25 Years of Crowfania

2016 marks my 50th season as a footy follower; the Crows have been a part of this for the past 25. Dipping my lid to Phil Dimitriadis, here’s a personal remembery or two from each year.

Very late 1990 – Going to West Lakes to pick out my pair of reserved seats on the outer wing, smack bang on the centre line, twenty rows back. Shared the seats with my uncle Bob Hoban, rugby union ref and Rostrevor teacher.

1991 – The wide-eyed looks of excitement on the faces of the 40,000+ who descended on Footy Park for a trial game against Essendon. Oh, and Scott Lee, all season.

1992 – Daughter #1 born, can’t remember much footy at all, despite attending each home game. But we did learn that a slosh of port went well in the thermosed coffee.

1993 – Adelaide 26.15 d Richmond 4.8; Modra kicks 13, I’ve never laughed so much at the footy, not at Richmond, but at the audacity of the Crows that night.

1994 – Taking my grandpa C.P. Schwerdt to see Hawthorn smash us. His only AFL game. Followed up a few weeks later by my first game in Victoria, a loss to Essendon at Princes Park.

1995 – My first full season as a Victorian resident. My first trip up North Road to Waverley. It rained. Watching from afar as Andrew McLeod wins the game for us against Hawthorn, after being down 1.1 to 5.11 at half time.

1996 – Taking four year old daughter to Western Oval, having to explain the sights and smells of the unroofed men’s conveniences on the outer wing, while the Jarmans combine for 14 goals against Fitzroy. Ricciuto lines up Simon Atkins from 50 yards away. Would have killed him if he connected.

1997 – Piling on to tram at Elizabeth St on a Sunday, after waiting for 30 minutes, to see Carlton, dressed up as Sturt wannabes, whip us. Old pr*ck of a Carlton supporter tells us to F-off back to where we came from as we didn’t belong in “their” competition. Hmmm, how’d that work out for you fella?

1998 – Face painted, Southern Stand, Section Q9. I love that photo Hank. Wasn’t expecting that after getting a towelling from the Dees a few weeks earlier. Peter Vardy’s one hand pickups in the SCG slop to keep us alive. Robran and McLeod in the Prelim. Blight and Bicks working out how to hold up the Cup properly this year. Yeah, I’m going on a bit, but as you will see, it’s been lean pickings since.

1999 – Darren Jarman kicks 9.0 in a loss to Melbourne. From our seat on the fence, where the arc meets the boundary on the outer side, Punt Rd end, we saw and heard the sweetest sounding thunk as he stuck one of that nonet in.

2000 – My share in a pair of Medallion Club seats greatly increases footy intake. Take prominent Melbourne antiquarian bookseller Andrew Isles to Docklands on Mothers Day. His mob wins. Dick Reynolds takes his first ever hovercraft ride before the game.

2001 – 34yo Darren Jarman kicks 6, but it was probably Evan Hewitt’s single snag that put the sword to Blighty’s brief but lucrative return to senior coaching.

2002 – I trade texts with a future club CEO, who is following his Dees from the UK, during a ding dong, drag em out Semi Final at the G. Crows prevail, only to be derailed the following week when one of the lesser skilled Clokes (is that a tautology?) has Tyson Edwards drinking egg flips for the next month.

2003 – I hang my head now as I remember that I cheered for Wayne Carey as he donned the tricolours against Archer, Stevens and Co.

2004 – Absolutely nothing of note.

2005 – Daughter #3 sees her first Crows game, the one where Andrew McLeod kicked a left foot winner from Flagstaff Station and picked up 6 Brownlow votes. The beginning of several years of ‘no footy Saturdays’ because of afternoon netball commitments.

2006 – Oddly, what sticks in my mind here is trying to watch the broadcast of the Easter Sunday fixture against Melbourne at Carrara(!) from a cabin at a rainy Apollo Bay caravan park, the Crows holding on as the windows fogged in because our caravan owning pals sent all their kids over to us.

