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Round 10 – Sydney v Collingwood: The Marn Grook Game

I’m in Sydney for the Marn Grook game … and Buddy Franklin is back for the Swans. When I decided earlier in the year to come up from Melbourne for this game it was potentially going to be Buddy’s 300th. However four weeks out with a dodgy hamstring put an end to that possibility. All the same given the significance of the Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous round it is great to have Buddy out there, hopefully doing what he does best and adorned in the Swans Indigenous guernsey.


Marn Grook is a celebration of the contribution of Indigenous players to our great game. In the Swans case none are more significant than Adam Goodes and Michael O’Loughlin, both having played in excess of 300 magnificent games for us and been part of our recent premiership teams. Their names will adorn the medal for the best on ground player tonight.  I’ll enjoy noting the contributions of all Indigenous players in matches this round, and rating the designs of the Indigenous guernseys, though most of all I’m hoping Buddy is fit enough to weave his magic. It’s been a joy to have him play for us ever since defecting from the Hawks.


I also need to acknowledge the magnificent contribution to the Swans of Heath “Reg” Grundy who retired this week. Recruited in 2004 from South Australia on to the Rookie list as a forward, he debuted in 2006 kicking three goals. Over the next few years he was in and out of the team a bit and tried both forward and back. He consolidated his spot down back, post the retirements of 2005 Premiership backmen Leo Barry and Craig Bolton. Initially he formed a strong partnership with Ted Richards taking the two best forwards of the opposition each week, often battling much bigger players.  He was part of the 2012 Premiership team.  More recently the partnership has been with Dane Rampe. It is interesting to note that both Richards and Rampe were selected in All Australian teams. I think they both owe a debt to Reg, who was unlucky not to join them. Resilient, dependable and rarely beaten. Thanks Reg for 256 magnificent games.


It’s been well documented that the Swans are in a transition phase. Last week’s team was the youngest in a quarter of a century, yet they managed to get over the line in a stirring win over the Kangaroos. The injection of Buddy and co-captain Joey Kennedy will bring much needed experience. I’ll be looking out for young forwards Blakey and McCartin to see if they can back up their promising performances of last week.


I’m sitting in the Ladies Stand tonight courtesy of some complimentary tickets acknowledging my 20 plus years of membership of this great club. I’ve actually been a member for 40 odd years of either South Melbourne or the Sydney Swans.  I’m with my Sydney friend Anne, who I first met 25 years ago in Africa. We have been friends ever since. As a casual Swans fan, Anne will balance my white line fever.


Our opponents Collingwood have been in good form with six wins on the trot, despite missing some key players. I think we can take it up to them though.  And the first quarter is good. It’s a fierce contest around the ball and Buddy marks his return with a typical raking goal from the 50 metre line on the run. Two goals to Sam Reid has us up at the break.


However the second stanza has me worried. The Pies take control. Brodie Grundy is outstanding in the ruck.  Their clean handling and distribution of the ball is a highlight, while their sweeping defenders mop up anything that gets over half way. With the ball trapped in their half the Pies fail to take full account of their opportunities though. Two goals to Reid and Papley against the flow has us still within touch at the main break. Ryan Clarke is doing a great job keeping a rein on the usually prolific Sidebottom.


Over half time the big screen shows Paul Kelly and Dan Sultan’s new song “Every Day My Mother’s Voice” from the documentary film “The Final Quarter” about the last few years of Goodesy’s footy career and his shameful treatment.  Let’s hope we can all learn something from seeing this film.


The arm wrestle continues in to the second half and we are back in the contest. Our three co-captains are prominent. Rampe is outstanding down back, consolidating a new partnership with Aliir and Melican.  Kennedy and Parker are driving the ball forward where Reid is having a blinder. Buddy snaps one and a smart banana kick from the right pocket is a gem from Reid. We have wrestled back control and when Reidy kicks his sixth goal we have taken the lead and go in to the final break 9 points up. However we have lost hard mid fielder George Hewett to concussion and Joey Kennedy looks proppy on the bench.


