Round 2 – Sydney v Port Adelaide: Imagination can only take you so far

The problem is that we’re just not used to losing at the SCG.

 

In fact, it’s nearly a year since another anthem was heard after the final siren: May 26, 2017, against our nemesis, Hawthorn.

 

After almost twenty years here in Sydney, I’m still so aware of the vast difference between the SCG footy experience and that of the real footy states down south: here, clapping of the opposition isn’t that uncommon; no one swears; I’ve never seen a fight; people are friendly; some chat away for most of the match about all things personal – then look up and clap when we goal; some spend the 120 minutes updating their social media profiles; and some, well, they really do care about their Swannies and barrack accordingly. These are the now rusted-on Sydney members.

 

However, leaving the SCG on Sunday evening, it was difficult to know how people were feeling. We could well have been leaving a Beethoven concert recital, or a David Williamson play, such were the smiles and friendly banter, but hunger and food seemed to dominate overheard snippets of conversation as we walked through the parklands, back home to Surry Hills.

 

The crowd, all 34,636, had certainly turned up on this 30º hot Easter Sunday in Sydney. All bar a couple of hundred expected a Swans win. We expected the boys to carry on from last week’s enthralling performance in Perth, and we expected more of the same this week. We expected a flawless performance from our team.

 

Unfortunately though there is no such thing as perfection, even though we, unrealistically, expect that from our footy team, week in week out.

 

This game should really have been over at half time. The ball spent most of its time in our forward half for the first two quarters, but we just couldn’t make the most of it. And with just one spearhead, the absence of Sam Reid became all too obvious as the half drew to a close. Both teams seemed listless in the first half, and errors were far too common, but at least we held a 14 point advantage at the main break.

 

The last half was all Port. Even with the brilliance of Buddy at the start of the last quarter – involved in two quick goals to bring the deficit to a mere four points – we just weren’t good enough to hold back the ever-improving team who one would assume could be fighting it out for ultimate glory in the latter part of September.

 

Today we made too many un-Sydney-like errors: fumbling, dropping marks, sloppy kicking, were slower at times, and seemed a little tired. Our defenders, most often the stalwarts of our team, allowed six of Port’s first eight goals to be snapped in or just outside the goal square. Normally, our defence just doesn’t let that happen.

 

Interestingly, though, the stats told a different story. In all but tackles (71 to 80) and kicks (217-226) the Swans held sway. But unfortunately, stats don’t win games.

 

Buddy was at his brilliant best, even though he had two men on him for the entire match, our young Ollie Florent showed just what we can expect in years to come, Joey Kennedy never stopped trying his guts out, and Jarrad McVeigh was inspirational.

 

Walking home to Surry Hills after the game with my brother, Tony, and his partner, Liz, (who had left Violet Town at 3am to drive to Sydney) I said “Well at least that’s one game less I’ll have to watch (on tele) this weekend”. Tony concurred. So, instead, we bought fish and chips from the local chippery and drowned our sorrows in a couple of VB’s from the pub around the corner, and watched part of the Bulldogs/West Coast game when arriving home.

 

Tony and Liz left Monday morning and, despite never watching a pre-recorded Swans loss after a game, I decided I would, this one.

 

Somehow it was different. It didn’t seem so bad, despite the loss! We really were in it, right up until the last ten minutes or so, even though we’d allowed them kick seven goals in the third term; and even though we made mistakes on their goal-line, giving them easy goals at times, we still had our chances.

 

I hoped, when four points down in that last quarter and with the SYDNEEEY chant ringing loudly around the stadium for the first time all night, that this replay would turn out to be a whole new experience, one that would end joyfully and one that would play me Cheer Cheer at its conclusion.

 

Alas, imagination can only take you so far!

 

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. Luke Reynolds says:

    Jan, it’s very rare I’ll watch a loss again, but found myself watching the Collingwood game again on Sunday morning too! Doubt it will become a habit though.
    Great crowd at the SCG, more than both Collingwood and Carlton got for their home games the day before. Shows how entrenched the Swans are in Sydney sporting culture now.

  2. Keiran Croker says:

    Hi Jan,
    I also tend to watch close games back on replay. As I’ve missed both our first two games, it won’t be till next week when I get home that I’ll have time to watch them. It’s frustrating when we don’t capitalise on a period of domination like we seemed to have in the first half on Sunday. And doubly so when we also gift the opposition goals. Though maybe we are not giving Port enough credit. They seem to be a very good team. Anyway the result never does change, no matter how many times you watch the game back.
    Hoping for a great game this Saturday. I’ll be there. We will need a consistent four quarter performance to beat the Giants.

  3. Actually, in retrospect, I blame myself your our loss!

    For the first time, ever since guernseys were made available to the public, I deliberately didn’t wear mine to the game. It was just so so hot in Sydney – 30 degrees when we left home to walk to the ground – and the thought of my woollen guernsey was just too much to bear. Also, I forgot to take my flag!

    Never again….
    Thanks for comments Luke and Keiran

  4. our boys fight. our boys fight. go swannies!!!!!

  5. I don’t know how you find the wherewithal to keep writing with the losses – but then again – true sportswomanship!!

    BTW, I do love the guernseys you have drawn – really kewl!

    xoxo

  6. Thanks Polly and Jude

    I wish I had drawn the guernseys, Jude. No, another Almanac person drew them a year or so ago, for every team, and they get positioned in the appropriate articles. I really like them too.

    And BTW, I don’t have to find much “wherewithal to keep writing with the losses” because we don’t often lose!!

  7. Haha! How foolish and presumptuous of me! How dare I even think that the Swans lose many games – of course – you are only driven by success! xo

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