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Round 10 – Sydney v North Melbourne: Ed and Education at the SCG

The ball spills out to half forward at the Paddington End just in front of where I am sitting in the Terrace level of the SCC Members. Gary Rohan swoops on it, feigns to kick across his body, sells some candy to the oncoming Roos defenders cuts inside then spears home a goal that gives the Swans a decisive break late in the third quarter. “Nice play” comments Bill, one of our North American guests.


I’ve been coming to the SCG for one or two games a year since 1995. Over the last ten plus years, a mate Gary, a.k.a. “Bullbar” has regularly been getting me a guest pass in to the Members Reserve. Bullbar is an entertaining and generous host and always has other interesting guests. Tonight his mate Nick, a lawyer who I’ve met at the footy a few times, has a half dozen USA students attending. Nick and Bill’s wife Vangie are teaching comparative refugee law (i.e. USA law compared to Australian law) to their guest students. Nick has decided that a visit to the footy is essential for the foreign students’ education. He has prepped them well showing highlights of Buddy in this afternoon’s class.


Bullbar is a mate of my friend Gary (a.k.a. “GOD”) since their days at Riverina College, Wagga in the early 80’s and playing together for the RivCol Bush Pigs. Bullbar has morphed from an educator about 20 years ago into an intelligence and security bureaucrat. He can talk under water and seems to have an amazing network of friends and associates. I’m not sure what he does, though he can’t be a spy as too many people know him.


The game starts with the Swans kicking to our end. I am lower down in the Stand than I usually like which makes it hard to follow play beyond the centre to the far end. However, after a tense start the Swans gain control with the midfield dominant and the attack firing, so most of the play is at our end. What you lose in perspective is compensated by the atmosphere of being closer to the play. I am keeping one ear open to the explanations of how our game works, its rules and scoring system while following the Swans brilliant start. Vangie asks me if there are any positions, as all the players seem to follow the ball. I explain that we used to have them, though now we have learnt from basketball and play offensive and defensive zones and patterns with limited positional play. The female students have not taken long to work out that Buddy and Issac Heeney are star attractions. They have contributed multiple goals to have us 23 points up at the first break.


Goals to North either side of the break have them back in the game. Even though the Swans steady with goals to the skipper McVeigh and the brilliant Hannebury, the Roos are winning the contested ball. For the last part of the quarter the ball is trapped at our end again and North get reward with three in a row, the last a brilliant running snap roved by the big man Todd Goldstein in the pocket just in front of me. He is an amazing player! We go in with our lead reduced to 9 points with the Roos seemingly in control.


The final member of our extended group tonight is Mic Conway the legendary entertainer of Captain Matchbox fame. Those of you of my vintage will know of Mic, and his brother Jim who played with blues group the Backsliders for many years. I’ve been at the footy with Mic a few times. He has an interesting story. He moved in to the South Melbourne area in the 70’s and made the strategic decision to follow the Swans, although he had previously been a Saints man. He subsequently moved to Sydney coincidently the same year the Swans moved north. The dye had been cast.


Bullbar, Mic and I wander over to the Ladies Stand in the long break to catch up with Rod “Rocket” Gillett another RiverCol Bushpig. Rocket has been the Almanac’s correspondent in the Middle East and then Vietnam in recent times. In both locales Rocket was heavily involved in the local Aussie Rules leagues, as he was for many years in NSW footy and the Swans. Just as we are catching up, a voice booms “Hey, are they still letting you in here Rocket”. “G’day Ed” responds Rocket. Introductions all around, it’s Ed Considine, former Swans defender from the mid-nineties. Seems Bullbar and Rocket went to RivCol with his cousins, who are also nearby. Ed goes to get them. Mic observes that the players are back on the ground and suggests we head back. Good suggestion I observe as the two of us make our way. It will be the last we see of Bullbar and Rocket tonight.


Back in our seats, the game has recommenced and the students are missing. Apparently they have headed to the merchandise store to get their Swans gear. Our expansion continues! It’s still tight though early goals to Cunningham and McGlynn give us a bit of a break. Tommy Mitchell is getting leather poisoning and is ably supported by the usual crew of Joey, Hannas, Kizza and Parks, while Tippett is battling manfully in the ruck to give us access to the ball. We hold ground and then Gazza’s classy goal has us 26 points up at the last break. I think we have done enough.


North keeps pushing into the last stanza, though miss some vital opportunities. The contest is killed off when mid quarter Zak Jones snaps a brilliant banana goal on the run, then Buddy is hit lace out by Mitchell and converts. We finish with a strong 26 point win over the previously undefeated Roos. Tom Mitchell deservedly wins the inaugural Goodes-O’Loughlin Medal for best on ground in the Marn Grook Round. And our sometimes maligned defence led by Reg Grundy has totally blocked out North’s much hyped forwards.


It’s been another enjoyable visit to the SCG; one of the nicest grounds to watch footy (or cricket) – thanks Bullbar. And I have assisted in the education of our North American friends to help spread the word on the greatest game in the world and the Swans.


My votes: 3 Mitchell, 2 Hannebury, 1 Kennedy


SYDNEY SWANS                       6.1       8.2       12.3     14.7     (91)
NORTH MELBOURNE              2.2       6.5       7.7       9.11     (65)


Sydney Swans: Franklin 3, McVeigh 2, Kennedy, Hewett, Heeney, Hannebery, Cunningham, McGlynn, Mitchell, Rohan, Jones
North Melbourne: Thomas 3, Brown, Dumont, Goldstein, Macmillan, Nahas, Wells


Sydney Swans: Mitchell, Hannebery, Kennedy, McVeigh, Grundy, Lloyd, Tippett
North Melbourne: Cunnington, Ziebell, Thomas, Gibson, Macmillan


Sydney Swans: Nil North Melbourne: Nil


Reports: Nil
Umpires: Harris, Ryan, Jeffery
Official crowd: 38,498 at the SCG

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. jan courtin says

    Yes it is a great ground for footy and cricket Keiran. Glad you enjoyed your time in Sydney and especially the win! And, keep spreading the Swans love.
    Cheer Cheer

  2. craig dodson says


    As a wagga boy i am very familiar with rivcol..sounds like you had a good gang to watch the game with.

    Im heading up for the bulldogs game which will be my first visit to the scg since 2001. Very excited.


  3. Joe Moore says

    Great recruitment effort Keiran!

    And a great win to enjoy live at the glorious SCG.

  4. Dr Rocket says

    Great to catch up Kieran!

    You’re right about not getting out of of the bar after half-time….
    in the company of Eddie Considine and his cousins, the Roddy bros from Tumut.
    They own 10 pubs between them, including the Union Club in Wagga.

    Another good win by the Swans.
    Cheer, cheer.

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