AFL Round 4 – Sydney v Geelong: The Swans/meat pie correlation

By Dan  Hansen

I gave myself plenty of time. I left my brother’s house at four pm with the intention of getting home about an hour later and then straight onto a train. I was to get off at Central and then a ten minute walk to the Trinity Bar, where at six I was to catch up with five friends for a meal and a few beers before the game. Well that was the plan. The forty five minute drive from my brother’s house took an hour and forty five minutes and after struggling to find my AFL membership card it was too late to take the train. My wife offered to drive me into Surry Hills, the proposal was gratefully accepted. The traffic into the city was no better than the traffic leaving the city and I arrived at the Trinity bar at quarter past seven. There was enough time for one beer but I would have to eat from the culinary delights offered at the SCG.

We arrived at the “G Minor” just as the first quarter started and what a quarter it was. It was somewhat surreal with Stevie Johnson mustering the troops at the defensive end of the ground and Harry Taylor lurking dangerously in the forward half. The ball moved quickly through the corridor from one end of the ground to the other with goals being scored with relative ease. You would usually be lucky to see fifteen goals in a Swans game let alone in a single quarter. The quarter reminded me of the old state of origin games from the nineties. It was very quick, skillful with a low error rate but also a little bit soft.

Anyway it was quarter time and I was hungry and thirsty. I thought I would zip down for a quick bite and be back to watch the run and gun football fest. This is when the problem started. I have been attending football, cricket and various other sports at the SCG for over 20 years now and I am still amazed they can’t get the catering right. I’ve been to many 100,000 crowds at the MCG and been able to get a pie, chips and beer in five minutes. Down at the country’s premier venue you walk into the food area, you help yourself to the food and drink at the servery and then go to the register and pay. A simple concept that hasn’t caught on at the SCG, where they have one person who ask you what you want, slowly rounds up your order and then takes your money and operates the cash register. It will usually take about one minute per customer and a queue of thirty people means you will miss a whole quarter.

I lined up and started talking to the guy next to me. A Swan supporting Canadian who lived in Perth and had flown in for his first game ever at the SCG.  We both complained about how bad the catering was and how Mike Pyke should take on a third challenge and see if he could use his versatile talents and bring the SCG food service into the twenty first century. After waiting for about fifteen minutes and advancing half way through the queue rumours stared to bubble back through the hungry hordes that they were out of meat pies and hot dogs. I could see a few hundred hot dog buns near the cookery but could not see any frankfurters. Obviously Ethel the Aardvark was not on the SCG payroll.

After finally getting to the counter I asked for a pie and chips and was told there were only a few pies left and they were about two minutes away. I said I was more than happy with a lukewarm pie but was told they couldn’t serve them until they reached the required temperature. Wanting to be served as soon as possible I asked for some chicken strips and chips only to be told the last of the pies were ready. A pie was purchased and it was off to the beverages queue for four beers.

Arriving back to my seat at half time I asked my friends what happened during the second quarter as there were only four goals kicked. One of them told me the Swans switched to their usual defensive in-close contested style of play and tried to turn it into a slugfest. It worked for a while but the Cats matched them and when opportunity presented itself they attacked aggressively and turned it around late in the quarter. Bass was particularly interested in my experience getting the meat pie. Bass is an economist, financial journalist and former Adelaide University Football Club teammate.During his career, he assures me, he’s successfully predicted 97 Asian Financial Crisis, the bursting of dot-com bubble, the US mortgage backed security meltdown, Sydney’s 2012 premiership and every RBA rate cut for the last ten years. He then postulated the Swans-Meat Pie Correlation. He said he intuitively noticed that over the years there seemed to be a correlation between the Swans performance and the availability of meat pies at the SCG. However, he said he would have to do more research before putting it into print.

The second half was all Geelong. The Swans tried to turn the game into a one on one close in contested battle and the Cats countered this ploy with Joel Selwood. Whenever a Geelong player did something special in a pack, be it a quick kick, handball or tackle, I would ask who was that and the answer invariably comes back, ‘Selwood.’ ‘Selwood.’ Again and again. It was also the first time I had seen Horlin-Smith who, in the second half, was influential, especially in the packs. I now understand why the Crows tried to hide him from the draft. Hawkins, who had a quiet first half, took some telling marks up forward, whereas the Swans big men couldn’t likewise respond. Roberts-Thompson had a good first quarter up forward but apparently he was subbed out while I was arguing about the health dangers of a pie only heated up to fifty eight degrees. The Swans missed him in the second half.

We walked backed to the Trinity Bar discussing Thatcherism, the Gonski report and how if Geelong can keep most of those 22 together they should be a threat again in September. The Swans on the other hand looked a bit off the pace. They have to somehow return to the intense, blue-collar contested game. Longmire needs get them playing their kamikaze crash and tackle 2012 game again. Unfortunately we now know none of this is going to happen until the SCG catering get the quantity and temperature of their meat pies right.

GEELONG                            7.2          9.4          16.7        19.10     (124)

SYDNEY SWANS               8.1          10.3        11.3        16.7        (103)



Geelong: Motlop 3, Hawkins 3, Taylor 2, Chapman 2, Stokes 2, Horlin-Smith, Podsiadly, Smedts, Johnson, Selwood, T. Hunt, Christensen

Sydney Swans: McVeigh 3, Goodes 2, Bolton 2, Hannebery 2, Malceski 2, Reid, Roberts-Thomson, Pyke, McGlynn, Kennedy



Geelong: Selwood, Taylor, Hawkins, Motlop, Stokes, Horlin-Smith

Sydney Swans: Malceski, Hannebery, Jack, Pyke, O’Keefe


Umpires: Donlon, Stevic, Stewart


Official crowd: 31,060


Our Votes: 3. Selwood (G), 2. Taylor (G), 1. Malceski (S)


  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Great Report Danny most amusing re The Food Drama and it is amazing and incompetent that every stadium can’t copy the MCG
    I eagerly await David Bassaneses report re The Pies and hope it will be far better than his thoughts re The Supposed Chips after the Glamour Side captured the Big Mother in 86
    Horlin Smith has a lot of Potential but will always wonder if he could have ended up with a Baggy Green

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