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Round 12 – Greater Western Sydney v Sydney: Little brother lands one to the ribs

Brothers fight. It is in their DNA. Mostly harmless, sometimes entertaining, occasionally tear inducing, but not always an even contest in the early days. It is a tough gig for the youngest, who has to match up against a bigger, stronger and more experienced opponent. My two young scallywags Jack (4 years) and Harry (2 years) battle it out from dawn to dusk most days. Today the match review panel would have handed out $28,646 in wrestling fines by lunch time and I’d say young Harry would have got six weeks for his intentional hit with a dustpan to Jacks’ bottom. When Harry pushes the envelope and tries to pinch Jack’s Buddy Franklin plush toy a line in the sand is drawn and big brother flexes his 18kg of muscle. As Harry grows he becomes cheekier by the day and is starting to win the odd battle. The Giants have started to win some battles of late but I’m hoping it is big brother who comes out on top today.


Whoever came up with the 4.40pm time-slot obviously didn’t have kids. Not even Superman could feed, bath, entertain, pacify and then put two little tackers to bed while trying to maintain focus and work out if the Swans are employing a loose man at the stoppage. As chaos abounds in the Dodson lounge room, I settle into the couch waiting for the action to start, as the last rays of sunshine on a crisp Melbourne winter’s day slowly retreat.


It still seems weird to see Mummy in orange. He was one of my favourites. One of the few remaining players in the game with a genuine physical presence. Big Kurt has made the ruck position his own this year and has been in great form. This will be a great battle within a battle. Mummy with a point to prove and Kurt keen to show that he has more than covered the void. The two 110kg bulls charge at each other for first touch of the Sherrin and we are underway.


The Giants hold their ground early and start to make some inroads with their pace and spread. We look a little sluggish and struggle to find a forward target. Tippett takes a few solid grabs and Rohan goals to keep us in the contest at the break.


Mrs D and the kids disappear outside for some footy kicking and knee scrapping. Is it just me or why does the umpire signal to all and sundry that he is going to run backwards after bouncing the ball? Seriously, what are his other options? Run forward and pick up a man? Sprint 130 metres, jump the fence and buy a hotdog? We know you are going backwards – no need for the OHS safety briefing please.


Phil Davis is doing a superb job on Buddy and the Giants are grabbing the ascendancy. We seem to have left our early season momentum somewhere on Parramatta Road. Somehow Sinclair finds himself with 30 meters of free space, the Giants don’t descend on him, almost daring him to take a shot, bugger you he says and calmly slots it over the goal umpires hat. A win for us lanky ruckman all over the country. Stevie J marks and goals late as the Giants head to the sheds two goals up. Bad news as Tippett heads to the sheds with ice on the knee.


As the players break for Gatorade and bananas, the Dodson family tucks into Mrs D’s scrumptious chicken pie. It doesn’t get the heart foundation tick, but gee it tastes good. I’ve got one eye on the clock as I shovel it into young Harry’s tummy with gusto. Evidently my cracking pace is too much for Harry as he pauses, turns pale and looks at me with exasperated eyes as he vomits the contents of the chicken pie, and judging by the volume, quite possibly Wednesday morning’s Coco Pops, all over the table. I’d say that is parenting mistake number 27 for the day for poor old Dad. I’m still in clean up mode and avoiding Mrs D’s glances, as the third quarter gets underway.


The Giants come out of the sheds with intent and start cutting us up all over the ground. Reg Grundy is valiantly holding the fort, yet the momentum is all in orange. Twenty points quickly becomes thirty points, which quickly becomes forty points. We are making more mistakes than I did in my HSC Maths exam. Toby Greene is dangerous up forward and Heath Shaw is providing drive and experience off half-back. The packed house is starting to make some noise.


The Swans never take a white towel to games though and manage to stem the tide with three late quarter goals. Buddy reintroduces himself to the Sherrin and Rose converts from 50 to get us back in the game. I start to believe.


I’m down on all fours changing a nappy, hoping for a Swans revival and that Harry doesn’t try and extract some revenge for my earlier mistake at the dinner table. We need an early goal, but it is not forthcoming. The Giants are dominating and relishing the opportunity to land a few blows on big brother. The ball use is clean and they are well drilled. The Giants obvious talent across the field is clicking, while we look a little battle weary and in need of a long weekend.


Rampe rises above that ridiculous moustache he is currently sporting to take a screamer. He is brave and attacking all day, one of only a handful of Swans not to have his colours lowered today.


The ability of the Giants to expose us with pace over the ground is a concern. There appears to be plenty of chirp from little brother as the Giants pile on the goals late in the game. We have no answer today, so just have to wear it, and lodge a few things in the memory bank for September should our paths cross again.


The Swans and Giants are brothers in arms trying to spread the gospel of AFL in New South Wales. A relationship and healthy rivalry is building. There is respect, yet a dogged determination not to give ground to the other. For the last few years it has been big brother who has been able to hold sway and set the terms. Today little brother stood proudly on his own two feet and landed a blow. The Swannies will dust themselves off, put a band aid or two on the scrapped knees and be ready to square off again when the stakes are higher. Big brothers don’t like playing second fiddle my friend.

About craig dodson

Born in the sporting mecca that is Wagga Wagga and now reside in Melbourne with my lovelly wife Sophie and son's Jack and Harry. Passionate Swans supporter and formally played cricket at a decent level and Aussie Rules at a not so decent level! Spend my days now perfecting my slice on the golf course and the owner of the worlds worst second serve on the tennis course.


  1. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    Said with experience, Craig.
    And hope.
    I’m with you.

  2. jan courtin says

    I’m sure the big brother will have learned the lesson after this one. Being the eldest of seven I remember how it felt holding sway and setting the terms. I also remember the little ones standing proudly on their own two feet and landing a blow. And, yes, big brothers don’t like playing second fiddle!

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