Sydney Swans Season Preview: An Old Dog’s New Tricks

By the time the legendary Norm Smith was approached to coach the Swans in late 1968, the club had gained the unwanted reputation as being a ‘coaches’ graveyard’. At the time, renowned ‘lingerie king’ Leon Worth had to stump up much of the sign-on fee just to attract the great man to the Lake Oval. How things change.

When our premiership season commences on Sunday afternoon, John Longmire will commence his eighth consecutive season in charge. In that time, he’s rejuvenated, rejigged and recalibrated our team. This coming year appears to have pieces ready to fall in to place with a renewed game plan of possession and precision. The old dog has armed himself with a whole bag of new tricks this year as Johnson, Cox and Shaw join the panel. Revitalisation this time?

They have big shoes to fill as we’ve been perennial finalists since Alf Stewart ran the Summer Bay Surf Club and a new season brings fresh hope; strap yourselves in, here we flamin’ go.

 

What’s New?

The above-mentioned coaching panel. With relative youth and fresh ideas, this group has been charged with implementing what will be a fresh style. Long regarded for fighting in the trenches, these Swans are showing early signs of something a little slick. Recent drafting has sharpened the focus on kids that can kick. This new batch is beginning to make this team their own and this will only increase as the year goes on.

What’s Old?

It’s now old, but it’s ever reliable. It’s our Bloods culture. It’s about being hard at the footy. It’s about being disciplined. It’s about being relentless. Our own B. Kirk once described The Bloods as being a ‘secret society’. And although Roosy’s latest memoir has let the cat out of the proverbial bag somewhat, the fundamentals remain strong.

The culture lives on through Jonesy’s tough as nails approach. It lives on through Hanners never saying die and through Rampe’s refusal to never be beaten – Angry Anderson style. In short, you can bank on the Bloods.

Jarrad McVeigh might be old, but he’s invaluable – I’d have him out there with a zimmer frame if need be. Many pundits have questioned his worth pre-season, but such nonsense must simply be dismissed. Ever the general, he’s primed for a final tilt.

What to look forward to?

Our clutch of cygnets coming of age. While we’re blessed to possess some of the current day’s very best, our generation next has been groomed for greatness. Check out the upside in these boys: Heeney, Mills, Hayward, Hewett, Papley, Florent, Jones, Melican, Aliir.

Also, due to unprecedented popular demand, keep your eyes pealed for the possible purchase of a ‘Rampe Robe’. Surely, people power will prevail and the scarlet smocks so proudly worn in the sheds will be just as proudly paraded around living rooms across Australia. Just a gentle reminder to keep yourself nice when collecting the morning paper.

What do you need?

You need faith. George Michael had it – you need to get it. We, the Bloods Collective need to step up to the plate. Our membership is soaring and the stands demand to be filled. Complacency does not belong among us and pessimism can damn well bugger off. We’re in the midst of our mightiest era and it’s showing no signs of disappearance. Get amongst it.

Why not host your own ‘Swan Shindigs’ when you can’t make it to the big game. Honestly, get the gang ‘round, dress up in your finest red and white and you could even invite that ‘eccentric’ uncle you never see anymore. You could go crazy and invite that creepy neighbour who keeps checking you out in your brand new Rampe Robe… ok, maybe not him but everyone else should be welcome. Party like its 2012 – why not?

Wildcards to watch for?

 New faces have figured prominently in our line up over the past few seasons and that seems likely to continue. New names have been spruiked already this year and we’ve yet to begin. Ryley Stoddart and Matt Ling appear set for success at the SCG with pace and poise in spades. We’ve been told Tom McCartin (who could still be in school) is a ready-made prospect. This is not to mention the fast tracking of Fantastic Mr. Robbie Fox as a sprightly springboard from the back half.

Cult hero Aliir could shape as the season’s most wonderful of wildcards. If released of the shackles and let loose in the ruck, there is potential for true power to be unleashed. Unlikely? Think Goodesy circa 2003.

Wild West this week:

 Round One is sure to spring some surprises – it always does. But if you’re looking for shock value look elsewhere. With a solid summer under the belts, our Swannies will be champing at the bit to christen the new Perth Stadium with a bloodbath. Injuries are minimal; confidence is high and a favourable recent record against our one-time foe all point to a comfortable win.

Forget the horror of last year’s beginnings and prepare to toast the glorious genesis of the unrealised potential that is our 2018 campaign.

What will happen?

For the romantics among us, The Sydney Swans will be standing on the premiership dais at the MCG and among them will be our very own fairytale man, Alex Johnson. Ah, let us only dream.

Who knows, this may just be the case, but some things are guaranteed. Things like house prices rising, like mainstream football commentary continuing to ignore that incredible consistency of our mighty club and like our boys playing finals footy.

So, you’re cordially invited to attend the Sydney Cricket Ground at a date that is convenient to you and we promise you will not leave disappointed. We’ve got Buddy for Christ sake. We’ve also got some pretty handy other guys. Ever heard of Kennedy, Parker, Jack, Hannebery and Grundy? Of course you have. Cheer, cheer and never fear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Joe Moore

Learned the art of the drop-punt from Derek Kickett as Jamie Lawson watched on. And thus, a Swan for life. @joedmoore1979

Comments

  1. Hi Joe
    Love your enthusiasm; I’m pleased that seeing us up there on the Premiership dais is merely a dream at this stage!

    I’m taking a pretty boring stance this year: one game at a time. And let’s enjoy!

    Cheer cheer

  2. Joe Moore says:

    Thanks Jan. Enjoyed your review too.

    We certainly have much to enjoy with this team!

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