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Finals Week 1 – Fremantle v Sydney: We’re Still Dancing

 

“He’s a big-city kid in a small town.

They said he’d never win.

He knew he had to…”

 

This was the promo used for my long-time favourite movie, Footloose. It could’ve also been used to describe our Swannies and the mammoth challenge faced this week and beyond. I’m not sure if the team watched Footloose in the lead up to our Qualifying Final, but when looking for inspiration, look no further than the smooth-cheeked, pug-nosed Kevin Bacon’s sensational performance as Ren McCormack. All he wanted to do was to prove the doubters wrong, and to dance.

 

The 1984 box-office smash hit tells the tale of an upbeat Chicago teen who moves to a small town, in which dancing and rock music have been banned. Imagine that. Could you handle living in such a place? No shimmying, no sprinklers, no worms and no moonwalking. A world without Thin Lizzy’s ‘Boys Are Back in Town’ or The Clash’s ‘Rock the Casbah’? No thanks. This town needed a hero. Over to you, Mr. Bacon.

 

Like finals footy in Perth, the film has everything: motifs on book burning, mid-life crisis, AWOL parents, car crashes, drug enforcement, a spectacular array of mullets, tight denim and Bible Belt vigilantism. Against all odds, this kid left the bright lights of the big city behind and stuck it to ‘the man’.  As his rebellious spirit shakes up the populace, Bacon defies the repression, and begins a cunning plan to dance again.  No doubt Horse has concocted a cunning plan today.

 

And like the sizzling Bacon, our Swans have grappled with adversity all year. In many ways, this year has been forgettable. On and off field issues, which have saddened many, can all be put behind us with a big, backs-to-the wall finals win. We like being the underdogs; it just suits The Bloods. I’ve been optimistic all week because of this very fact. Never underestimate The Bloods.

 

It’s time to settle in and soak up the springtime benefits of supporting the Swans. Finals. I’m looking forward to seeing how our young cygnets handle the rough and tumble of a cut-throat final, in an intimidating atmosphere. Heens, Lloydy, Zak, Harry, BJ, and Towers have major roles to play, and that can only be exciting.

 

The match begins as many have for us over in the wild, wild west. Slowly. While we are creating chances, we fail to capitalise and the first five scoring shots are behinds. Up the other end, the Dockers kick the first four majors. The signs are good at quarter time. Reidy has opened our goal tally and the old-heads are hitting hard around the packs. It’s no place for the faint-hearted.

 

In the second term, our boys dominate in general play. We’re right in this. Up to our necks. Clearly defiant, this is Bloods culture at it’s best. With three All-Australians and our reigning B & F already absent, the sight of Reidy clutching his hammy is far from welcome. Another challenge. Zak comes charging on. This kid is made for finals. A beautifully constructed goal to Tippo from our kick-in gets me off the couch. Two-goals-eleven at half time isn’t ideal, but the boys are cracking in.

 

The Cygnets are finding their feet, and Dean Towers is playing a beauty. More experienced Swans are also doing the jumper proud. Joey Kennedy is an absolute jet. Easily one of the best footballers in the game today, a more reliable big-game performer you will not find. Hanners, running machine, is finding the wide-open spaces of Subiaco to his liking once again, and is providing much drive and energy to the midfield. Shawry’s running like a 25-year old again, and the great man is winding back the clock. A real treasure is our Adam Goodes.

 

Like many times before, this team needed a hero. Over to you, Mr. Goodes. Back in his rightful place, around the centre bounces and in the thick of a big game, our living legend proved to be our Kevin Bacon. Sticking it to the critics. Disappointingly, but unfortunately not surprisingly, he is booed again. I respect no footballer more than Adam Goodes. A man of obvious grace and dignity, his approach to such adversity is an inspiration to many. Myself included. To see him rise above the rubbish and dominate once again is simply uplifting.

 

Laids nails a long bomb, Macca a beautiful banana. We will not surrender. Tippo is immense. Cygnets are blossoming before our very eyes. How can you not be proud? The Swannies fight and fight, just as we are accustomed to expecting. The joy of watching our boys in yet another September campaign should never be taken for granted. We eventually fall short, but this game, more than any losing battle, will stand us in good stead for years to come. This is a rebuilding team, another generation of Bloods inducted today.

 

It has been well documented that we’re going into this finals series undermanned and inexperienced. We’ve done this before and prevailed, yet the ‘experts’ have written us off. When Kevin Bacon took his fight to remove the insane anti-dancing laws to the city council, he cited that the worth of dancing is to rejoice, exercise, or celebrate. He was written off too, and he lost that initial fight. But Kevvy kept on punching, and so will our Swans.

 

So, did Bacon win his battle against bureaucracy? Watch the movie. Will our Swannies triumph against the overwhelming odds? Stay tuned. We’re bruised, underrated and determined. It’s a dangerous combination. Never give up on the Bloods, because just like our mate Kevin, we’re still charging towards the big dance.

 

 

FREMANTLE              4.1   6.4    8.8    10.9 (69)
SYDNEY SWANS       1.6   2.11  5.13  7.18 (60)

 

GOALS
Fremantle: Walters 3, Ballantyne 3, Mayne, Clarke, Neale, Barlow
Sydney Swans: Tippett 3, Reid, Laidler, McVeigh, Towers

 

BEST
Fremantle: Fyfe, Neale, Mundy, Sandilands, Walters, , Ballantyne
Sydney Swans: Kennedy, Hannebery, McVeigh, Goodes, Shaw, Towers, Richards

 

Umpires: Chamberlain, Margetts, Findlay

 

Official crowd: 40,071 at Domain Stadium.

 

Other Footy Almanac stories of Finals Week 1 – Fremantle v Sydney

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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. Bec. Blossomvictory says:

    Goooood Luccckkk, We ARe CoooOooMmiiinnnggg ……………. !!!! LOL

  2. Keiran Croker says:

    Yep, we have been written off again. Jeez I hope we win this week, just so I can watch David King on Foxtel have to give us some credit. He is an arsehole!

  3. Couldn’t agree more, Keiran. McGuire, Brereton, King… The Fox Footy boycott is not far off for me. A win this weekend will be just the tonic.

    That Swans v Crows GF is looming, Bec!

  4. Peter Flynn says:

    Joe,

    Old Mate Basil Zempilas was giving me the brace and bits with his bias.

    Bias by stats, by surprise at umpire decisions, by voice intonation etc etc.

    I think he was on the verge of saying that ‘Nate’ Fyfe was going to get Brownlow votes.

  5. P. Flynn,

    You and me both. His partner in crime Cometti also declared it a ‘mismatch’ at one stage.

    Funny, always felt as though we were right in the game. Also, upon hearing Goodesy being booed again, he declared that ‘I don’t know what that’s all about’. Hmmm, really?

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