We push hard early in the last and despite some chances just can’t get that goal to extent the lead. It’s our turn to waste our opportunities. As you’d expect the Pies respond and a string of goals gives them the lead. We are hanging in and scrapping for everything, when young Blakey takes a fine pack mark and draws us back to within a goal.


The last few minutes are furious. The Pies scramble the ball forward for Mayne to take a low mark about 35 metres out. He sprays the shot wide, however it seems that Rampe has overstepped the mark resulting in 50 metres and an easy goal which effectively kills our challenge. It seems controversy has followed Rampe in recent times. Though he has been magnificent again. We go down by 7 points to one of the League powerhouses. And Buddy will be much better in coming weeks with a game under his belt.


At 3-7 we are not likely to make the finals. However, I could not be prouder of this team that is resilient and never gives in.  While a few of the young guns have been quiet tonight, I’ve never been more confident that we have a bright future in the years ahead.


Mickey O’Loughlin presents the Goodes-O’Loughlin Medal to Sam Reid for one of his finest games for the Swans. Though personally I favoured the Pies Grundy for his outstanding ruck performance.  And the Marn Grook Trophy goes to the Pies this time.


My votes: 3 Grundy (Coll) 2 Reid (Syd) 1 Greenwood (Coll)


SYDNEY                    3.1     5.1     10.2     11.7 (73)
COLLINGWOOD      1.4    5.10    7.12    11.14 (80)


Sydney: Reid 6, Franklin 2, Fox, Papley, Blakey
Collingwood: Wells 3, Brown 2, Mayne 2, Pendlebury, Stephenson, Mihocek, Reid


Sydney: Reid, Clarke, Lloyd, Rampe, Parker, Mills
Collingwood: Pendlebury, Grundy, Crisp, Treloar, Greenwood, Mayne


Sydney: George Hewett (head knock), Josh Kennedy (knee)
Collingwood: Daniel Wells (knee)


Reports: Nil


Umpires: Margetts, O’Gorman, Nicholls


Official crowd: 34,649 at the SCG


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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. Luke Reynolds says

    Great report Keiran. Games between our two teams are always closely fought and this proved no different.
    Your Reid was magnificent, ours very much not so!
    Plenty of positives for the Swans.

  2. george smith says

    Several things I learnt, wished for, whatever:

    Ours is not the majestic march to the finals of our rivals, We have to scrap for every win.

    I was at the game, but when I watched the replay I was pleasantly surprised. Everybody hates Brian and Basil but they gave a professional, football oriented commentary as opposed to the show about nothing when Bruce holds court. Time for channel 7 to send Bruce to the races – and leave him there…

    Hoping for a win to Adelaide to neutralise our biggest threat, West Coast. It was not to be. I will have to rely on Richmond, GWS and Brisbane to keep them out of the top 4.

    With half the defence missing, the Magpies relied on the amazing Jack Madgen to play on Reid. Result, another full forward played back into form…

    Having said that, Sam Reid was a most worthy winner of the medal for BOG. The ceremony was moving, and made up for the nasty end to the Anzac Day match.

    And of course there is the transport black hole after the game, trying to get home by bus or for even braver souls getting out of the car park. Made it home after midnight. Please AFL, move the Swans back to ANZ Stadium!

  3. Good one, Keiran. Plenty to like about our young cygnets. Sad about Joey going to be out for weeks, but more chances fro the new boys. Maybe Dan Menzel back this week? See you before the Geelong game. Cheer cheer

  4. One of the highlights to me was the assurance and balance of alir alir,. thought he might have made the best players

  5. Tom Bally says

    Nice write up Keiran. Best performance the Swans have put in all season and I’m confident its all starting to gel. Reid aside I’ll agree with Nank that Alir was BOG. We’re in desperate need of a ruckman, Sinclair has held up extremely well these last two years but we’re short in that dept.

    See you Saturday in Geelong.

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