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Round 1 – West Coast v Sydney: We spoilt the Eagles’ party!

Six months – gone in a flash! The footy’s back. Cheer Cheer.

 

I am delighted to be included in the group of Swans Footy Almanac writers who will have their pieces published on the Swans site this year under the banner From the Outer – a fan’s perspective.

 

Who would have thought, after all those decades of following my beloved footy team, that my involvement with the Swans these past couple of years would include them launching my book “My Lifelong Love Affair with the Swans”, and accepting me – as they do all fans – as one of their family. What an honour!

 

There are many advantages being in my eighth decade: I’ve had more time than most to have loved my footy team, and more time than most to have shared the incredible journey of this resilient, wonderful club we all love.

 

They’ve been there all the way – all seventy years of utter enjoyment, since my first game in 1948. And here I am today, still as passionate (even more so) than I was as that small five-year old sitting in the old South Members stand at Lake Oval all those years ago, cheering on my beloved Bloods.

 

‘Utter enjoyment’ is, I must admit, a bold statement. Every follower of any sporting team knows of the extreme highs and lows that we experience along the way, and today, with our boys running out in Perth for the first game of the season, I am, once again, hoping to celebrate another of those exhilarating highs.

 

We Swans people, know all about these waves of emotion, particularly when facing up to those Eagles. Delirium in 2005 turned to despair the following year, and in the years that have followed we’ve ridden many a wave in celebrating our team’s overall prolonged success.

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Waking Sunday morning to what could well have been interpreted as “the end of the world”, with the headlines screaming AUSSIE CHEATS, I looked out the window to see the sky still blue, the trees green, the birds chirping, and footy games still on schedule for the remainder of the day. Phew! What a relief!

 

With Nic Nat back and our Reidy out, the game starts with me as nervous as hell. Nothing to do with my age, believe me; I’ve always been like this before every game! And during it, too!

 

After a couple of tight minutes, Lloydy christens the new stadium with our first goal. It doesn’t take long for our champion No 23 to impose himself and I find myself screaming “Yes, Buddy!!” when he weaves his way around a couple of Eagles and kicks truly. The Yes Buddy sentiment happens time and time again, but when the Eagles captain and full back Hurn finds himself in the forward line, his goal puts them in front for the first time. Deano relieves the pressure with another for us, and then Bud adds to this tally for his third. With a lead of just five points at the first break, it’s far too close for comfort.

 

The second term starts with an Eagles goal, but the magic of Heens shines thorough when he marks and kicks truly 15 metres out from the boundary line. Mark of the night is taken by Georgie and his pass to Macca, then to Heens – who’s in everything – and onto Man of the Moment, Buddy, for another, is footy at its best. Kizza adds a six-pointer, followed by Buddy’s fifth. The crowd is quiet. A further four behinds blots our copybook ever so slightly, but a 26 point lead at half time shows this was our quarter.

 

With Buddy kicking his sixth – skidding the ball 35 metres along a wet ground – and then his seventh from 55 metres, ten minutes into the third quarter, the word “genius” comes to mind. I’m usually uneasy classifying people under that honoured banner, but in footballing terms, he surely is! By the end of the term though, I’m not a happy Jan! The Eagles have added several goals, and when the siren sounds, the parochial crowd is roaring its team back into contention, with a deficit of just five points.

 

Two quick goals to Jonesy and Georgie relieves my nerves slightly, and I find myself again screaming, this time “C’mon Swannies, we just have to win this! C’mon!” We goal but I’m still feeling sick. 11 points the difference. Then our genius does it again – his eighth, from the goal square this time. Jack Darling goals for them and for the next however long I don’t really know what is happening. Joey snaps truly out of a congested pack and I let out an almighty roar. 16 points, then reduced down to 10. I can barely watch. The Swans supporters behind the goal jump as one as Parkes kicks a miraculous goal over his head while falling backwards onto his back! 16 points. Is it enough with five minutes left? Yes, we hold on, add a further two goals from young Will, and the siren sounds.

 

The crowd boos, the Swannies smile, they all shake hands, the crowd boos some more, the song rings around the stadium (just once mind you) and the boys walk off as winners.

 

We spoilt the Eagles party – but hey! I’m not complaining.

 

And, my 70+ year heart is still intact, and will hopefully remain so for many more years to come – just so I can cheer on my beloved team!

 

So, let us all, whatever age you are, join in and sing it just one more time: “Cheer Cheer the Red and the White……….”

 

WEST COAST   4.2   5.3   10.7   13.8 (86)
SYDNEY           5.1   9.5   11.6   18.7 (115)

GOALS
West Coast: LeCras 3, Darling 3, Hurn, Masten, Duggan, Ryan, Naitanui, Waterman, Yeo
Sydney: Franklin 8, Hayward 2, Lloyd, Towers, Heeney, Jack, Jones, Hewett, Kennedy, Parker,

BEST
West Coast: Yeo, Shuey, Gaff, Jetta, LeCras, Naitanui
Sydney: Franklin, Parker, Lloyd, Kennedy, Heeney, Jones

Crowd: 53,553

About Jan Courtin

A Bloods tragic since first game at Lake Oval in 1948. Moved interstate to Sydney to be closer to beloved Swans in 1998. My book "My Lifelong Love Affair with the Swans" was launched by the Swans at their headquarters at the SCG in August 2016. www.myswansloveaffair.com

Comments

  1. Nice one Jan. Easily the best game Buddy has ever played in Perth. He was brilliant to watch. I can honestly say the Avenging Eagle and I applauded his brilliance all night. The ridiculous boos only seemed to start late in the game when he was singlehandedly keeping you in front.
    It was notable that the only time the Eagles kicked consecutive goals was late in the third quarter when Buddy was rested for 10 minutes. You had no-one to hold the rebounded ball in your forward line.
    You had clean hands and ball movement, but your lack of good talls was notable. You need Ben Reid to stand up to be top 4. And maybe an X factor like Allir. Hewitt and Heeney impressed me a lot.

  2. Earl O'Neill says:

    Franklin played the most pure and beautiful full-forward match I’ve seen in years. Wonderful.

  3. Yes Peter and Earl, Buddy was beyond belief at times. Sam Reid should be back this week, together with Dan Hannebery. And Heeney is going to be an absolute star.

    Was good seeing Nic Nat back and having an impact; fortunately not too good a one!

    Thanks

  4. Keiran Croker says:

    Only caught glimpses of the game, then highlights later. Buddy looked better than I’ve ever seen, particularly some great one grab marking. Heeney, Hewitt, Jones all looked good. Melican and Fox down back very assured.

  5. Hope you’re enjoying the festival Keiran. My comments on your Swans forum tell you how I felt, so onwards to next week!

    Cheer cheer

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