2007 – Sitting in the Coles Bentleigh car park after another Saturday of netball, I winced as the radio commentary told me that Buddy had stuck the pill over the goal ump’s forehead and our season of mixed fortunes was over. Did Neil Craig know how to coach a finals winning team?

2008 – Bloody Brad Johnson

2009 – Bloody bloody Jack Anthony

2010 – Bloody Neil Craig

2011 – Our sixteen goal loss to Melbourne sees my interest plummeting further. Go Vixens.

2012 – Daughter #2 makes a surprise trip to Spencer St with me and we get to see P Dangerfield crunch M Murphy’s shoulder en route to a BOG performance and a rare Crows win in Area Code (03). All three offspring are in tow at unexpected Prelim appearance. Family hugs all round until Cyril intervenes in stoppage time.

2013 – Trundling off to the ‘G for a meaningless Friday night fixture against Collingwood. A game effort by the Crows has me shouting ‘encouragement’ after a few years of keeping it all in.

2014 – Listening to Kangas v Crows from Bellerive with the coffee cart fella at netball – a place in the finals for the winners. I’m a gracious loser for the first time ever.

2015 – Easter trip to Adelaide Oval with Mrs Swish for season opener. Daughter #1 messages me from Orlando, Fla ‘Did you hear about the Crows’ coach?’ a few months later. Will never forget Tex’s run down the Members in final against the Dogs.

Go Footy !!!

About Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt

Saw my first SANFL game in 1967 - Dogs v Peckers. Have only ever seen the Dogs win 1 final in the flesh (1972 1st Semi) Mediocre forward pocket for the AUFC Blacks (1982-89) Life member - Ormond Netball Club -That's me on the right


  1. Dave Brown says

    Nice one Swish. Was thinking through the same concept following reading Phil’s piece. With you on 1996 (the Jarmans that is, I didn’t take your daughter to Western Oval), 2005 and 2009 the same game but bloody Ivan Maric. He made the atrocious turnover in the second quarter that gifted momentum to Collingwood. So it goes

  2. Swish- good job. I can plug the 2004 gap. We were driving to Brighton (on England’s south coast) with my Mum and Dad when my sister texted that Brisbane had won. I won’t google it, but my memory is of it being significantly beyond twenty goals. Clearly a good year to be living in the other hemisphere.

    Jack Anthony. As the two protagonists declare at the start of the documentary Year of the Dogs, “yuk..”

    Did enjoy the Jarmans’ fourteen goal afternoon though.

  3. Luke Reynolds says

    Haha bloody Jack Anthony! Wonderful moment, then hardly did anything in his career after that.
    Really good stuff Swish, but no mention of great men like Scott Hodges, Adam Saliba, Eddie Hocking and Weeeeed????

  4. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Sheesh Swish is it 25 years already? Great list. Watched Modra’s 13 goal effort with my Richmond mate who was almost in tears. Modra was one of the last high flying, specialist full forwards. The game needs a Modra or 3 today.

    1995 – Waverley = Rain. Not Robinson Crusoe there. How often I left Preston in sunshine only to enter a rain band out east. Getting out of that bloody car park was a nightmare.

    2009 – One of my most draining nights at the footy and one of the most exhilarating. You can relive it here: http://www.footyalmanac.com.au/afl-finals-series-pies-provide-a-lesson-in-faith/

    McLeod and D.Jarman two of greatest in any era at any club. Thought John Klug, Peter McIntyre and Rodney Maynard would have got a mention for 1991 opener.

  5. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks so far.

    Dave, your turn for a Redlegs version?

    Yep Mickey, it was a flogging.

    The Crows came fully formed with cult heroes that other clubs could also appreciate, as mentioned by Luke and Phil, but things would have been even better had Rudi Mandemaker made the cut from the original 60-odd.

    We also had our share of whipping boys (Dr Liptak was mine).

    There doesn’t seem to be room for cult heroes, whipping boys or high flying specialist forwards any more.

