by William Pascoe (Grade 8)
My grandmother was raised as a South Melbourne supporter. Unluckily, she was born the year after South won the 1933 premiership. South Melbourne were one of the great teams at the time but when she was a young girl that came to came to a halt. They missed the finals in 1946 after losing the infamous ‘Bloodbath Grand Final’ in 1945.
She stayed loyal to the Bloods throughout their finals drought until 1970 and again in 1977 when they finished fifth.
My father was born in 1960 and was raised as a South supporter as well, as were his two brothers born in 1962 and 1966 and twin sisters born in 1971. All die-hard Swans fans they supported South as kids and, though disappointed, followed them through their move to Sydney in 1982, 49 years after the Swans last premiership.
Then it came to the year 1996. The Swans finished top of the ladder and looked like potential premiership winners after a 63 year drought. They won the first qualifying final against Hawthorn by a goal in a thriller, but North Melbourne who finished second on the ladder won their final against Geelong easily. Two weeks later playing Essendon in a preliminary final the Swans scraped through by a single point with the help of Tony Lockett’s huge point after the siren. My father took my elder brother who had just turned two to the Grand Final between North and South. The Swans outplayed North in the first quarter and lead by 18 points at quarter-time only for North to come back and win by 43 points. My Father then walked five kilometres home crying all the way.
It all started up again in 2005. My uncle joined the board of the Swans and all of the family was still supporting them, of course. My grandmother who has given the swans craze to the family had five kids who were all married and eight grandchildren (with another five still to come!). At the end of the home and away season the Swans were fourth on the ladder and went over to Perth to play the qualifying final against West Coast. They lost in a cliff-hanger against them.
The next week they played in Sydney against Geelong. They were down by 23 points early in the fourth quarter. My mother repeatedly told me to go to bed thinking we were going to lose. I didn’t listen to a word she said and stayed up to watch the rest of the match. My mother was then proved wrong by Nick Davis coming to save us with four final-quarter goals to get us over the line by three points. Then two days after my sixth birthday we played against St Kilda in the preliminary final. There was a bet on at the time between my aunty and uncle-in- law, that uncle was the only in-law who did not agree to follow the Swans tradition and kept supporting St Kilda. My aunty was pregnant and the bet was that the winner of that final the child would barrack for. At three quarter time the Saints were up by seven points, but the Swans stormed home to win by 31 points.
We then met West Coast in the Grand Final. I sat with all of my Swans relatives at the game. It was close all game and very low-scoring, leading by just two points at three-quarter time. It came down to the last 30 seconds, Leo Barry kicked out from the back pocket straight to Dean Cox who then Kicked straight back in. I saw everyone jump up. Being only 6 I could not see over anyone. I thought all the people who had jumped up were West Coast supporters. Then I heard the siren and realised that Leo had taken the mark.
My grandmother and the rest of my family had seen us win a premiership for the first time. My whole family was ecstatic and my father was crying. I almost felt guilty that I only had to wait six years but for my Grandmother it had taken 71 years for her to see one. She was absolutely thrilled. She saw her mighty Bloods win with all of her family.