Gus Macdonald
Photography: Mark Milne