Round 1 – Sydney Swans v Essendon: Not Good for the Blood Pressure

Sydney Swans v Essendon – Round 1 – 4th April, 2015

It’s late in the third quarter and the Swans trail by 40 points. It was been one of those awful rainy days that Sydney can throw up and the game is out at that awful ground at ANZ Stadium, though I am watching on TV from the comfort of my lounge room in Melbourne. Our effort so far has been ordinary to say the least – poor ball handling, poor decision making and poor execution. And me yelling at the TV screen! It seems we have taken off from where our season ended last year.

I’m at home this Easter having passed on the Byron Bay BluesFest this time. Channel surfing over the weekend I’ve seen snippets of old Swans v Bombers games, all close encounters. These two teams have developed a sort of rivalry in recent times, though it appears that this game won’t be joining future highlight reels.

The Bombers have been terrific over the first three quarters showing great skill, pressure and purpose in light of their well-publicised travails of recent years. Our tall forwards have been well held to this point by Hurley, Hooker and the ageless Fletcher, though to be fair Buddy, Tippo and Reidy have had poor service from our boys further afield.

A strong mark from Jeremy Laidler and conversion from outside 50 metres provides some hope and gets us within 34 points at the last break. I pray to the holy trinity of Swans deity – St Skilts, St Kel and St Plugger – we need a miracle, a resurrection.

Young Lloyd has been substituted on for Goodesy late in the third quarter and provided immediate run and spark and now Rampe has moved up on to the ball, after a forgettable third term when the umps pinged him a few times for dubious frees. We seem to be getting more of the ball into the final term and pushing up. Though an early goal to Rohan is disallowed because the ump thinks Buddy has been the lead in an evening two step with Hurley. We have had an ordinary run from the umps today, however you make your own luck in this game.

Momentum is totally halted when our best and most prolific player today Luke Parker is cleaned up by Buddy on the lead, his head taken by the big fella’s hip in a disputed marking contest. As Luke is stretched off, blood oozing from his mouth, I think this is not to be our day. And in all honesty we probably do not deserve to win as the Bombers have been the better team all day.

However this team of ours never fails to keep trying. A somewhat lucky free to Buddy and a nice conversion provides the momentum we have been seeking. Immediately after Tippo shows great agility for a big man, gathers cleanly and snaps a lovely left footed goal around the corner. The game is now being played in our half, the Bombers seem to have run out of legs and are trying to halt the surge. Our midfield brigade lead by our courageous skipper Kieren Jack is now dominating and providing opportunity for the big guns, while the defence as always ably lead by Ted and Reg is mopping up anything that makes it past the centre line.

Tippo takes a skilful diving mark after pushing off from his opponent and converts with a beautiful set shot from the left pocket. The Bombers lead is down to 14 points and there is still plenty of time on the clock. Buddy runs down Joe Daniher on his way towards a Bombers goal. It’s a game turning tackle. It has been a remarkable turnaround. Now it looks more likely that we will prevail.

The game is still frantic and the ball is slipping around like a cake of soap, however the Swans have found more surety in their handling and ball movement, while the Bombers have lost theirs. A remarkable snap from Bird deep in the right pocket followed by a running goal from Jack levels the score with about 6 minutes to go. Almost to script Buddy swoops on a loose ball and puts us in front. While he has been well held by Hurley he has not stopped trying.

To ice the game our young Academy recruit Issac Heeney gathers the wet ball cleanly and snaps a lovely goal on his non preferred left foot, to complete an impressive debut that has lived up to the hype. We have finished with a 7.4 to nil last quarter to win by 12 points and complete the miracle comeback. I’ll look out for this game on Close Encounters in future years.

It’s clear that we will need to eliminate these poor starts if we are to be a genuine contender again this year. Also I’ve got to avoid watching games at home by myself, it’s clearly not good for the blood pressure. And I’m not sure how often the saints will heed my call.


My Votes: 3. Parker 2 Melksham 1 Hurley

SYDNEY SWANS      0.1   2.7    3.8    10.12  (72)
ESSENDON              4.3   5.5    9.6       9.6   (60)


Sydney Swans: Franklin 3, Tippett 2, Bird 2, Laidler, Jack, Heeney
Essendon: Cooney 3, Daniher, Colyer, Watson, Heppell, Melksham, Goddard


Sydney Swans: Parker, Jack, Kennedy, Laidler, Grundy, Bird
Essendon: Heppell, Melksham, Watson, Hurley, Cooney, Hooker


Sydney Swans: Parker (concussion)
Essendon: Myers (shoulder)


Sydney Swans: Jake Lloyd replaced Adam Goodes in the third quarter
Essendon: Ben Howlett replaced David Myers in the first quarter

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Dalgleish, Chamberlain, Armstrong

Official crowd: 23,274 at ANZ Stadium


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. Joe Moore says

    I’m with you Keiran. Watching at home alone is a recipe for disaster! Good job getting through.

    I bet you were pining for Byron for the first three quarters.

  2. Tom Bally says

    Great write up Keiran. Oddly I’m much calmer watching games by myself. I must need the attention.

  3. jan courtin says

    I can’t bear watching our games on TV – far too gut wrenching – although of course I have to for the Perth games I can’t get to. Just had to move to Sydney after 1996, to be closer to our beloved team and get to all the games. Often tempted to go back to Melbourne now that we’ve retired, but the Bloods keep me here!
    Agree that we certainly need to get into a habit of playing four quarters – not one, albeit an exciting one.
    Interesting that you have family connections to South. Jim Caldwell was our great uncle and red and white certainly runs deeply in our veins. Cheer Cheer.

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