AFL Round 2 – Sydney v Gold Coast: Proudly Sydney

The 2012 AFL premiership flag was unfurled prior to the commencement of the match. In line with tradition it was unfurled by the wife of the Swans’ club chairman, Susie Colless. It was a proud moment for a club that has had more downs than ups but is now the most respected club in the competition. The background banner said it all, Proudly Sydney.

Prompted by the controversy over the promotion of the previous week’s local derby with the GWS Giants encounter billed as the Battle of the Bridge, The Sydney Morning Herald publishes Roy Morgan Research that reveals that the Swans supporters come from all over Sydney. Surprisingly the supporter base is stronger in western Sydney (16.3%) than the city and east (13.8%).

I travelled from the Shire in Sydney’s south (where 12.6% of supporters live) where I stayed with my younger brother to the game with my son. I met up with my old mate, Dave Warner, the uber Suburban Boy, not the cricketer, to watch the game. Dave, a Swans ambassador now lives in Manly (15.4 % of fans live in the north). The research also showed that more than a quarter of the Swans supporters lived in the country and 15 % were from interstate.

Showers rain on the Swans parade and the flag raising ceremony is a wet affair but still brings tremendous joy to the crowd of over 20,000. There was no Gold Coast cheer squad and my son only spotted two Suns clad supporters outside the ground, one of whom was wearing a Lions beanie. Queenslanders.

The steady rain made for a tight contest early but the Suns were able to break away through Gary Ablett giving Ryan O’Keefe the slip and Charlie Dixon providing good presence up forward to lead by a point at quarter time. Big, bustling hairy Dixon is the nephew of Swans former captain, coach and board member Rick Quade. No surprise really given that Rick has twelve siblings.

The rain pelted down in the second term and seemed to suit the Suns but as the quarter wore on the Swans physical strength and ability to win contested ball through Jazza McVeigh and Joey Kennedy came to the fore and the home team had a 3 goal lead at half-time.

The rain receded after half-time and the game opened up enabling the Swans speedsters Keiran Jack and Lewis Jetta to run amok. Meanwhile, the tenacious Nick Smith put the hand-cuffs on Ablett, however, rising Suns star Jaegar O’Meara in just his second game kept getting the footy. O’Meara is a seriously talented footballer.

Warner is critical of the Swans tactics of playing the resting ruckman at full-forward. He has no sooner said so and Mike Pyke pulls in another mark and kicks a goal. Pyke has been a stunning success and without doubt is the best of the code converters, Karmichael Hunt, and the now departed Israel Folau – given that both Keiran Jack and LRT played extensive junior football.

As a Canadian rugby player Pyke played wing three quarter and famously scored an intercept try against the All Blacks from a pass from no less a player than one their very best, Daniel Carter.

In an entertaining third quarter both sides kicked five goals but the Swans are clearly in control at lemon-time.

The Swans kick well clear in the final term with six goals with Luke Parker showing McGlynn and Jetta where the goals are. The Suns do not turn it up with Dixon, O’Meara and Jarrad Harbrow continuing to provide drive into attack and K. Hunt providing suitable menace.

The Sydney outfit was still underdone after a late start to the pre-season for many of its players. Goodes, in particular, was out of sorts. The Suns, on the other hand showed signs of real improvement and should provide more of a challenge to most teams this season.

We go around to the Chairman’s function after the match. The players and coaches are gathered for a presentation to Ted Richards to mark his 150th game. The room is full of former players and officials brought together for the flag unfurling as well as rusted-on supporters and long-term sponsors all committed to the Swans wherever they live – be it in any part of Sydney or the bush.

 

SYDNEY SWANS 2.1 6.4 11.10 17.12 (114)
GOLD COAST 2.2 3.4 8.6 11.7 (73)

GOALS
Sydney Swans:
McVeigh 4, Parker, Pyke, Everitt, O’Keefe 2, McGlynn, Kennedy, Jetta, Jack, Bolton
Gold Coast: Dixon 3, Hall 2, Smith, Shaw, May, Matera, Hutchins, Day

BEST
Sydney Swans:
McVeigh, Jack, O’Keefe, Smith, Bolton, McGlynn, Hannebery
Gold Coast: Dixon, Harbrow, O’Meara, Prestia, Ablett, Hunt

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Farmer, Bannister, Leppard

Official crowd: 20,372 at SCG

Our Votes: 3 McVeigh (Syd.) 2 Dixon (GCS) 1 Parker (Syd)

Comments

  1. Hey Rocket
    Did you think the unfurling of the flag was a bit flat? The rain didnt help and whilst the actual ceremony was done well, the supporters seemed a bit ho-hum about it. Its a very traditional practice pre-dating the presentation of a cup, but the handing over of the cup is now one of the highlights of GF day and overshadows the flag. But we still have terms like “winning the flag” and “flag favourites”
    I guess the Melbourne-centric AFL community would get confused with “cup favourites” thinking the reference is for another famous cup!

  2. Dr Rocket says:

    Hi Mark,

    Great to see you and Anne at the after-match!

    Yes, the flag unfurling was a bit flat, mainly because of the rain which meant very few spectators gathered at the fence, and of course, the old Bradman and Noble Stands are a construction site.

    It meant that the former captains, officials and members were distant from the crowd in their walk with the flag around the ground.

    Great to see it fluttering over the SCG though!

  3. Careful about Queenslanders Rocket. We can be sensitive types.

    The game was well summarised. The youth are progressing but still somewhat reliant on old heads. Goodes knee still not right?

    Still in Vietnam?

  4. G’day Rocket. Dave Warner hey. My memory of the Suburban Boy from the 70’s was a Westralian footballing type. I strongly doubt his famous tune’ Half time at the football’, will be taken on board by the AFL as its leit motif.

    I am impressed by Pyke’s transition to footy, the first Canadian to make the change across to Aussie Rules.

    Where’s Mitch Morton? A wonderful recent story in the Age about his issues in dealing with his anxiety and the way he’s tackled it, helping his football career. Very interesting. Working in the health field, stories of this nature capture my attention.

    Happy punting/footy supporting Dr Rocket.

    Glen!

  5. Dr Rocket says:

    On ya Gus!

    Who won the Middle East GF?

    Yes, still in Vietnam – big Anzac Day match coming up against the Jakarta Bintangs – should be a ripper day

  6. Dr Rocket says:

    Thanks for your comment Glen!

    Yes, the Suburban Boy has mellowed – but is a big advocate for the return of State football – and still a die-hard Old Easts man.

    Pyke has seen off the other contenders for the second ruck spot with Seaby and Daniel Currie both now departed. He must have been in strong contention for the Norm Smith medal in last year’s Grand Final.

    Mitch Morton was running around in the 2nds. But he was getting his kicks up the field rather than closer to goal. Conditions did not suit even though Swans 2s had a big win.

  7. Thanks Dr Rocket.

    I was impressed by Pykes’ 2012 GF performance. To my knowledge he is the only Canuck to grace the footy field, and re Northern America per se, was Sanford Wheeler the only other player to come from that neck of the woods?

    Speaking re neck of the woods, further South in NSW, there are races on Saturday in Cootamundra, and Holbrook, with a big card at Wagga on Sunday. Curious why the SDRA schedule 3 meetings in a 24 hour period, testing the availabilty/quality of local nags.

    Cheers,

    Glen!

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