AFL Round 17 – Sydney v Carlton: Musings of a Green Thumb

“All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.” ~Indian Proverb

For the first time in my life, I am about to become a gardener. Two years in the making, the backyard, consisting mostly of weeds, rocks and dirt, is about to see some serious action. Three veggie patches need to be built. The great Peter Cundell is on our local Hobartian ABC radio and we have eighteen sleepers, two shovels, a mattock and a pick. The sun is out, the air is crisp, and there’s no time for the usual morning espresso. Time to get to work. There is nothin’ quite like buildin’, barrowin’ and diggin’ to gain a sense of accomplishment. Getting down and dirty amongst the great outdoors is proving to be a surprisingly enjoyable Saturday experience. As the power drills and circular saws screech with anger, my mind wanders to the big match tonight. The Swans will be getting down and dirty at the SCG against a famous old foe led by a coach who has masterminded a plethora of victories against our club. I reckon Mick likes to garden.

The Swans have sown their seeds of development ever since the Horse took over as coach, and are now reaping the benefits. The structure of the club is allowing a string of young debutants to inject themselves into the side and have an effect from Game One. Today, it is Dean Towers’ turn. An emergency eight times, the Ballarat junior has surely earned his spot. The Enemy have been a fascinating case study this year. A talented list, a master tactician and limited results. I feel the frustration of their loyal supporters, through my brother, who was seduced by the appeal of one of the most famous mascots of them all, ‘Captain Blue’, when we were kids. Great players such as Williams, Kernahan, Kouta and Bradley probably helped make that decision as well. As I stand back and admire my first attempt at precision carpentry, I feel that a well earned beverage is in order and I switch on the free-to-air pre-game coverage.

Brian Taylor is a dead-set pumpkin. A disgraceful homophobic slur on national television demonstrates this. It never ceases to amaze, that in this era of diversity and inclusion, dinosaurs such as BT, continue to throw up idiotic, offensive insults that surely, the majority of Australians cannot tolerate any longer. His punishment? A one-day ban from his radio gig. Pathetic. As I sip the amber ale, drag the red and white scarf out of the cupboard and settle in for the match, my wife and I discuss which wondrous, nutritious and delectable vegetables we can plant in our new organic wonderland. As the charismatic Gary Rohan scorches the SCG turf and nails the first goal for the Swannies, the crowd roars and I immediately think of carrots! The Enemy have sprung out of the blocks with an impressive defensive mindset and Zac Tuohy provides all the starch of a sumptuous pink-eye spud. Mal fires through a long bomb from outside fifty, and we head to the huddle with a slender lead.

Sammy Reid is a lesson in patience for all Swans supporters. A lesson that must be applied to my new found enthusiasm for backyard farming. As the big no.20 contests the ruck, grabs the footy, runs through the centre of the SCG and drives home a major from beyond the arc, he reminds us all of the abundance of talent the former no.38 draft pick possesses. A moment later, he marks and goals from deep in the pocket and the Bloods seem to have finally opened up a gap. Not so. The Enemy are gritting their teeth as though gnawing into a juicy green-gage and cut the margin back to thirteen points. The match is tough on the inside and the spare man at the back for the men in navy, is proving a hindrance for the home side. As the young man Johnson kicks truly on the half-time siren, he is mobbed by team-mates and the margin is just seven points at half-time.

The third quarter provides a display from the Bloods which highlights the gulf in class between the two sides. Goodesy continues on his merry way, reminiscent of a fine vine-ripened tomato and McVeigh bursts through a stoppage to send a tracer bullet through the big sticks. Reidy takes another pack mark, converts again and Buddy has come to life. Jamison has played a strong first half, but the in-form player of the AFL kicks five for the quarter. The Swannies kick ten. A seven-point lead at half-time is now a seventy-point lead at three-quarter time. Joey Kennedy is headed for an all-time record of contested possessions and Pykey for hit-outs. This list has been five years in the making now, and the team are in red-hot form. The final quarter commences and Buddy kicks an outrageous goal and The Enemy look a beaten lot. I hope Juddy plays on. He has been far from the worst player tonight, and I think there is still plenty to like about a true great of our game. The suggestion of retiring him off was made during the week, and I for one, find that about as confusing as planting an asparagus plant! The term is evenly fought and the Swans prevail by seventy-one points.

I am told that harvesting from your very own backyard is fuelled by a want to get ‘back to basics’. In the future, I hope to be creating my own tomato sugo, apple cider, fruit jams and home-made lemonade. But small steps must be taken first. The game plan of these Sydney Swans relies on a commitment to the basics. Contested ball, off the ball pressure and sticking tackles provide the ingredients to every Swans victory. Only when the basics are adhered to, can the attacking flair flourish and put opponents to the sword. A couple of beers down, and I have some grand plans for this green thumb life. I also know that after this long, hard day of physical exertion, the type of which, I have grown unaccustomed to, I too, will be taking very small steps tomorrow, literally.

Sydney 18.14 (122)

Carlton 7.9 (51)


Sydney: Kennedy, Franklin, Parker, McVeigh, Pyke, K.Jack, Reid.

Carlton: Murphy, Simpson, Gibbs, Curnow.


Sydney: Franklin 6, Reid 4, Goodes 2, Parker 2, McVeigh, Malceski, Lloyd, Rohan

Carlton: Henderson 2, McLean, White, Bell, Johnson, Everitt


Rosebury, Harris, Mollison.


34,965 at SCG.

Malarkey Medal Votes:

3 – Josh Kennedy (Sydney)

2 – Buddy Franklin (Sydney)

1 – Luke Parker (Sydney)



About Joe Moore

Learned the art of the drop-punt from Derek Kickett as Jamie Lawson watched on. And thus, a Swan for life. @joedmoore1979


  1. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    Lovely Joe.
    I weeded on Saturday morning too, planted in the many many bromeliads that have multiplied over the edges of their pots; put Seasol and mulch on the patch. Ripped out the six foot of basil stalks in preparation for the summer crop; watered the emerging broccoli, the silverbeet. And admired three perfect heritage sweet peas – the first of the season, early but insistent. And then I went to the game.
    I could almost smell the sweetness of Spring on that biting wind that crossed the ground all night and put roses in our cheeks.

  2. Joe Moore says

    Thanks Mathilde. We’re certainly excited by the whole prospect. Seasol and mulch played a big part in our weekend also. I love this time of year, as we head towards Spring….and hopefully a trip to Melbourne in late September!

  3. Keiran Croker says

    I’m looking forward to the Spring Harvest too!

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