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Round 18 – Sydney v St Kilda: So Proud! And to think I could have been a Saint!

 

There was plenty of pride in Sydney on Saturday night – from all angles and all perspectives. Everyone came to the party and everyone rejoiced. The pride in our local team was also evident and they didn’t disappoint.

I was happy when the siren sounded.

It could well have been a different story. I could well have been a Saint!

St Kilda played a significant role in my early Melbourne life. I was born there (the birth itself was in East Melbourne, but I was carried in my mother’s womb for nearly 9 months in St Kilda); I lived there for the first three or four years of my childhood; I returned to live there in my early twenties before going to London; and I now stay there when in Melbourne.

“Loudoun” was the name of the 4-flat block in Cowderoy St, just off Beaconsfield Parade and around the corner from the beach, where I spent my formative years: your typical St Kilda 1920’s Art Deco style building with its solid brick structure, high ceilings decorated with those unique cornices and mouldings of the era, skinny little entrances, and complemented with a front verandah.

I remember none of it, except that my sister Robina, aged two, climbed up over the verandah wall and onto the narrow ledge one flight up, and was saved from a certain death by our father who happened to be in the street, looked up, and screamed. My mother rescued her just in time! (That’s my memory of the story, but perhaps some embellishment has crept in over the years!)

My next St Kilda life was in Park Street, just around the corner from Cowderoy St. All nine of us lived there for several years and I spent my 21st in that beautiful old house. In fact it was the last place I lived in before moving to London.

Fitzroy St, especially Leo’s, became our favourite eating house. Every Friday (when we could afford it) we all turned up for our Spag Bol and help-yourself Salad Bar. It was our weekly treat.

And, St Kilda beach became my favourite place to sit and ponder. Sometimes I would drive down there (100 yards away) in my newly acquired MG racing-green sports car, just to show it off. It, and myself! Thought I was the ants-pants!

Some blocks away, in Alma Road, just up from Chapel St. was where another sister, Julie, lived with her partner, Ian, a few years later. He had bought his father’s block of the older St Kilda “Mansions-style” building, consisting of four flats, and three were rented out. Several years later, when Marshall first visited Australia, this flat was his first port of call. A welcome-party was thrown for him, as he sat on the floor dozing off after his 24-hour flight.

And now, many decades later, this very same flat – now called an apartment – is owned by another sister, Judy, and that is where we stay when down south, in Melbourne. (Julie and Ian left it many years ago, renovated recently and sold off the four apartments. Judy fell in love with it, so it’s still in the family!).

So, I could well have been a Saint!

Instead, I’m a proud Swannie! And I’m getting prouder and prouder by the minute, especially with what the boys have shown these past months. They have been mighty!

***

This game against St Kilda has made me nervous all week, and as I sit watching the young kids in the Reserves kick 21.21 to 4.4 (with Tippett and Haywood starring) the nerves haven’t abated. As the seniors run out through the Rainbow Pride Game banner, I don’t know why, but my heart starts racing. I believe that the Saints will surely atone for their poor game last week, and play more in keeping with the game prior to that when they were superb.

We start well, with Callum Sinclair getting his first for the night, followed by another later in the quarter. Georgie Hewitt contributes to our 3-goal tally, but set shots, 30 metres out directly in front from Sinclair, Parker and Rohan – all missing, leave a bit of a nasty taste. Bloody behinds!! We’re giving them a chance!!

We’re 15 points up at the first break.

I’ve no idea how many times we’ve had the play in our forward 50, but it seems for most of the match so far, and the same continues in the 2nd quarter. We add 4.3 for the term, thanks to Buddy, Isaac Heeney, Joey Kennedy and that man Sinclair again. (I did mention last week that I thought Sinclair should have returned against the Giants – his NEAFL games had been outstanding, so this week I got my wish).

We’ve increased our lead to 30 points at half time.

The 3rd term sees us kicking those wretched points again, six of them, but our four goals to Sinclair (2), Buddy (who has to have at least one of his spectacular long bombs each game), and Dean Towers, increases our lead and confirms our supremacy.

The chant after Dean got his goal: TOW-ERS, TOW-ERS, TOW-ERS was heard by all in the O’Reilly (or those in our section); the Towers Cheer Squad has now increased in size: at least two rows joined in this time – it’s becoming infectious! They look back to me and give me a thumbs-up!

With a 46-point lead going into the final term, I’m still nervous. Why am I always so wretchedly nervous, when everyone around me is smiling and relaxed? “We’re up by 46 points, Jan!” one woman says to me. “Not enough!” I gently snap back. I want more goals, I want percentage, I don’t want the opposition to kick anything this quarter and for us to add to our margin. I simply want more.

Another miss straight in front, on the run, 20 metres from goal! Dean must be upset. I am. But with the rest of the game almost goal for goal and petering out, our third for the quarter to one of most reliable Swans of all time, Jarrad McVeigh, gets us to the century, and a much needed and welcomed 42-point victory.

I don’t envy the Sydney Selection Committee’s task next week. What a contrast to the first few months of the year, when half our team was out injured and we languished at the bottom of the ladder. We’ve now got dilemmas – but good ones at that!

Surely Sinclair can’t be dropped to make way for a returning Reid?

Surely Reid has to be in the team?

Surely and hopefully, Tippett, will return, especially after his commanding performance in the Reserves (5 goals and plenty of possessions, even though it was against poor opposition).

Surely Will Haywood has to come back – he was superb on the weekend in the NEAFL, kicking 6 goals, taking mark of the year, tackling and collecting at will.

And how about all those other guys playing well in the Reserves, fit and fighting for a place: Jeremy Laidler, Aliir Aliir, Harry Marsh, James Rose, Brandon Jack, Ollie Florent, Harry Cunningham (when he’s recovered), and not this year, but perhaps next, our hero Alex Johnson!

It’s a good position to be in, that’s for sure.

I still refuse to think too far ahead, despite everyone else’s speculation. I’m only pleased that, contrary to my threats after Round 6 about booking an overseas holiday in September this year, I chose wisely! We’re leaving on October 4th.

My highlights from the game:
Callum Sinclair
The midfield superstar trio
Isaac Heeney
Callum Mills
Lance Franklin

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. Unimaginable, Jan!! You were born red and white.

  2. Yes, totally unimaginable, Marcel, but had my great uncle not been a Bloods man, who knows?

    Hopefully in my “next life” I’ll still be wearing the red and the white!

    Cheer cheer

  3. Hi Jan,

    Oh your story is so interesting. Even you have so many connections with St Kilda, why have you chosen the bloods to barrack for? We have missed to have such a passionate supporter in my club.

    I think we could have won if you were a a Sainter…

    Callum Sinclair was too good on us. His two on one contested mark fired up himself and his Swans at the beginning of the game. And your boys put much pressures on us. Our brand of attacking footy was hidden at SCG.

    I just hope we upset Port Adelaide on Saturday…

    Thanks

    Yoshi

  4. Hi Yoshi

    If only supporters could influence the result of a game!! How good would that be?!

    I was always going to be a Blood. As the introduction in my books says:
    “I was born into the Bloods family. My great
    uncle, Jim Caldwell – who was inducted into the
    Swans Hall of Fame in 2015 – captained our 1918
    premiership team.”

    My aunt and my father took me to my first game in 1948, and I became a Blood for life!

    But, you never know, had I not had a relative in the family, St Kilda could well have been my team.

    And, yes, you’re right, the Swans were too strong for your team last weekend. You’re definitely on the improve though, so maybe another year or so should see you fighting for supremacy, and right up there.

    Thanks
    Jan

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