AFL Round 19: Swans cap off Mickey’s 300th with a fine win

By Keiran Croker

On Sunday I headed off to the ’G for a breakthrough in the Swans’ history, it being the first time one of our players would play 300 games for the club.  I was in my collar, tie and jacket (no jeans) as it was also my first time to watch a game from the MCC members.  A lifelong friend, a Tigers supporter, had invited me to join his table of 12, made up mostly of Deepdene cricketers, who follow the Tigers, plus three Swans supporters, including me.
The day starts early with lunch in the Members’ dining room – prawns for entrée, lamb shoulder and a couple of nice reds.  A bit different from the usual pie and a beer.  As the first bounce nears, I head out to our seats in somewhat of a red wine haze.  Most of the Tigers supporters head for the bar, maybe they know what is to come.

Fortunately, the first half of the quarter is like any typical Swans game – tight, lockdown, man-on-man footy, so I do not miss much as I settle into the game.  Cousins snaps a nice left foot goal in his 250th  to open the scoring.  The Swans reply with scrappy goals to Moore, Jack and Goodes and start to take control, with Goodesy prominent at centre half-forward, a position he is likely to occupy in coming years.  However bad misses from Jude Bolton (memories of the 2006 grand final flood back) and Luke Ablett, both from 20 metres directly in front, plus an interchange infringement resulting in a goal to the Tigers, keep them within 9 points at the first break.

As the second quarter progresses the Swans pressure, and the Tigers’ constant turnovers, starts to see a gap on the score board.  Jesse White is prominent upfront and kicks 2 goals, but misses another three.  If he can improve his kicking this kid will be very good.  Jude Bolton kicks one from the boundary line to redeem himself and Ablett takes a mark 5 metres out, so that even he can’t miss.  By half time the lead has stretched to 29 points and I retire to the dining room for afternoon tea of party pies, pasties and scones.

The third quarter starts and I return to my seat. By now I am by myself as all the Tigers supporters are in the bar.  I’m happy, though, as Goodesy is totally dominant with 3 goals for the quarter and Mickey O running around like a 19 year old, appearing up on the backline, taking marks upfront and kicking a couple of goals.  Some of the young blokes really contribute, with Smith, Hannebery and O’Dwyer all looking classy.  I don’t know why they have taken so long to give Matt O’Dwyer a game; he looks particularly good in his first run for the year.  A dominant 8 goal to 2 quarter sees us more than 10 goals up at the last break.

The last quarter is spent in the Frank Grey Smith Bar over a few beers.  I keep an eye on the TV screen, even if the Swans have stopped to a crawl, with Crouch and McVeigh off with leg injuries, and the Tigers get a few consolation goals.  As the game moves to its final moments we head out to the terrace to applaud a true great of the Swans, Michael O’Loughlin: 300 games and more than 500 goals in 15 years, in which time we have played in the finals 11 times, for one premiership and two other grand final appearances.  This has been an unprecedented time in our history, in no small part due to the magic of Mickey O. Congratulations and well done, Mick!

I take a moment to reflect on the fact that back in Grade 4 in 1967 my mate Tim nearly converted me to the Tigers.  Sure I might have enjoyed 5 premierships in 15 years to 1980, but then I would have had nearly 30 years of misery to follow.

The Swans have not always been easy to follow over the course of 50 years, but we have never ever stopped trying, and the last two weeks have given me hope that we are heading in the right direction.  I am proud to follow the Swans, and would not be a Tigers supporter for quids.

Comments

  1. Rod Gillett says:

    Great report Keiran!

    It was a special day for the Swans with Mago playing his 300th game for the club.
    Glad you were able to enjoy the spectacle from the MCC Members enclosure.

    Your loyalty to the Swans confirms my long-held view that it is easier to change religion than football teams!!

  2. Tim Norton says:

    You did mention the post match entertainment…whose bad idea was that?

Leave a Comment

*