Au revoir, ANZ Stadium

‘This is our last goodbye. I hate to feel the love between us die…But it’s over.’ – Jeff Buckley.

As news of the end of the Sydney Swans’ tenure at Homebush Bay reverberated around the country, supporters of the Bloods rejoiced. Sure, there have been many memorable moments created at the home of the Sydney Olympics, but as an AFL venue, it has constantly presented as somewhat of an impasse. The cavernous, eternally underpopulated stands seemed to suck the atmosphere out of the arena like one of Godfrey’s finest, leaving players and barrackers alike with a lack of fervour. However, despite being a footy ground devoid of soul, I do render memories of my own, both good and bad, from attending matches at the controversial venue. I’d like to share a collection of these (not so) memorable moments.

Magpie Domination:

Year upon year, a black and white army would descend upon Homebush for their annual collection of four points. Senior Sergeant Malthouse would orchestrate a blockade upon the Swans’ fifty-metre line. Impenetrable. The ambush of the home side’s goal would then arrive courtesy of an artillery battery which included the likes of Didak, Cloke and Thomas. Resistance was futile and my team were often left to dust off and approach the match with nothing but forlorn hope, only to result in some last ditch ‘Guerrilla tactics’, all to no avail. The dominance did not only occur on the battlefield, but also in the stands. Commodore ‘Joffa’ Corfe, would arrive in the black and white stripes, revel in three hours of tyranny and leave, rejoicing in his sparkly golden coat. As a regular eye-witness to this insufferable treatment, the pain is still palpable.

Barry belts Brent:

On April 12, 2008, Barry Hall swung a left hook at West Coast’s Brent Staker. A left hook is performed by turning the core muscles and back, thereby swinging the arm, which is bent at an angle near or at 90 degrees, in a horizontal arc into the opponent. A hook is usually aimed at the chin, and this was no exception. Initially, we Bloods in the stands at the opposite end of the ground were under the illusion that Mr. Staker should get up off the ANZ Stadium surface. After viewing the replay on the big screen, this belief not only appeared erroneous, but also merciless and slightly inhumane. I have never before witnessed forty-odd thousand people admit wrongdoing so quickly. On behalf of all Swans who were present that night, I sincerely apologise, Mr. Staker.

19,000 for a Final?

I’m not entirely sure if Barry’s haymakers had a direct effect on the attendance for the Swans’ home final later that year, but ANZ Stadium played host to the Swans’ lowest ever finals turn-out. In the crowd that dreary Sydney night, I felt as though I could’ve been watching the Orange Tigers take on the Cowra Blues, such was the dearth of humans present at the match. The sparse crowd did however allow me to indulge in some aisle dancing, which was likened to the moves displayed by Ren McCormack (Kevin Bacon) in Footloose. Perhaps even better.

Ed Barlow is the next Adam Goodes?

Now, outlandish statements are not uncommon at any footy ground. However it was during a Swannies game at Homebush that I overheard the most incomprehensible of all. ‘Ed Barlow is the next Adam Goodes.’ I’d imagine that if you are not a Swans (or Bulldogs) supporter, you may not be familiar with the career of E. Barlow. Serviceable? Sometimes. Potential? Sometimes. Match winning superstar who can win matches off his own boot? I don’t think so. Comparing Ed Barlow to Adam Goodes is like comparing ANZ Stadium to the Sydney Cricket Ground. Not even close.

Sure, the Sydney Swans have experienced some significant victorious occasions at ANZ Stadium. However, if the SCG is like returning home for a slap-up roast dinner with all the trimmings (and it is) for supporters of The Bloods, then ANZ Stadium is like a visit to your grouchy Great Aunt Gertrude’s, where the dusty old cupboard’s only inhabitants are stale Milk Arrowroot biscuits. Thanks, but no thanks.

 

 

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

Comments

  1. And so say all of us.

    Amen.

  2. Glad to hear the agreeance. This move was well overdue!

  3. Well said Joe. Farewelling ANZ Stadium is like farewelling a cheating spouse. Something needs to be said.
    But not much.

  4. Thanks Peter. You’ve summed it up beautifully yourself!

  5. Dunno, Joe. I think stadia where the grass is actually attached to the soil are overrated…

  6. Luke Reynolds says

    Really enjoyed that bit about Magpie domination. Pendles won the game on his own in Round 2. But looking forward to seeing the Pies at the SCG in 2015. Fantastic move by the Swans.

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