To visit the Sydney Swans website click the logo below.

Round 14 – Sydney v Port Adelaide: The art of football

The Art of Football


“A subversive adult Disneyland”


For me, that’s the SCG, but for the good folk at Lonely Planet, this is how they describe the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart. The brainchild of philanthropist owner, David Walsh, it is sexy, disturbing, and deeply engaging. Much like an evening with the Swans! I am faced with a rare day off and left to my own devices and decide to take in the MONA experience as preparation for the big game.


While crossing the Tasman Bridge, I consider the immensely positive impact that Mr. Walsh has had on our community. Now a prime tourist destination at any time of the year, MONA is the major contributor to Hobart’s burgeoning reputation. Our city is renowned for our food and beverage excellence, cultural and artistic opportunities and boutique accommodation. MONA has it all: World-class gallery, winery, brewery, restaurant, café, music concerts and uber-swish accommodation.


The experience begins with a visit to the Brooke St. Pier, nestled on the waterfront, beneath the imposing and enchantedly snow-laden Mount Wellington. Here, I jump on the MR-1 MONA Roma Ferry. It is a typically brisk winter’s day, and I am grateful for my new coat. The beanie stayed at home. Mistake, perhaps? Cruising through the Derwent River towards Berriedale, provides time to consider the Swannies’ chances tonight. Last week’s second–half performance had stunned. When I arrive, get my free-entry ticket (locals only!) and view Wim Delvoye’s Cloaca Machine, I am reminded of this most unusual display.


The artworks on display provoke thought and conversation, much like our most publicised prize pairing. Buddy and Tippo are in exile tonight, but like the Italian painter Caravaggio, they are famed and revered, carrying with them the ongoing dramas that come with stardom, meaning they are ever present. All pre-game analysis has surrounded our masters, even though they will not be on the field.


This is an ideal place to mosey and mull. Equipped with heaphones provided for my self-tour, I listen intently to the artists’ interviews and descriptions of their work. Blissful. My favourite piece is Erwin Wurm’s Fat Car. A Porsche, which has been “plumped up” with styrofoam and fiberglass, transforming the iconic sportsy model into a version that probes the link between power, wealth and body weight. A common conundrum among many football executive types I’m sure. However, our Swannies are looking fit, healthy and powerful as they grace the famous turf.


Parksy has lined up at full-forward, reminding me of the distorted mirrored entrance to MONA, and highlighting the fact that the size of an object is not always as it may seem. He looks dangerous from the get-go. I’m enjoying Horse’s innovation tonight. With absence posing a problem, he has cultivated myriad alternatives through the forward line. Parksy, Gaz, Reidy and Goodesy are all proving to be considered strokes of the brush. John Longmire’s Art of Coaching may soon feature in a gallery near you. We trade in goal-for-goal with the Power for the entire first quarter, and tonight’s opposition are also provoking thought. However, great art flourishes from a level of frustration.


The most prominent piece in the MONA collection – if only because of its size – is Sidney Nolan’s extraordinary 1620-frame work Snake. I felt I could stand in front, and in awe of it for hours. Perhaps the most prominent piece of the Sydney Swans twenty-two tonight, for both his size and his debut, is the young Tasmanian ruckman, Toby Nankervis. In the second quarter, he kicks his first goal for the Sydney Swans, and his teammates swarm. While not quite the 45-metre giant that Snake is, Nanka is quite the beast. Impressive.


Early in the third term, the Power extinguish our lead. Our fearless fullback is slung to the turf and appears to be dreaming of drinking absinth with Toulouse Lautrec in the Moulin Rouge. While in reality, he is sitting in the sheds of the Sydney Cricket Ground. Gone for the day, as is Gaz, we are a man down, a point down and in need of some much needed leadership. And like the creators of MONA leading a cultural renaissance in our fair city, Hanners proves like Leonardo, to be a fine renaissance man. He is the tactician, the thinker and the inventor in our much-vaunted midfield.


The renaissance man needs some help however, and the great man, A. Goodes delivers once again. Goodesy possesses all the eternal beauty of a Paddy Bedford painting: Ethereal, honest and humble, just knowing what this caper is all about. Joey Kennedy, robust and strong, chiseled out of marble, is an idealised form like Michelangelo’s David. Combative in the clinches, he is performing to a level not many can. At the back, Ramps, like Mondrian the traveller, the toiler slugging away selling flower paintings to survive whilst creating his ideal work waiting in the wings, is waiting for that recognition. The time for recognition has come.


By three-quarter time we hold a four-goal lead. A momentum swing of mammoth proportions created through good old-fashioned hard work. The Power hit back with a couple, but Jets and Harry seal the deal. This is a win for the ages. A masterpiece. This team has made playing with raw passion, determination and selflessness into an art form. And, on a night when leadership was of utmost importance, it was our Captain, K. Jack, standing triumphantly at the end of the contest, like Caravaggio’s giant-hearted little terrier David, celebrating a tough and hard-fought victory holding the head of his conquered nemesis Goliath.


Jan Fabre, the Belgian multidisciplinary artist, believes that an artist fulfills a very important job in society: he is the consciousness of his time. I agree. A day spent at such an incredible museum deserved some sort of tangible, visual imagery, which like art, can transcend explanation. My football team, victorious in vibrant red and white, will do me just nicely.



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. jan courtin says

    Nice one Joe. Interesting place MONA. Tending toward claustrophobia didn’t help descending in the lift mind you, and one floor was closed when we were last there, but certainly an experience. Loved the car park area sign on two of the reserved spaces. Can’t remember the exact wording but along the lines of: Reserved for God and Reserved for God’s partner.
    Interesting also that two Swannie people referred to Art this time round.
    Good win too!

  2. Joe Moore says

    Thanks Jan. Very good win!

    How funny. I just saw your piece too. Great minds think alike hey! Your gallery must’ve been a fascinating place to own. My brother Tully is an artist in Melbourne so I’m aware of the drama that can occur within an Art space!

    Terrific place, MONA. Done wonders for the state. I should really go more often.

  3. Charlie Dillow says

    Good work mate like it and go Sydney!!!

  4. Joe Moore says

    Thanks Charlie. Cheer, cheer!

Leave a Comment