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Finals Week 3 – Geelong v Sydney: Buddy! Buddy! Buddy!


Buddy, Buddy, Buddy!


Our superstar forward’s finger prints are all over an amazing first quarter in Friday night’s Preliminary Final against Geelong. Lance Franklin is both the sledge hammer that breaks open the Cats defence and the architect designing our forward attacks. By the time he slots a trademark long range goal on the run to cap a seven goal to nil stanza, the game is all but over.  It is perhaps the most influential quarter in a cut throat final that I’ve seen from an individual in a long time.


Let’s not forget though the whole team effort. I’ve been privileged now to see us live at the MCG in two Preliminary Finals. In 2005 it was a rampant final quarter that took us over the top of the Saints and towards a drought breaking premiership. This is different though. It is something else to see your team dominate an opposition so completely from the get-go. A thing of beauty!


Contested ball is king these days. Led by skipper Jack, Mitchell and Parker we constantly pressure the Cats on-ballers and roll the ball forward where the pace of Rohan, the strength of Buddy and Tippett and the elusiveness of our small forwards proves irresistible. McGlynn and Papley are like gophers popping up out of holes, or perhaps in-ground sprinklers raising their head when least expected.


Rapturous applause and admiration greet our red and white heroes at the first siren. The second level of the Southern Stand half forward at the Richmond end surrounded by a sea of red and white brothers and sisters has been an ideal vantage point to see the carnage unfold. I comment to the Swans couple to my right, who I later find are down from Newcastle – Heeney Country – that this is too good to last.


However across the other side of the ground in front of the MCC Members Pavilion we can see Malcolm Turnbull’s new best mate, Aliir Aliir gingerly being helped from the arena having crumpled to the ground after a marking contest late in the quarter. He does not return and we are down a rotation as well as missing his superb intercept marking and spoiling.


The die has been cast though. Geelong finally hit the scoreboard however their mistakes deliver more goals to Rohan and the X-man. Our defence marshalled by the Estonian, Rampe and the always underrated Nick Smith stand firm, while the midfield matches the determined efforts of Dangerfield and J.Selwood. Our young Novocastrian Isaac Heeney is increasingly influential roaming the length of the ground, marking courageously and driving us forward.  Another superb long range goal from Buddy takes us to a 55 point lead.


A late goal to Jimmy Bartel, only the Cats second, make it a 49 point difference at the main break. The ground announcer goes through all the best come from behind wins in Preliminary Finals history and advises that a Cats win would indeed match the best ever.


The Cats do respond and for the first time get a run of goals, led by Harry Taylor who has been thrown forward.  However they are never closer than 5 goals. And when needed one of our goffers Papley pops up and delivers two timely goals. His determination and skill have been a revelation this year and in his first finals campaign he has already notched up 9 goals. Very impressive – his Grandad Max would be proud.


The final quarter is somewhat of a stalemate. Our structured, determined defence, minus Aliir snuffs out any chance of a late charge from the Cats. The midfield led by young gun Heeney bats deeper than the Cats two man band and a 37 point win is delivered. Three goals to Papley and two each to Tippett, Parker, Rohan and Buddy have highlighted a great team effort.


As a supporter one should never take for granted the success of their team. Making finals has become the norm for the Swans in the last 20 years.  I am indeed privileged and very appreciative to follow a Club that is well run with a team supported by great recruiting, development and coaching.  A lot has been made of the decisions to recruit high end expensive talent in Franklin and Tippett. However it is the whole team effort that has taken us to another Grand Final.  The team currently includes eight players off the Rookie List and ten new players since our last premiership opportunity only two years ago. We have indeed rebuilt on the run.


Whatever the result next week, I know this group will make us proud and provide a whole-hearted effort.  We have taken the cream off the Cat’s milk. Can we tame the Dog’s bite? Bring it on … Go Bloods!


About Keiran Croker

Keiran is a lifelong Swans supporter, despite a brief dalliance with the Cats and Tigers in primary school years. Family connections to Port Melbourne and South Melbourne demanded loyalty to the Swans. The long wait for success was worth it.


