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Round 11 – Geelong v Sydney: Keeping up with the Kardinians


For what must be centuries now, an impenetrable empire has thrived at the mouth of the Barwon, in the depths of Sleepy Hollow. Many a tribe has attempted to breach these walls, and many a tribe has failed. However, this week, a band of brothers have rallied for the cause. This band of Blood brothers are heading south with one thing on their minds – conquering Kardinia Park.


Recollection of recent encounters conjures nostalgia. We’ve enjoyed success like no other visitor as we’ve emerged victorious on the previous three occasions. The Enemy are most certainly aware of this and will be waiting. For the first time, I’ll be joining the quest in support of our boys. Road trip to Geelong it is.


I’ve ventured to the region once before on the type of journey one embarks upon prior to reciting nuptial vows. Memories, while naturally a little hazy, are of generously spirited locals. As the Torquay Hotel inexplicably transformed from Friday-night-pub-bistro to some type of heaving anarchistic hip-hop spectacular, ‘Shafty’ – an elderly regular – reassured us that this was in fact business as usual (as was his insatiable thirst for the local lager). The members at the Anglesea Golf Club refrained from justifiable violence as our ‘twelve-some’ teed off and sauntered around nine holes, clearly feeling the after effects – patience personified.


Yes, charity and propriety are traits often referred to when this opposition’s clan are mentioned. There’s always an exception however and my parochial Cat father-in-law emerged early on game-day as just that. Seriously, what kind of man feigns ignorance of ordering, just so that he can abduct another man’s breakfast? Then, to make matters worse, bundle the visiting supporter in to the boot of a hired-people-mover among the luggage for the entirety of the Princes Freeway? Hospitable? Hardly. The dirty tactics had begun.


Perhaps we have worn out our welcome in these parts. Previous successes here will no doubt have a lingering effect. They will also provide our youthful team with a sense of confidence that this battle can indeed be won. Florent, Hayward, Heeney, Mills, Papley, Hewett and Fox all experienced the spoils of victory here last season and now have a clutch of other, younger cygnets in tow. It’s another tough assignment for this crew, but one that should solidify a burgeoning steely resolve.


A pleasant local establishment has been selected as the pre-game venue for a long-awaited gathering of the Footy Almanac ‘From the Outer’ team – a splash of red and white deep in enemy territory. We all agree about the magnitude of the task facing our boys this time around. We also agree that crumbed lamb cutlets is the the new parmigiana and should be instantly re-instated to every pub menu around the country. A fine congregation as always, and we part ways as we reach enemy lines.


Inside, I’m reacquainted with my own beautiful brood and today marks our three-month-old cygnet George’s first day at the footy. With Ollie and George ready with me in the stands, their namesakes ready in the middle, hostilities commence. We appear energised in the early stages and we’re playing with zip. At the forefront are our cygnets. Papley and Heeney kick our opening two goals. We should’ve kicked another couple. Blakey and Hayward combine for another, in a sublimely skilled scene that has this writer dreaming of a tantalising future.


But despite our dominance, the Enemy fight back. I knew they would – I’ve never really trusted cats to play along. After all, they’re passive-aggressive, emotionally unavailable, and known for their chilly independence – all traits that their football team have displayed rather advantageously throughout this year.


The environment itself is more in-line with my pre-conceptions than my father-in-law’s underhandedness. His fellow supporters are accommodating and pleasantly uninterested in much that my team are doing. They’re cautiously examining their own as we crawl our way back to level-pegging at the main break.


The commencement of the second half sees an unwelcome burst of home-team goals as we appear to have our minds elsewhere. Perhaps it is the enticing aroma of the freshly cooked flathead in the outer. Perhaps it is the fact that our Sydneysiders are feeling as frosty as the response I gave when my exquisitely cultivated hash browns had been mercilessly devoured by an opposition fan earlier on. Perhaps it is just the simple fact that we are currently are a very young and inexperienced football side.


Our attempts to get ourselves back into the contest are thwarted by our inaccuracy in front of the big sticks. However, the endeavour and tenacity is plain for all to see. George Hewett and Ollie Florent are flourishing in their increased midfield responsibilities and both are proving able support for Parker in among the packs. Our loveable rogue, Rampe is in some serious form at the moment and his combination with Aliir is growing by the week. Callum Mills is nearing his very best form and Jordan Dawson is showing maturity well beyond his fifteen games of AFL experience. Nick Blakey could actually be anything.


The hosts have been a touch too good tonight on their home patch. The locals are happy, and strangely enough so am I. I’ve seen nothing tonight that would suggest anything other than progress and my heightened optimism for our future is enhanced. These boys are working hard for each other and playing the game as it should be played.


Watching our current team is a little like raising your own children – you’re pretty sure that they’re headed down the right path and there are stages along the way that you may not love, but need to endure. You need to embrace the grind, because when you’re out the other side of it all, it will be glorious.


I leave Geelong feeling relaxed, yet invigorated. A wonderful weekend was had, our cygnets are tracking nicely and some of our seniors will be better for the run. Our team continues to evolve, but one thing will always stay the same. I’ll never trust cats.


[First published on ‘From the Outer’ at the Sydney Swans website.



GEELONG   5.1   7.2   11.4   13.7 (85)
SYDNEY     3.3   5.8   6.12   8.15 (63)


Geelong: Hawkins 4, Ratugolea 2, Dangerfield 2, Kelly, Clark, Duncan, Dahlhaus, Miers,
Sydney: Haywood 2, Franklin, Papley, Heeney, Reid, Blakey, Menzel


Kelly, Dangerfield, Stewart, Duncan, Hawkins
Parker, Lloyd, Hewett, Dawson, Heeney


Geelong: Rhys Stanley (adductor) replaced in selected side by Zac Smith
Sydney: Nil


Reports: Nil
Umpires: Donlon, Hosking, Harris
Official crowd: 29,021 at GMHBA Stadium



Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


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About Joe Moore

Learned the art of the drop-punt from Derek Kickett as Jamie Lawson watched on. And thus, a Swan for life. @joedmoore1979


  1. Nice one, Joe. I like the analogy: children and the team! Lovely to finally meet you.
    Cheer cheer

  2. Joe Moore says

    Thank you, Jan. I have to credit my wife for that analogy! Lovely to finally meet you and Marshall too. I had a great time in Geelong and our lunch was a big part of that. Must do it again.

  3. Keiran Croker says

    I concur re the crumbed cutlets Joe … simply superb!

    And our boys put in a brave performance. I’ll be happy to see us continue to play that way while integrating young with experienced players. I reckon we will win a few between now and the end of year. And wherever we finish we will get the best kid available at that spot. As long as we give it a crack I’ll be happy.

    Go Bloods!

  4. Joe Moore says

    I could do with another serving right now Keiran! I agree, can’t fault them while learning on the job and giving teams like the Cats and Pies a shake. Serious potential among these kids. This is going to be fun.

  5. Ross Treverton says

    Great reading Joe. One of my earliest memories is going to Geelong in 1975 for one of our only 2 wins for the year – both against the Cats. It was a road trip from Melbourne that was weeks in the making! Finals bound for the first time in 25 years after the win in 1970 – courtesy of the ‘apple on your boot’ incident with Doug Wade, John Roberts kicking a goal after the siren to win down there in 1980(?). Kizza’s emotion charged 200th, Joey’s final quarter heroics last year. One way or another, it’s been a happy hunting ground for our boys – even last week obviously had plenty of positives! And of course you met our Jan! Cheer, cheer…

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