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Supporting the Socceroos is absolutely absurd

To say I am looking forward to my live blog of the Honduras versus Socceroos game on Saturday morning is as understated as claiming that a FIFA World Cup will be exciting.


The palpable sense of history that lies before a besieged Socceroos manager, and a playing group still unable to find the net with the frequency required, is enough to send Australian football fans into a collective lather.


Many will be conjuring up images of 2005. John Aloisi’s penalty and Mark Schwarzer’s heroics in goal on that famous night still stir the loins. Those images will live forever.


The national team stands either at the doorstep of doom, facing years in the World Cup wilderness and waiting patiently for another shot at qualification through the ever-improving Asian confederation, or they are about to provide another glorious moment in Australia’s footballing history.


If there is one thing we do manage very well in this country, it is the construction of footballing scripts that lay out narratives with the potential to play out in either the most horrific or heroic manner.


Nothing has ever come easy for Australian football. It has been a battle from day one, one which has built the legends we love and treasure, and by whom we continue to be inspired.


The recent passing of Les Murray reminds us again of the journey, the obstacles and the men who refused to submit to the intimidating nature of the task.


As a result, we are all hardwired with something to prove. Some of us feel like the target of the schoolyard bully, teased and tormented by the big ogre who doesn’t like us or our game.


Others take a more measured and patient approach, waiting in the wings for the world game to finally become Australia’s game.


A third group live day to day, bearing the weight of the rock which sits atop their shoulders, swinging violently and deriding the status quo.


It is at moments such as the one about to unfold on Saturday in San Pedro Sula and in Sydney five days later, that all these personalities come together, seeking a united voice that lifts our boys (and increasingly our girls) to places that were once only dreams.


Once again, the recent narrative has been somewhat absurd.


The new manager takes over in 2013 and plays 40 to 50 players in friendlies, as he tries to identify the future nucleus.


An awful draw greets the squad at the 2014 World Cup and a straight-sets exit is the result, despite some promising moments.


A settled squad powers its way to Asian Cup success in 2015. The manager is lauded as potentially one of the best mentors in any code in the country.


Mid-way through the qualification stages for the 2018 Cup, the structure of the team is adjusted exposing frailties at the back. The public outcry is considerable, the manager is petulant and unwavering, and the results become shaky.


The team fails to do enough before embarking on the all-too-familiar play-off rollercoaster. Mastering the Asian section, just, they arrive in Honduras seeking a solid result before finishing the job back on home soil.


All the while, in the background, the media hype the pending resignation of the coach or the natural completion of his contract, and the heroics of our ageing legend, who continues to find ways to drag the squad to the big dance despite many of our attacking options seemingly having nothing to wear.


Moreover, Tim Cahill arrives at this dance hobbling, as the nation holds its breath after his tumble on Friday night.


Who writes this stuff?


Australian football continues to find ways to contrive the most appallingly tragic and dramatic storylines, while at the same time providing the backdrop for potential ecstasy.


For once, could we just be a little boring? You know, the team that cruises through qualification, only dropping a few points.


The squad that has a few different options in attack, a settled defence, and clear hope for the future seen in the youthful talent being blooded into the squad.


The team where many of the players ply their trade on the local scene, eliminating the need for extensive travel and the gathering of a group that is blessed with ample preparation time.


I guess that just isn’t us. Perhaps we should embrace our actual identity and celebrate it.


I’ll set the alarm early, not that I will need it, and be up to do some last-minute prep, eagerly anticipating the team announcements. Come full-time, I may be sitting with a stunned and forlorn frown, the task of reversing the result at ANZ Stadium a few days later firmly on my mind.


Alternatively, and more attractively, I hope to be writing the match report with a goofy smile on my face after a polished performance.


However things pan out in leg one, extravagant narratives are likely.


The manager might see more heat than ever if the back three is exposed yet again. An explosive press conference walk-out? A verbal farewell with a veiled swipe at the FFA?


Contrastingly, a smug and confident manager may board a plane to finish the qualification task on home soil.


Nothing will shock us and there will be an element of the amazing in whatever happens, yet the most astonishing of all would revolve around Cahill.


With the Socceroos’ penchant for melodrama, the idea of an old, one-legged man summoning a final miracle could be one of Australia’s greatest sporting moments.


Personally, I would much prefer a brace from Tomi Juric after quality work from Matthew Leckie and Robbie Kruse on the flanks, however that may be a little fanciful.


This is, unfortunately, what Australian football is all about. It is what will drag us out of bed early on Saturday, what will make us punch the air when we score, and shed tears when things look grim.


We are Socceroos fans and the absurd is our thing. We are used to it and ready to go another round. At least, I think we are.


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