  1. Franklin’s presence (together with that of Tippett) in the Sydney team is a credit to creative accounting practices and sly contract lawyering, and devalues in my mind, any and all the achievement of that team whilst those personnel remain. There are a plethora of football talents in that side, gained through organic development and astute recruiting. I’m seeing Heeney and Rohan, Aliir and Mitchell and rest of that young company, and am saddened that their achievement is tainted by the taking of a sledgehammer to a finely balanced competition. I can’t consider any success of the currently constituted Sydney either fair or legitimate. Your mileage may vary.

  2. The Swans were just way too good, Keiran. WAY too good. Made the Cats look soft (which they were) and slow (which they mostly were), and complacent (which they were), and badly coached ( which they were on the night).

    Too many second stringers at Geelong playing like second stringers. Loooooooong pre-season ahead for that mob.

  3. Gee Ken. Did you get out of bed the wrong side this morning?. Don’t forget Buddy chose Sydney over GWS a full 12 months before the trade took place. Sydney lost Mumford and others as well as the ridiculous trade ban and loss of COLA in the wash up.

    Having not been privy to the contract negotiation (and not many have I’m guessing) I’m in no position to advise anyone of sly practices, but the fact that of the matter that the Swans are an extraordinarily well run club and a very well coached team. They have made the best of what opportunities have been presented to them, just as every club tries to. Just because the Swans have done it better than most is a credit to them.

  4. Stuart, the skewed playing field bestowed on the Sydney clubs is a business decicion of the AFL. Success in that market is a key element in maximizing the valuie of broadcast rights. Sydney is a well run club which has taken advantage of the system. I don’t like that system, and I don’t have to accept that it is a fair system. Success obtained thereby is tainted.

    Sydney aquired Shane Mumford because they could afford to pay over the odds for a player developed at another club. They could do so because they were permitted to spend more on player salaries than other clubs. That they later chose to discard Mumford is not relevant to why they could provide him with an offer which he could not refuse. in the first place.

    The trade ban was applied due to Sydney’s conduct over the recruitment of Kurt Tippett. The recruitment transgressed AFL rules, and the penalty was fairly applied. They still were able to recruit the player.

    It is hard to conclude that Sydney have done ‘better than most’, since other clubs have not been offered the same advantages. If that were thae case, we’d not be having this disagreement.

  5. Ross Treverton says

    Kieran, the illogical rant of a disillusioned and poorly informed football correspondent, is not going to take away my absolute joy at what our boys have achieved thus far. Please don’t give him any more mileage or thought.
    Another enjoyable read Kieran. I am so nervous but so proud. They just look like a team on a mission. Buddy is magnificent, but it is our midfield and defence which should get the continuing plaudits. May the premiership be ours! Would love to meet you and my fellow Swan Almanackers this Saturday.
    Your work has been a delight this season.

  6. Keiran, Buddy was at his sublime best! Not as a marking forward but as a tank patrolling the Swans offensive lines, setting up opportunities, rolling over Motlop and letting everyone know that he is far more than goal scoring dynamo. Interesting to see Clarkson in the stands watching his performance as this is what he was trying to get Buddy to do at Hawthorn.
    Ken, Swans supporters carry all the unnecessary burden of the AFL’s manipulation, you can only apply what the rules provide. The trading ban was due to Buddy not going to GWS, not Tippet, they felt they were hoodwinked by COLA when it was applied according to their rules! Not creative accounting, remember Swans had several highly paid stars retiring and room was to become available. Do we apply your same standards to Hawthorn, recruiting players that other cubs have nurtured? You seem to forget that Sydney have a reputation for developing unwanted players and rookies into great players, Mumford was no different, he wasn’t a regular at Geelong but became a premiership ruckman with a club that develops players into a team that fights and plays for each other. Sydney were not the only club to have COLA.
    Nothing Tainted all earned!
    Go Bloods!!!

  7. Keiran Croker says

    Thanks Ross, a nervous though joyous week is ahead of us. Great to be in the big one again. I reckon it will be a beauty. The Bulldogs are a worthy opponent and won’t roll over!
    It would be great to catch up Ross. Are you going to the Footy Almanac Lunch? Otherwise sometime at the Rising Sun might work.

