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Finals Week 3 – Geelong v Sydney: It’s Now Us Against the World! Carn the Mighty Bloods!

GEEvSYD

 

To be sung (in or out of tune) in any manner at any time from now until the final siren for the year:

 

Cheer, cheer the red and the white
Honour the name by day and by night
Lift that noble banner high
Shake down the thunder from the sky
Whether the odds be great or be small
Swans will go in and win overall
While her loyal sons are marching
ONWARDS TO VICTORY

The Bloods were bloodthirsty. A rather inelegant phrase, but that’s just what they were against the fancied Cats: ferocious, brutal, ruthless, fearless, domineering, relentless, fierce, assertive, bold, merciless and unyielding.

Now we need to do it all over again. The world will definitely be against us next Saturday in the grannie, as it was against the Eagles in 2005: West Coast the favourites that time round, the Swans – after 72 years of pain and suffering – the underdogs. Sentiment is often with the underdogs, especially against a team that has had recent successes. And it will be absolutely no different this year. If the Swans weren’t my team, I too would want the Dogs to win the flag, after 62 years of pain and suffering. I now want them to suffer just a little longer, at least for 63 years!

The Prelim on Friday night at the G was a night to remember for all Bloods. From Benny’s first goal 30 seconds in, to the sight of Lukey Parker, Joey Kennedy and the magnificent Buddy embracing on the bench when the siren went – those 120 minutes were priceless.

Certain moments often define footy games. There were too many in this game, but the first quarter’s seven goal onslaught stood out. As did Tommy Mitchell circling five to six Geelong players in the first quarter, ball in hand, and getting it off to Parks for a goal. Maybe that moment said more about Geelong on the night. Then there was Buddy – especially in that first quarter – and Heens working his magic, and Ramps, Smithy and Lloydy across the backline, and Zac (proving he should be there), and Hanners and Joey and our little beauty Paps, together with Tommy, all showing what this game meant to them and their Blood brothers.

It is wrong to single out certain players in a game like this. So I’ll add a few more. Kizza, relentlessly tackling as his Dad must have done when playing rugby league; Gazza proving that not only is his injured leg worth gold, but his footy smarts are worth diamonds; and Benny, desperate to get into the elusive Big One, smothering and pressuring like never before; Sammy Naismith kicking around his body and over his shoulder for a vital goal and then marking one handed for another shot at goal; Xavier Richards doing what was expected; Reg monitoring the backline and getting the better of Hawkins; Tippo kicking two vital goals and making his presence felt in the ruck; Laids taking some vital marks, ensuring that our backmen were on top for most of the game; Harry Marsh and Georgie Hewitt doing what was asked of them, and of course Aliir Aliir having a blinder of a first quarter before injuring his knee.

A complete team effort will usually come out on top. Geelong had 10 minutes or so in the third quarter when they appeared to dominate, but that dominance was quickly extinguished by the mental and physical strength of the men in red and white. And, despite the remarkable disparity in some of the statistics, especially the 72 forward entries from the Cats to our 40, and the number of possessions from their two stars Dangerfield and Selwood, Geelong was, again, no match for our mighty Bloods. It was a complete team effort.

The doorbell has rung. Channel 7, Sydney, have just arrived at my sister’s place in St Kilda to interview me for their 6pm News tonight. I’m hoping they will also show it in Melbourne. The segment will concentrate on the Sydney vs Melbourne footy rivalry, and the fact that the NRL will also have their only Melbourne team up against the Cronulla Sharks desperate for their first flag.

Back from the downstairs interview, done in front of SWANZ: A friend just phoned to say that my letter to the editor in The Age this week was published. I had no idea. I’ve only ever had three letters published in the Melbourne press, and of course they’ve all been footy related. Here it is, although The Age modified it slightly:

“After last week’s stuff up, affecting thousands of fans’ ability to access tickets to the second round of finals, similar misgivings occurred again today when trying to buy tickets to the Preliminary Final Geelong vs Sydney.

In retrospect, there were amusing moments.

At 9am I went straight online. At the 7 minute mark of the allocated 9 minutes allowed, I was cut off and told to start again. I then tried phoning. The ring tone greeted me with the usual “Welcome to Ticketek. In a few words tell us what you would like.”

“AFL Finals tickets”

“Is that Urinals tuks?”

