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Round 22 – Adelaide v Sydney: That Buddy-goal game. And I was there to see it!

 

Sitting at Adelaide airport Sunday afternoon, and I’ve still got a smile on my face!

No smile, however, at Sydney airport on the way over on Thursday: instead, was given a good old reminder of that all-important perspective.

After checking through security we made our way to the escalators. They’d been closed down. A man was lying at the foot of the up-escalator, dead. Not a pleasant sight at all. I felt very saddened for his family, and the feeling lingered for hours and days. Just imagine: you go off on a holiday/business trip, or you’re just about to arrive back home, and all of a sudden that’s it. Life’s finished. Your family are at home, waiting to hear that you’re just about to board the flight, or that you’ve arrived back home safely. Nothing. No phone call. No text. Just the police at your doorstep.

I simply can’t imagine it, the sadness, the shock, the disbelief.

So we arrived in Adelaide in a state of gratefulness, determined to make the most of our few days away together, and to keep reminding ourselves to keep everything in perspective, especially the footy.

Sitting in my seat at Adelaide Oval (surrounded by Crows) the following night, at the 26 minute mark of the last quarter with my team three points up, my good intentions had forsaken me, well and truly. I was a nervous wreck and all I could think of was a bloody siren!

“How long to go?” I blurted to an Adelaide couple sitting opposite on the aisle.

“Two minutes.”

“How long now?”

“One minute 40 seconds.”

“Oh god, how long..?”

“One minute.”

“I can’t stand it, how long?”

“Two hours!”

The siren went and I simply couldn’t believe it! Nine points down with who knows how long to go, and I really thought we were gone. But no, that’s not the Bloods’ way. We fight till the end. And did we ever against those Crows on Friday night!

The two hours of actual footy were as expected: tough, merciless, fearless and unremitting. Our fast start was so telling, as was our accuracy, and those early goals to Buddy (2), Gazza and Tippo set the tone. When Kizza kicked our fifth, despite McGovern and Sloane kicking two late ones for Adelaide, the Swans fans were happy at quarter time.

A hush from the parochial fifty-one odd thousand home fans greets our next goal, from Jonesy, and when Joey marks and goals about five minutes into the quarter giving us a 29 point lead, the silence is magnificent. We can actually hear a Cheer Cheer roll around the stadium. At this point our Crows neighbours are moaning and groaning and we’re copping their spiteful wrath. Jonesy is having a great quarter, and fortunately Eddie Betts is quiet – not surprising really, given that Smithy almost always has the better of him. However, the little champ kicks their next goal, followed by McGovern’s second – their first consecutive goals – and we’re now only 9 points up at half time. The free kick count is 16-4 to the home side.

When Lynch and McGovern combine to goal in the first minute or so of the third quarter, Adelaide’s intensity has definitely lifted and when Lynch gets one of his own they’re in front, and I’m feeling sick.

Then, enter Buddy Franklin and that goal.

You simply had to be there to see it! To believe it!

From half back he eludes Talia, gathers, runs, bounces, bounces, fumbles ball, gathers, runs, looks to pass it off, runs some more, kicks and goals from 40 metres on the boundary line, all the while with Talia on his backside!

That goal deserved to have been kicked at home, at the SCG in front of home fans, or with 100,000 at the MCG looking on, where the recognition would have been deafening! Instead, there was almost silence. Silence, perhaps, because even those Crows fans were gob-smacked by Buddy’s brilliance.

Goal of the year. Has to be.

Then, not long later, the great man is at it again: tapping the ball, mid air, onto Gazza, who takes two steps 50 metres out, and bangs it home.

Another goal to them and we’re back to a 1 point difference. When we finally get a free, after at least three being missed this quarter, the ridiculous booing from the home mob is almost laughable. What is wrong with this lot? Macca and Reidy goal before the siren goes and we’re up by 11 points.

The fourth quarter sees Jonesy get reported – not sure why. What’s he supposed to do when running full pelt to the contest? Have his face smashed in if he hadn’t turned his body to avoid disaster?

McGovern kicks his fourth 15 metres out, and with the ball in their forward line for most of the first 15 minutes the roar goes up as Tex gets his first for the night and puts them in front by 4 points. Jenkins then gets a legitimate free and goals. We’re now that 9 points down and I’m sure not smiling. I’m feeling sicker than ever. I am convinced we’re gone.

Then Millsy gets the 50 metre free, Reidy marks, goals. 3 points down. Bud produces more magic, tapping onto Paps 60 metres from goal. Paps runs, bounces, runs, bounces, and kicks from 30 and it dribbles through! We’re back ahead!

I really have no idea what happens in those remaining minutes, apart from my questioning of the time remaining. All I remember is Heens taking a great grab in defence, Reidy is now down back and marks, Buddy does something clever, Heens marks, Parkes gets it to Lloydy, an Adelaide guy fumbles the ball, Gazza gets it, kicks it, and the siren goes!

This game was one of those OMG occasions – not as in the WTF Essendon miracle – but an occasion that had the red and white of us in the hostile Adelaide crowd jump from our seats as one, raising our arms and rejoicing in our Cheer Cheer anthem.

