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Round 12 – Greater Western Sydney v Sydney: Boos and Cheers either side of a $100,000 kick win the battle

We were never going to win this one. Just another of those strong gut-feelings that I had to live with all week. The so-called experts and tipsters thought Sydney would continue on its merry way; they even had us as favourites for the flag. What is the sporting world coming to? Sure, the media experts need to find something to talk about each week – each day actually – but those betting companies are something else. Are they simply trying to fool us into a false sense of security with their money-grabbing ways and their weekly rubbish?

In March it was Hawthorn – no team could possibly better them. Then Geelong, with the Dangerman, became their favourite. North became a chance when they kept winning. West Coast was always around the mark. Adelaide was mentioned at some stage. The Bulldogs, being everyone’s “second” team, and playing well, were right up there for a while. GWS was in the equation. And then Sydney – pre season no chance at all – became the favourite.

You can now bet your bottom dollar that this week Sydney will have fallen in the betting stakes. Geelong, Adelaide and the Giants will be this week’s money-making gods.

Any team this year can beat any other team on any given day. It has happened throughout the year, and will probably continue to happen in the second half of the season. So how can anyone, in their right mind, predict who will take the prize on the first Saturday in October? Well, I certainly can’t. But then I’m no expert.

I didn’t expect that we’d win, but I also didn’t expect that we’d lose by 42 points. It was more than losing, it was a thrashing. I certainly haven’t watched the replay – there is no need. The statistics, in all areas, would surely show that we were beaten all over the ground; we looked tired and slow (surely, in part, a result of last week’s slog in the ankle deep slush on the Gold Coast); we didn’t look as hungry as the opposition, and with early injuries to two of our stars, our chances of coming back in the second half seemed very unlikely.

Kurt Tippett’s injury is obviously a concern. He had been playing really well – as he has all year – up until the incident in the second quarter, so he’ll be a major loss for however many weeks he’ll be out. So too Gary Rohan, assuming he’ll miss games. The other injury worry is that of Sam Reid; he re-injured his hamstring playing in the Reserves, before the main game yesterday, so any chance of a recall will be put on ice. Fit and healthy players are just so vital to all teams and their ultimate success.

Since 2010, when we lost three times in the home and away season by more than Sunday’s 42 points, we average one game a year when we seem to need a wake-up-call. In 2011 Hawthorn beat us by 46 points in May; in 2012 our worst loss was by 34 points against the Cats; in 2013, again the Cats by 44 points in August; in 2014 we lost by 43 points to North in April, and in 2015 we had two beltings: 52 points from West Coast in July and 89 points from Hawthorn also in July.

So, hopefully this week’s dismal result will be our wake-up call and worst result for 2016!

If we were so bad on Sunday, then it goes without saying that the Giants – our enemy and the other half of the stupidly titled Battle of the Bridge Derby – were outstanding. The only problem I have with the so-called Derby in Sydney is that there is no real passion, based on a history. Nothing like the long-standing rivalries between Collingwood and Carlton; Essendon and Carlton; Richmond and Collingwood; Carlton and Richmond; Melbourne and Collingwood, especially during the ’50s; and the more recent Hawthorn and Essendon and Hawthorn and Geelong clashes, and interstate games between Port and Adelaide and Freo and West Coast. Maybe in 50 years’ time it will be different.

Supporters of AFL teams in the rugby league dominated States struggle to create any meaningful “hatred” towards the enemy. It is all so bland. I will never get used to seeing Swans supporters clap the opposition! It happened again on Sunday. Toby Greene kicked one his four goals and several red and white clad people applauded. Bloody hell! You don’t show everyone else how good it was; you might think it, that’s fine, but clapping?!! He is a damn good player mind you, that Toby.

The dismal performance from the players up until three quarter time was forgotten for a few minutes when the mandatory entertainment during the break was underway. A Giants supporter in his orange and grey, drew ire from more than half the full house of 21,541 supporters – the Swans crowd – when he was being interviewed on the ground in readiness for his shot at winning $100,000 cash. Standing with his partner and young child, he gave his name and when asked how long he’d been supporting the Giants he said “Two years. I used to follow the Swans, but changed….” Boo! Boo! Boo! Traitor!

