AFL Round 7 – Brisbane v Sydney: A True Clubman

Every sporting club has them. Every sporting club underrates them. At Best & Fairest nights all over the country, the recipient of the ‘Best Clubman’ award is greeted with a mix of affection and fondness but not with the same esteem held for other awards. On Saturday night, the 2011 Sydney Swans ‘Best Clubman’ Rhyce Shaw played his 200th AFL match. I must admit, when he wore the black and white stripes, I was not particularly fond of our dashing, premiership winning half back. However, over the past six seasons, Rhyce Shaw has won an unequivocal respect and adoration from the Swans faithful. His obvious enjoyment from the team’s and team mates’ achievements bring a warmth to his weekly performances that is matched by few. On Saturday night, our ‘Best Clubman’ helped us to a big win.

Recent history shows that the Swans play well against our friends from Woolloongabba. But, with our two highest of high-profile recruits sitting on the sidelines, this match was met with a sense of trepidation. The Enemy were exuberant after opening their season’s account the previous week and the display from our team at the ‘home of football’ was far from convincing. I had however, convinced myself that the Bloods would not let down our milestone man tonight. With conditions typical of the Sunshine State at night, humid and greasy, the match began with a share of fundamental errors from both sides. The Enemy’s main man, big Jonno Brown, had withdrawn before the bounce, thus ridding this contest of the big-ticket big-forward that the crowd had come to see. The void left by the absence his hulking figure was certainly not filled and the Swannies had built up a comfortable quarter-time lead.

The second quarter rolled around and we were looking like a team who were finding some form reminiscent of the previous two seasons. The Enemy’s young and inexperienced line-up were fighting to contain a midfield filled with match hardened competitiveness. A fight that they would eventually lose. By half-time, the margin had extended to five goals and there was a feeling that this match may open up in our favour once the second half commenced. A hot dog, a beer and the joy of not having to put up with anyone analysing the match from ‘The War Room’ made the break pleasantly reassuring. The third quarter at The Enemy’s one-time fortress, was when the gulf that currently exists between these two sides, became obvious. ‘Gut-running’ is a fashionable footballing term which is a trade-mark of this Swans team at their best. Tonight, it was on full display from the likes of Hannebery, Jack, McVeigh and Kennedy. It was also on display as the man of the moment, Rhyce Shaw made a rare venture into the forward-fifty to kick a goal which not only provided the highlight of the third term, but also further displayed his extreme value to his teammates. They ran from everywhere to congratulate a much admired and loved Swan.

The lead continued to grow as the last quarter played out. Fittingly, on a night filled with a certain admiration, the Swans completed a fine 79-point victory. As our ‘Best Clubman’ was chaired from the ground by his two best mates, I noted that every single Swans player had their gaze fixed solely on the man that they openly covet for upholding the values and spirit of this football club. A man who rarely gains the credit that he is due for his work at the Swans, Rhyce Shaw can be incredibly proud of the way that he ‘goes about it’. Congratulations Shawry, from all Bloods supporters, and here’s to many more!

Sydney 18.15 (123)

Brisbane 6.8 (44)


Sydney: Goodes 3, K.Jack 2, Kennedy 2, Parker 2, B.Jack 2, Derickx, Cunnigham, Reid, McVeigh, Shaw, Lloyd, Jetta

Brisbane: Paparone 2, Lester, Rockliff, Green, Cutler


Sydney: Kennedy, McVeigh, K.Jack, Parker, Lloyd, Shaw, Hannebery

Brisbane: Rockliff, Green, Paparone, Adcock


Fleer, Stevic, Stephens



Malarkey Medal Votes:

3 – Jarrad McVeigh (Sydney)

2 – Josh Kennedy (Sydney)

1 – Kieren Jack (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

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