We rejoiced down the escalators, out the front of the ground, and all our way back to our hotels. I, for one, was hoarse, and couldn’t sleep a wink all night! Sleep didn’t matter, we’d beaten the top team on their home deck – once again – and I knew that the rest of our time in Adelaide would be a happy one!

By Saturday morning Marshall and I had calmed down. Proudly wearing our red and white gear around town that day drew some interesting insights into the parochial Adelaide mob. The odd one said: “You must be happy” (I am); another: “That 50 metre free kick gave you the game” (get real, mate, you couldn’t bloody kick straight and how about the ridiculous number of frees you got (28 to 14), and you still couldn’t win!); another: “We played better for most of the night” (Yeah, right, you idiot, how about our pressure in the first quarter, which set up our win, and bad kicking is bad footy); another: “Why are you still wearing your footy gear?” (Duh!); another: “We’ll kill you next time we play you” (Who knows, mate, what matters now is that we won this one!).

And strangely enough, there were quite a few of them who said “Go Swannies” – in the streets, waving from their cars and in the cafes. When I asked whether they were Port supporters they replied “No, Swans of course. We live here”. Admittedly there were also those Port people who love nothing more than their arch enemy to lose; quite a few of them saluted us and were ecstatic. The hatred shown is definitely reciprocal. You should have heard the derogatory comments from the Crows fans!

Despite the footy banter over the three days in Adelaide, I’m struck by the helpfulness and friendliness of South Australians – as I was when there last year. I still can’t believe that bus drivers actually speak to you and want to help, even getting out of their seats to show you how the tickets should be inserted into the ticket machine. So, so different to Melbourne and Sydney.

Despite the hospitality shown, we were still deep in enemy territory – especially on Friday night – and to come away with a glorious win against everyone’s flag favourite was of course the highlight of the weekend.

We got what we wanted from our trip. A win. The stats might have favoured the home side, the shots on goal favoured the home side and the inaccurate kicking favoured the home side. But, as the Swans have done in several games this year, they defied all those stats and showed just how good a team they are when it really matters. Go the Bloods!

And we weren’t the only Swans celebrating! Take a look at the happy swan on the Torrens River the day after our win, outside Adelaide Oval.

 

 

My highlights from the game:
Franklin and that goal
Joey Kennedy
Dane Rampe
Dan Hannebery
Jarrad McVeigh
Nick Smith
Zac Jones
And of course our accuracy!

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. Tom Bally says:

    Great write up Jan. I normally go down for the Adelaide games but circumstances weren’t going my way this year. Shame as I quite like it there. Especially after a Swans win!

  2. Another great story, Jan. Keeping perspective is a full-time job!

    How far can we go this year?

    Cheer cheer

  3. Hi Tom

    Pity you couldn’t make it to Adelaide. Missed a beauty! See you next Saturday in the O’Reilly.

    And thanks Marcel. Who knows how far we can go. No point in speculating.

    Cheer cheer

  4. Ben Footner says:

    I was also at this game, but my recollections aren’t so cheerful!

    Was a cracking contest though and I departed the ground quite upbeat about my teams performance despite the loss. Sydney so often have destroyed us around the contest, but that didn’t happen this time. I felt my boys matched it with yours very well, and I look forward to meeting you again in September if that should eventuate – I’m confident we can turn the scoreboard tables on our next encounter.

    As our illustrious coach said after the game – Adelaide are ready.

  5. Luke Reynolds says:

    Tragic start to your trip Jan. Would be hard to shake from your thoughts.
    Glad you got rewarded with a cracking game and a Swans win. Would be quite happy to watch an Adelaide v Sydney GF.

  6. Thanks Ben and Luke

    Of course I’d love to be there cheering on my Swans on that last day in September, but at this stage I refuse to speculate as to which team may or may not play which team. With the crazy season we’ve had, it’s just impossible to know, even at this late part of the season. I don’t envy Adelaide if it ends up as minor premiers: every time we’ve done it (1996, 2014, 2016) we’ve lost the GF!!

  7. Ben Footner says:

    Yes Jan, the only time we’ve finished minor premier (2006) we didn’t even make the grand final – as you well know as your mob did!

    In all honesty though I’m just enjoying the ride this year. Adelaide play a very watchable brand of footy, and I’m confident we’ll be at the right end of the ladder for the next few years yet regardless of what happens this year. They have also been through a hell of a lot in recent times also, so to see them enjoying their footy and growing as players and young men brings me a lot of joy as a fan.

    In my mind they deserve to be premiership players after overcoming the challenges they have, I really hope they can stay the course and lift that cup in September.

  8. Jan, yes what a win. i like you weaving death into your story and of appreciation for all in life. the reminder of that…. great story. the pretty swan on the water at the end. a heartfelt story.

  9. Keiran Croker says:

    Good one Jan. Nothing quite like winning away in hostile territory. We never do give in, even when we supporters are beginning to doubt.

    Adelaide are a very balanced team and I think one of the three along with The Swans and The Giants who I think can win the big one. But who knows … lets just enjoy and appreciate the ride. Being there certainly is better than the alternative … as they say about life!

  10. Thanks Polly and Keiran

    All I can say is GO BLOODS!

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