  6. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Swish this sort of article definitely has legs ( pun intended ) and brings back plenty of memories
    re Dr Liptak one of my favorite,HYB with Chocka impersonating him fumbling during a operation throwing utensils in to the crowd at the Wellington Hotel.
    ( have posted your article on several crows supporters face book pages hope that helps traffic )

  7. Ben Footner says

    I would suggest one Edward Betts is a fair cult hero Swisha! No mean feat to have a pocket at the Adelaide Oval informally named in your honour! Only Tony Hall managed that at Footy Park.

    We’ll surprise a few and add some positive memories to your list this year mate (no matter what the experts say). Have a feeling the Crouch boys may well provide the next generation Jarman double act this year.

  8. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks ‘Book

    Fair point Ben, but Eddie #2 is a different kind of cult hero from the 1991 original. When he decides to snot Aaron Sandilands, then he’ll have my respect . As you infer (or is that imply?), it was a long time between cults.

  9. I prefer your SANFL stuff. I left Adelaide in ’82, so was never infected by Crowmania. I started out a WEagles fan (West Torrens) with a minor St Kilda affiliation. The Avenging Eagle cured me of that and many other bad habits. I expect to die a WEagles fan (West Coast).
    Was Bruce Lindsay on the initial Crows list? He would have been a superstar if he had good knees.

  10. george smith says

    I remember Anything Can Happen Day – the year of 1997, and it did. Somehow dark events in a tunnel in Paris conspired to throw the first week of the finals into chaos, and somehow give the Crows the rails run to the flag, even though they won four, yes four, finals to do it!

    I have bitter memories of being stuck at work Saturday night and when all was quiet, having the choice on TV, instead of the footy, of a Spaghetti Western on SBS or Edinburgh Tattoo Guy mournfully describing the Funeral on 4 different channels…
    But that’s not all!

    Schadenfreude on a huge scale from Magpie supporters as Saints, Moggies and Bulldogs all felt the horror of: ” How did we lose that???” in 3 consecutive finals!

    And that’s not all!! Next month the nation itself felt suffering Magpie style by losing the unloseable final when the Socceroos played all over Iran, only to concede two late goals and lose on the away goal rule.
    Again, ” How did we lose that???”

  11. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    PB – I like my old stuff better than my new stuff too. Lindsay was on his his last legs when he lined up for the Crows in their first game, part of the stellar half-back line of Thompson, Warhurst and Lindsay.

    George – how did I miss all that?

  12. Nice work Swish. Many great and frustrating moments I can identify with, such is the life of the rusted on fanatic.

    My fave Adelaide Crow memories, fwiw;

    1991 – Collingwood beats Adelaide by 123 points in their first venture to Pie Park (Mark Richardson 7 goals!). Surrounded by middle aged Chardonnay sipping Crow fans with an attitude which pointed to having no concept of where they were (bad move).

    2002 – Prelim Final, Didak’s sealer and almost doing a Molly and feinting behind the goals.

    2009 – Right in front of me! Right in front of me!!!!

  13. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks JD

    Re 1991 – We took delivery of one of those big baltic pine TV units that Saturday, cost me a fortune. In my haste to get the tele set up to watch the direct telecast, I managed to gouge it to pieces, not realising that the runners on the bottom were stapled to the wooden TV body rather roughly. Then the game itself. I was in the the doghouse feeling s-house that day.

    Re 2009 – I was in standing room at Punt Rd end, in a throng of Pie folk, expecting to make a quick getaway after we won. The roars after the Anthony goal and then the siren, were the loudest I’ve ever heard at the footy.

  14. I was standing at the Ponsford end and had given up the ghost, poised to make a quick getaway. Mind you I felt like an early getaway at quarter time when the Crows were incredible, barely letting Collingwood get their hands on the pill. The crowd was worth a few goals once the game started to turn in the 2nd – as I reckon the crowd can be a factor at the Adelaide Oval now. Yes, the roar was in the top few I’ve ever experienced.

    Those great big TV units – so 90’s, so passé!

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