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Round 11 – Gold Coast v Sydney: Life Balance – Family and Footy

Round 11: Gold Coast v Sydney Swans – Saturday 4th June at Metricon Stadium


I’m having that discombobulated feeling.  Normally nothing gets between me and the footy when the Swans are playing, whether I am at the ground, watching the TV at home, or in a club somewhere. Last week I headed north to see the big win against the Roos live. Tonight however, it’s my twin nephew’s 30th birthday party, so I’m nobbled. We have a section of the Commercial Club Hotel in Carlton devoted to friends and family, with food and drink provided. I am designated driver for my 93 year old Mum, so I am on my best behaviour.


After the normal greetings and catching up with family, I locate a TV screen in the corner behind the pool table where some trendy young things, not associated with our group are playing. No commentary is audible over the canned music in the pub. The predictions of meteorological Armageddon on the Gold Coast look to have been accurate with the Swans and Suns playing a game of football within a large swimming pool.  Apparently 100+ mills of rain have fallen over the last 24 hours and it’s still teeming down as the game proceeds. This will be a slug fest.  The Suns kick with the tide. The Suns start well and get a few goals up. It’s somewhat concerning. This could be one of those games where we are supposed to win easily, but just can’t get going.


Of the twins, James is in my Will as he is a dedicated Swans supporter.  However, for some inexplicable reason Mat follows the Demons.  Their older brother Nick, even more inexplicably follows the Magpies. I learn that I will become a great uncle soon, as Nick and his wife Sam are expecting.  It seems that it’s up to James to carry our Swans fandom in to a fifth generation.


I’m trying my best to mingle and am having some engaging conversations though in some cases I am feigning interest while one eye follows the footy. I snatch snippets of play in the second quarter and am heartened by the Swans improved attack on the ball, but more importantly our skill level. That slippery piece of soap that is passing for a football is cleanly handled by the likes of Heeney, Rohan and Rose, who has come in as a late replacement for young Callum Mills, rested for the game.


Of course our high class players shine.  These conditions usually highlight skills rather than dull them.  Dan Hannebery is continuing his outstanding form. He has a beautiful mix of hardness, skill and determination. Five goals in 15 minutes – the best is Luke Parker’s brilliant banana dribble goal from deep in the left pocket – open up the game for us. We are 13 points in front at the main break.


Nick and James are both school teachers, so we chat about the new documentary on ABC called Restoration School. Nick works in a Catholic school in a multicultural area and has some interesting anecdotes on conversations with migrant students and attitudes to religious tolerance. We agree that this is a difficult topic and return to following the footy, much easier for this retired public servant.


In between occasional visits to the bar and the ritual cutting of the cake I see scraps of play in the second half. What I can deduce is that we have taken control. Our defence is again organised and assured. Grundy, Rampe and Laidler work hard to take front position and throw up a shield when the Suns do move forward. Kurt Tippett is making everyone who ever doubted his ability and value to the team eat humble pie.  He has transformed himself into a tireless ruckman who also gets plenty of the ball around the ground.


Tom Mitchell has another excellent game in and under the packs and tagging the mercurial Gary Ablett.  I think he now forms part of the big five with Hannas, Joey, Parks and Kizza.  All have played well. The next rung down have been pretty good as well. Jake Lloyd continues to impress and I think this is one the best games I have seen Gary Rohan produce, with excellent ball handling matching his speed and pressure.


I get Mum home just in time to see the last few minutes of the game. A solid win by 38 points is commendable in the atrocious conditions.  The next day we follow up with attendance at a friend’s 60th birthday lunch at the Caravan Music Club in Oakleigh.  Way beyond my expectations, Mum stays on for the music with an acoustic and electric set from Mike Rudd and Spectrum.  I reckon this is probably her first rock concert ever! She might just be best on ground this weekend.


My votes: 3 Hannebery, 2 Mitchell, 1 Tippett.


GOLD COAST  3.2   4.5     5.5      6.5   (41)                  

SYDNEY           1.3   6.6    8.13  11.13   (79)          



Gold Coast: Sexton, Davis, Lonergan, Lynch, Rosa, Matera

Sydney: Rohan 2, Parker 2, Sinclair, Lloyd, Franklin, Rose, Mitchell, Jack, Heeney



Gold Coast: Rosa, Miller, Ablett, Harbrow, Ah Chee, Prestia

Sydney:  Tippett, Hannebery, Mitchell, Rohan, Kennedy, Rampe



Gold Coast: Lonergan (knee)

Sydney: Mills (managed) replaced in selected side by Rose, Hewett (concussion)


Reports: Tom Lynch (GC) reported for striking Jeremy Laidler (Syd) in the fourth quarter


Umpires: Rosebury, O’Gorman, Wallace


Official crowd: 4368 at Metricon 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. jan courtin says

    Probably just as well you weren’t at the game Keiran. In a pub environment, especially with the the sound turned down, I find it impossible to actually concentrate and follow the game, but on tele in a quite place – especially for this game – I’m sure you could actually see more of the play than being there. It was impossible to see the players at times, from the opposite side of the ground, even though I’m glad I went.

    Let’s hope the so-called Derby (it’ll take a generation to have any real meaning in Sydney) is a one-sided affair!
    Cheer Cheer

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