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Round 12 – Sydney v Western Bulldogs: A Renaissance of the Swans


Both the Dogs and the Swans had taken advantage of the extra non-footy time to recuperate over the bye. Both had a history of not playing well after the bye but, one of them had to succeed this time. The Dogs neither wanted or needed the break at that particular stage of the season for they had only just got back into a rhythm. The Swans also had the late start to their season so weren’t exhausted – just tired of losing. Their previous outing at the SCG had seen Buddy in fine form, and despite going down to Hawthorn in a very physical game, they had shown definite signs of improvement. After a very inconsistent first half of the year the Dogs had put together their best game against St Kilda last week. So coming in, both teams had form and were improving. On their home turf, despite ladder positions, the Swans were favourites.


It had been pouring rain for almost a week in Sydney so I knew that could unfortunately keep fans away. On the Wednesday night, Bulldogs supporters in Sydney were invited to meet some of the coaches and have a photo taken holding the 2016 Premiership Cup at a function at the Paddington RSL. Wednesday night was subsequently a good night. The rain kept people away, but nevertheless, those who attended had a further chance to soak up the yesteryear glory.


However, there was no glory on Thursday night. As far as the Swans were concerned, it was all about revenge and respect. They had failed on the day that mattered, and failed in Round 2. Nothing could deliver them that Premiership Cup now, but from the outset it was obvious they had come to play.


They immediately tried to rough up Johannisen and succeeded. He played a shocker. The Bont played a shocker. Stringer had a couple of moments but for most of the night was unsighted. Apart from the mid-fielders Dahlhaus, Macrae, Daniel, Wallis and Hunter, the Dogs put in their worst performance of the year. At about the ten minute mark I thought the Dogs had recovered well after the Swans’ initial onslaught, but ten minutes later that recovery was over when Franklin goaled. Buddy was missing shots but when he nailed one on the siren at half time I knew we were gone. In fact, I thought we were partly gone at the Selection Table. To bring in Travis Cloke and retain Tim English on a wet turf seemed folly to me. I thought big men would struggle in the wet. Ours did, but not the Swans’ big men, key forwards Buddy and Reid. Why were they able to hold every mark? I had expected the wet in and under conditions to suit Libratore but he apparently hadn’t earned back his guernsey.


Despite all of the rain, the game was played on a rainless night under a full moon. It was a shame the crowd stayed away, as they missed the renaissances of the Swans. They were quite brilliant and reminded me why I like going to the SCG to see them play (except against the Bulldogs). Isaac Heeney was terrific, as were Hannebery and Kennedy.


The odds are still long for the Swans to make the finals, but they will certainly cause some headaches for rivals for the rest of the season.


I have to give them a big ‘woof’ for a game well played.


Sydney Swans                   2.2         5.8         9.14       12.16. 88

Western Bulldogs             1.2         2.3         6.3.        6. 6. 42



Sydney Swans: Franklin 3, Reid 2, Papley 2, Hannebery, Kennedy, Parker, Hewett, Lloyd

Western Bulldogs: McLean, Daniel, Stringer, Dickson, Wood, Dahlhaus


Sydney Swans: Heeney, Kennedy, Hannebery, Franklin, Papley, Reid

Western Bulldogs: Hunter, Dahlhaus, Macrae, Daniel, Wallis, Jong

Our Votes: Heeney (3), Kennedy (2), Hunter (1)

Attendance at SCG: 20,692

Umpires: Nicholls, Hay, Findlay, McInerney

About Les Currie

I'm a passionate lifelong Bulldog supporter born and raised in Melbourne, After stints in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne I have now been in Sydney for the last 30 years. I have been involved in the arts all my life predominantly as a Theatre Producer and Manager with early stints in film and television. I am now getting back into writing and enjoying developing the character of Zuka the Flying Wonder Dog and working on a novel set in post '54 Footscray. When not working, writing, watching plays or movies or watching footy I'm at the beach or in the bush avoiding traffic.

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