“No, AFL FINALS”

“Sorry, my mistake, let’s start again. Do you want an event?”

“Yes”

“What event would you like?”

“AFL Football Finals tickets”

“Is that Av laall fin sets?”

“BLOODY HELL, NO”

The subsequent responses were hysterical until I was finally put on hold to speak to an operator, saying “There will be a wait of at least 20 minutes.”

All the while, I’m back onto their website, and at the 7.20 minute mark of the allocated time, the screen comes up saying OOPS THAT WAS UNEXPECTED! and the connection was lost.

About 20 minutes later I finally spoke to a human being and got my seats!”

Despite letters to the editor, despite Channel 7 News interviews, and despite any possible further media involvement, all I want is for the Grand Final to get under way. I want the Bloods to be bloodthirsty all over again – even more so – I want for the Bloods to be ruthless all over again, I want for the Bloods to be ferocious all over again – even more so. I will ignore what the rest of the world wants. I will not even repeat those words again in the next six days. I will just concentrate on what my team does well, what it does to the opposition when all 22 players are in sync and bleeding for their Brothers. That bleeding will tell in the final analysis and hopefully that bleeding will bring on the most raucous and heart-felt rendition of all renditions, in the history of our great Club. And who cares whether it’s out of tune!

Cheer, cheer the red and the white
Honour the name by day and by night
Lift that noble banner high
Shake down the thunder from the sky
Whether the odds be great or be small
Swans will go in and win overall
While her loyal sons are marching
ONWARDS TO VICTORY!!!

My highlights from the game:
Every single minute of it, despite my nervousness and sick-in-the-stomach churnings right up until the final siren! How I love you all, you wonderful Blood Brothers!

About Jan Courtin

A Bloods tragic since first game at Lake Oval in 1948. Moved interstate to Sydney to be closer to beloved Swans in 1998. My book "My Lifelong Love Affair with the Swans" was launched by the Swans at their headquarters at the SCG in August 2016. www.myswansloveaffair.com

Comments

  1. Ross Treverton says:

    Jan, l feel sick to the stomach and that won’t change until final siren on Saturday. The boys were magnificent on Friday and as usual, you covered the game beautifully. Buddy won’t win it for them; they have to have 22 strong and committed players. And they will. They are men on a mission. I have my ticket. It all feels a bit surreal, but we are there again. Proudly Sydney, proudly South Melbourne.

  2. Jan I was pacing up and down like an expectant father. 1st quarter blitz was emphatic and keeping it together for the next 3 quarters was hard, somehow you felt Geelong could come back but the back 6 were magnificent, repelling every Cat who strayed in their territory.

  3. jan courtin says:

    Thanks Bloods people

    We just have to hope that all the hype surrounding the Bulldogs this week won’t have any effect at all on the Bloods Brothers. All 22 of them – whoever they may be – just need to repeat that last two week’s performances. If that happens, we should be unstoppable!

    However, I’m certainly not getting carried away with anticipation or expectation at the moment. Only too aware of what can happen in footy games, especially ones of such importance, and especially ones that are often determined by what’s happening above the shoulders.

    Proud is the word!
    Cheer cheer

  4. It certainly was a team effort, as one would hope. Our Swannies were great.. Let’s hope the joy continues.

    The song is still echoing through my head.

    Go Bloods!

  5. Keiran Croker says:

    Great write up Jan. It was a joy to behold!
    Got my tickets. Going with one of my brothers and another Swans mate.
    Looking forward to the week, the day and the game.
    Bring it on. Go Bloods!!!

  6. jan courtin says:

    Great that you’ve got your tickets Keiran.

    We’ve got ours too, Don’t know where they are but are in the 3rd highest category!

    Wish I was clairvoyant!

    Or, maybe not…….
    Cheer cheer our mighty bloods

  7. Yes Jan,we were at our brutal best against Geelong. We must bring the same next Saturday in the big one. Sam and I are 3 rows from the front,amongst Swans supporters. My guts has been churning for 3 days already. See you Sat. morning before the game. Go Bloods.

  8. jan courtin says:

    HI Tony
    Collected our tickets yesterday. Seem OK. Ground level Row W M14, between centre and 50 metre arc. Fortunately we have an aisle seat where hopefully it will allow me to jump into the aisle to wave the flag many more times that my neighbouring Bulldogs!

    Cheer cheer

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