  8. Keiran Croker says

    Hi Ken,
    I suspect none of my logic will sway your opinion on this matter as we come from different perspectives. That’s fine. Our views are formed by a combination of fact, suppositions and perceptions. So I need to pull you up on a matter of fact. The Swans received no penalties for recruiting Tippett. He got 11 games suspension and several Crows administrators got lengthy suspensions for attempting to rort the Crows salary cap. Nothing to do with the Swans. We simply recruited him within the rules.
    I could argue with you at length on the COLA and other supposed advantages to the Swans. The point I was making in my article is that my team has utilised all avenues within the rules set down to develop a list that is capable of contending. Franklin and Tippett alone do not make a team.
    I repeat that I am enormously proud of my team. Go Bloods.

  9. Luke Reynolds says

    Has there been a tougher, better midfield in recent years than the current Swan midfield group?
    Have looked every bit a premiership team in the wins over Adelaide & Geelong.
    Enjoy the week Keiran!

  10. Lovely write up Keiran. Any further thoughts on how we can meet up with Ross?

    Maybe see you at the G !!
    Go Bloods

    From Almanac admin:
    A few Swans Almanackers have expressed a desire to catch up over the weekend. I suspect we will all have varied and different events to get to. However I am hoping that many will be at the GF Eve Lunch on Friday at Fitzroy Town Hall. If so let’s make sure we catch up for a drink and a group photo.
    If you are not able to be at the Friday Lunch suggest that we meet at the Rising Sun in South Melbourne for hopefully a celebratory drink or lunch on Sunday.
    What do others think? Any other ideas?

  11. Keiran Croker says

    Thanks Jan. I drafted that note for Dave to put out. So will see what ideas come back.

    Where will you be sitting? We are in the Southern Stand top level Q12 Richmond end.

  12. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Good on you Keiran. Buddy, Tippett and COLA wars aside, your boys have regenerated through the infusion of young tyro’s like Papley, Heeney, Hewitt and Aliir to name a few.
    Buddy just imposed himself against the Cats and looms as the main difference this Saturday. No one should underestimate how hard it is coming out of depression. Great story in itself. I’ll be hoping for a Dogs win for the same reason I cheered for the Swans in 2005. Best of luck.

  13. Keiran
    Our seats are ground level M14 Row W which are between the wing and 50 metre arc. Sound OK. Don’t know where they are in relation to yours.

    We’ll be at the GF parade which finishes about lunch time, so I’ve asked Dave whether we can pop into the after-lunch event for a little while.


  14. Daniel Flesch says

    quoting davep above” Interesting to see Clarkson in the stands watching his performance as this is what he was trying to get Buddy to do at Hawthorn.”
    How do you know that ?
    My guess is Hawthorn and Clarko are well pleased with Buddy’s contribution in his years at Hawthorn.
    He was a great team player as well as a star in his own right . I particularly remember his game in the 2008 GF win over Geelong. At the time people were saying how he was beaten by Matty Scarlett since he scored only two goals , but both were kicked at critical and telling times . And while Scarlett was concentrating on restricting Buddy’s output , he was himself unable to achieve his trademark counter-attacks from the backline that the Cats so depended on. Buddy did all that was expected of him at Hawthorn and he went with the club’s and players’ best wishes. As a Hawk supporter i hate the way some (many?) in the Hawthorn crowd boo him . He’s doing great things for Sydney , but nothing better than he did before. I think this goes for most players who change clubs.

  15. Ross Treverton says

    Can we meet at the MCG at a mutually agreeable time on Saturday? Maybe midday at Gate 3? If not, l’ll try and get to the lunch after the parade.
    Cheer, cheer!

  16. Keiran Croker says

    Ross, I think the Almanac Lunch is the best chance. Jan is also intending to come after the Parade.
    On Saturday I usually catch up with mates for brunch. So aim to get to the ground around 12:30 to 1pm. Could still try to meet at Gate 3.
    If we win, I might head to the Rising Sun on Sunday.

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