His reason for being on the ground was that he’d won the opportunity to kick the ball from 30 metres into the middle of a stack of five tyres. It had to land straight into the middle from the kick – no bouncing – and from one attempt only. A tyre company was offering the prize. He did it! He actually did it! The crowd went wild – by far the loudest cheer all day. The Boos turned into clapping and genuine excitement. I was very happy for him and his young family, but I didn’t clap. He was a traitor!

We trundled off after the final siren, me feeling what you might call downhearted, and managed to get a seat on the train to Central. It was quiet. There was no heart-pumping, foot-thumping rendition of Cheer Cheer this time round, and no winning replay-watching to look forward to. Instead I watched St Kilda thrash Carlton, that I’d recorded, and was reminded yet again that any team can beat any other on any given day this year. So there is hope for all of us, despite what the experts say. However, in my expert opinion, the Bloods are right up there!

My highlights from the game:


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.


  1. Teams seem to be jockeying for the position of flag favouritism without actually wanting to have it – hence why everyone is dropping games you wouldn’t expect them to! Mind you, I did tip the Giants in this one – on the basis of the fact that the Swans probably won’t mind losing at this stage.

  2. jan courtin says

    I’m not sure about the last part of your comment Sam, re the Swans probably not minding if they lost – surely no team goes into a game with that mindset; I think we lost because for whatever reasons GSW played better in all facets of the game, and taught us a bit of a lesson. Our injuries certainly didn’t help either.

    I don’t think players and coaches take any notice of what the experts predict, especially at this stage of the season. Or at least I hope they don’t!

    Thanks for your comment.

  3. I really like this one Jan. Very much to the point and highlighting the absurdities of reactionary weekly forecasts. And I love the dig at the commercialisation of footy! Well done.
    Hopefully the loss is just a blip.
    Go Swannies!

  4. Hopefully this will be our last loss this year! Bad news about Tippo’s injury. I look forward to seeing Teddy back, along with Hewitt and Papley and the Swannies resuming their winning ways.

  5. kath presdee says

    I’m willing for a rematch in October. Neutral digs – MCG. What say you?

  6. jan courtin says

    Hi Jude, Marcel and Kath

    Thanks for comments. Yes, hopefully just a blip Jude, and hopefully our very last loss Marcel!! However, with Tippo gone for a while and with games against Geelong, Bulldogs and Hawthorn all whilst he’s out, I’m extremely nervous. Must stay positive though, and remind myself that all teams get injuries and the good ones cover for them!

    Kath – if only!!! Refuse to think that far ahead, but I can but fantasise! I”m sure you can too!!! If your guys play as well as they can, with all firing, and no nerves getting in the way, there’s a real chance. But I simply do refuse to think about the Swans in that scenario.

  7. Tony Courtin says

    A very unSwanslike performance,Jan. A lack of sustained pressure enabled GWS to execute their game plan with relative ease. Very disappointing effort. Tippett’s injury will test us. Let’s hope we can bring a better effort next week. The fickleness of gamblers is never highlighted more than is reflected in the weekly fluctuations of flag favouritism. The betting companies are simply reacting to public opinion. Hope the game wasn’t too painful,Jan.

  8. jan courtin says

    All losses are painful Tony. I hate losing. What to do? Learn to deal with it and get things into perspective. At least I try, daily!
    Hope we’re all happy Swannies after this weekend

  9. Thanks Jan it will be interesting to see how the Swans cope with out bloody,Tippett and the Weagles losing Nic Nat how that affects all the experts tips ? ( totally agree with your sarcasm re experts,Jan )

  10. jan courtin says

    Yes Rulebook, injuries are very telling, especially to stars of the game; I would say that your favourite Tippett would now come under that category, and we’ll certainly miss him. Nic Nat is a star and his absence will surely affect the Weagles. But, good teams should be able to cover, so we’ll just wait in hope.
    Your lot is going well! You must be pleased, at this point.

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