I knew I had to do a write up for the game, I made jokes during the week about how I should just copy and paste notes from our previous derby performances, “looking weak in the middle, rubbish in the final third, not creating enough chances, trying to walk it in” yada, yada, yada.
But I still held out for hope.
After going down 1-0 in the 4th minute, I started seriously considering taking a different path creatively. Fan fiction. Maybe I could just write what I imagine I want to happen? Riera scoring two in front of The Cove, taking a page out of La Rocca’s book, putting up his Westside sign and going on to complete his hattrick with a goal in the 82nd in front of the RBB. We go nuts.
But I digress.
Mentality is a word we’ve been using a lot recently. This is the third year without a home. We lost our inaugural coach, a week before season kick off (I’m not still bitter, YOU are. Whatever. I’m fine.). We haven’t had a consistent captain. We’ve gotten used to flushing out the majority of our team in pre-season and starting again. So yeah, we’re lacking in the mentality department.
Now we have a coach that doesn’t mince his words, doesn’t care to sugar-coat and has come out point blank and said that lacking a winning mentality is our biggest weakness. Considering we all love to talk about how form goes out the window during a derby, one could say these games rely heavily on mentality. Babbel is aware of his colossal task.
So, we’ve gone down 2-0 in the 53rd minute, I’m waiting for whatever the hell MB has said in the change rooms at half time to kick in. Some sort of fighting spirit. I’m getting cold, I’m over the weird thing the shape of the SCG is doing with my eyes (seriously, what a horrible venue for a football match, I had to adjust my eyes to see which way the rectangle was placed), we’re all in desperate need of something, ANYTHING.
After his missed chances in the first half, Roly Bonevacia delievers in the 59th minute. Yes. YES. HERE WE GO. You can see it in his face, and the players around him. You can feel it. Turning point, we’ve got it. Grab the ball from the back of the net, we’re not done yet.
We can see the VAR pending yellow dots on the screen, for offside? Surely not. Let’s get on with it, this is messing with momentum. Wait a minute, no goal? For a foul? WHAT. IS. GOING. ON. HERE?!
At this point the swears around me have turned into full blown hysterical laughs. Babbel loses his cool and rightly so. He is shown a red card. Off he goes, it’s a circus.
A derby is emotional, the man is trying to lift up his team who are trailing. Building team mentality from the ground up is an incredibly difficult task, HOW IS THIS MAN MEANT TO DO HIS JOB WHEN THEY GET SHUT DOWN THE VERY SECOND THEY SHOW SIGNS OF LIFTING?!
To be honest I just wanted him to yell out at his players to pack up, signal at the RBB as well so we could all get the f*%k out of there. I was so done.
The VAR was brought into place to avoid controversies like these, not to create them. I’m not team #VARout, I’m team #CurrentRefsOut. We just can’t be trusted with this technology if we don’t have the best possible people making the calls for it. It is inconsistent, and it is not being used correctly.
I can handle a derby loss, it doesn’t even hurt that much anymore. I’m dead inside. I can’t remember what winning a derby feels like.
However, decisions like the ones last night – there was also a penalty that should have been given, don’t @ me – like the ones last week, like the ones last season are ruining the game for me, and many others. You don’t have to be a fan of the Wanderers or Victory or Newcastle to hate when bad decisions like that are made. If you’re a fan of the game, you would be livid too.
I was holding out for hope before the game, but I forgot about VAR.
Featured image from FTBL Life Twitter page.