Round 1 – Adelaide v Sydney: The touch of the unknown

Mathilde de Hauteclocque watches her Swans whilst striving to come to terms with a very different season. A year on, the Swans are contending for the flag once more – still, perhaps, in front of nowt but seagulls. (This piece was originally published in March 2020 – Eds.)

Almanac Flashback – ‘Creeket iz life’: Mathilde de Hauteclocque

Fathers’ Day has come and gone, but there are always more stories of family and fathers from the Almanac archives…

Mathilde de Hauteclocque tells the story of her love of cricket and in doing so reveals much about her family, especially her father, the French Count, and his deep appreciation of the game (‘Creeket iz life’). A great tale of where life takes you and what it offers when your eyes are open and alert to possibility.

Round 23 – Sydney v St Kilda: A thrill to witness

Passionate Swan fan Mathilde de Hauteclocque reports on the Sydney Swans win over the Saints in a match that farewelled some popular retiring Sydney greats at the SCG.

Round 19 – Sydney v Geelong: 20 years on.

Two decades of cheer-cheering has snuck up on Mathilde de Hauteclocque, who came to follow the side as a young adult sans familial connection. Now Mathilde’s own youngster has taken up the mantle of an independent allegiance not once, but twice!

Round 16 – Essendon v Sydney: Memory and perspective

Mathilde de Hauteclocque takes a moment to look back, within and outwards at her team, her city, her memories large and small… A perspective on which she gained through her friendship with an artist and colleague of Koori heritage; she reflects on this during NAIDOC Week.

Round 6 – Sydney v GWS: Optimistic outlook

The home ground disadvantage continued for Mathilde de Hauteclocque’s Swans, but amid the rubble there is always time to stop and smell the camellias.

Round 2 – Sydney v Adelaide: One is a ballet, the other sea foam!

The contemporary footy landscape, recent cultural and politcal events, concern Mathilde de Hauteclocque as she grapples with the consequences of them. And, her beloved Swans going down to the Crows hasn’t helped either. Perhaps the Cotes du Rhone on Saturday night put Mathilde in a better frame of mind!

Finals Week 1 – Sydney v GWS: Spring buds not yet ready to burst

‘Sometimes the signs of spring arrive pre-emptively but it’s not yet time to burst. The Swans have had that kind of season.’ Mathilde de Hauteclocque wraps up the elimination final that saw her Swans bow out of premiership contention.

Round 16 – Sydney v Geelong: Too generous?

The high flying Swans were far too accommodating of the marauding moggies of Geelong for Mathilde de Hauteclocque’s liking.

Unburdening the onions

The stadium has been a little unsatisfying for Mathilde de Hauteclocque this year, but Friday night, despite the chill, was better. And that rolled into Saturday and the France-Socceroos match when, as a Franco-Skip, you can be attached to either team.

Round 11 – Sydney v Carlton: The nature of reconciliation

It’s cold in Sydney as Mathilde de Hauteclocque contemplates Reconciliation Week on a walk along the river and a trip to the footy.

Round 6 – Geelong v Sydney: Away from away from home

Thanks to a life strung between states, Mathilde de Hauteclocque was unable to attend the Swans’ match at the Cattery this year. Denied the usual habits, she made do with new rituals of the feline variety

Round 3 – Sydney v GWS: When a skyline of cranes is no match for tenderness, beauty and (another) Buddy moment

Is Mathilde de Hauteclocque over Sydney? Not the Swans, just the city? Jump inside her mind as she thinks her way through her night at the footy and is lifted by an Ukrainian educator and O’Reilly James’s view of that Buddy goal. [Yep! – JTH]

AFL Pre-season – GWS v Sydney: Chaotic Neutral (with photo now)

Footy came to Mathilde de Hauteclocque’s backyard on Friday evening – which of course is perfect material for a piece of MdeH’s writing.

Finals Week 1 – Sydney v Essendon: Sending your music into the Bradman twilight (fortissimo)

The O’Reillys become Bradmans for an evening – an interesting idea – and admire a finely-tuned ensemble of players as the spirit descends.

Round 23 – Sydney v Carlton: The Pelican of the SCG

Interesting what you see at the footy, and where that might take your thoughts. Mathilde de Hauteclocque enjoys the final match with the O’Reilly crew as the Swans take their place in the finals.

Backwards to go Forwards: an Ode to Defence (or ‘Tash and Dash’)

Football is football. But it is also a way in to thinking and feeling. This meditation from Mathilde de Hauteclocque offers a half back flanker’s response to omnipresent grief.

Round 20 – Geelong v Sydney: Finding what you’re looking for

Mathilde de Hauteclocque heads off on her annual Geelong pilgrimage. Along the way she looks for God in the sky, the Clowder on The Terrace and wisdom in a bluestone bar. She considers pressure and re-entry and wards off disappointment, however briefly.

Round 17 – GWS v Sydney: There and not there

I’m not sure Mathilde de Hauteclocque is entitled to sit in the House of Reps but her impact comes from the keyboard anyway. Here she describes the green shoots of genuine rivalry in Football Sydney on a night to satisfy the senses and sensibilities, French and otherwise.

Round 16 – Sydney v Gold Coast: Rohan is the danger man

Mathilde de Hauteclocque compares Gary Rohan to sulphur… and why not! The cultish figure had another superb game and damaged the Suns whenever he got the ball.