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Round 16 – Geelong v Sydney: The Brotherhood

The Gary Ablett Terrace was my friend in 2011. That concrete edged gravel zone down at The Cattery has a reputation as a hostile place, but that day its local inhabitants failed to fire a post-game shot, after the 30-game winning streak of the Cats came to an end at the hands of my Bloods. Jarryd McVeigh’s family circumstances had galvanized the boys. As a loyal red and white presence in a sea of cat litter, I too was part of the Swans “brotherhood”. Four annual visits since had failed to repeat that success.


The hurdles to away-team supporter attendance at Kardinia Park just keep getting higher. Whilst inconvenient, this pilgrim’s journey to witness that most unlikely of victories in 2011 wweeks still achievable at the 11th hour. The Gary Ablett Terrace was then the last bastion of old-style footy spontaneity. Fast forward five years and my game of Ticketmaster roulette had me stymied, nearly three weeks in advance of the match. Notwithstanding this, and even after the contemplation of a two hour journey each way, “freeway” tolls and a single digit temperature, the trip down the highway remained seductive. However, the local improbability of securing adjoining seats post-Ticketmaster failure proved a mental bridge too far. The Kardinia Park 2016 variant had beaten me.


Footy brotherhood/sisterhood – a notion enhanced by proximity but not completely eliminated by distance. A familial compulsion that leads to footy tipping anguish when form says they can’t win, but you take them anyway. A feeling of shared burden when one of your own is struggling. That euphoric post-game moment in enemy territory, when player and spectator are linked by line of sight and reciprocal applause as the victorious team laps up the emotional spoils of a great victory with its fans. On this mid-Winter Friday night my tribal brotherhood instinct – intact despite distance– is yearning for full expression.


The Bloods are clearly on from the start. Team brain-fades this year have cost us eight valuable points on last kick losses, the latest of these being against the Dogs just six days ago. Along with Kieran’s domestic challenges, this loss no doubt sits prominently in players minds. Despite the team looking B-list with a number of inclusions from below, it seems as though last week’s SCG debacle is a motivating force. A bright start and we are four goals to the good, prior to the inevitable Geelong comeback. By the middle of the second stanza they are all over us.


Sometimes however, even from afar, when part of the brotherhood you can feel the mood of the team, the pulse. This time, the instinct was of steel in the spine of those red and white warriors. A defence standing firm, mid-field “Danger” quelled and a functional forward line not solely dependent upon the Coleman medal favourite. The new key defender with a name befitting a Melbourne Cup runner – Allir Allir – had found his confidence and all of a sudden the post Reg-and-Ted defensive outlook is looking brighter. Sam Naismith is the tallest man in history to don a Swans guernsey and is holding his own in the brave new post-Kurt world. Lloydy is providing Jetta-esque run, Tom Papley’s livewire presence has been sorely missed and Gary Rohan and Dean Towers are at their best in the presence of families in their old stomping ground.


The prolific mid-field output of Kennedy, Parker, Hanners, Mitch and Kieren is something that Swans fans have grown to take for granted. As ever, this engine room is providing great supply. “Porno” Rampe continues to astound, with his capacity to stop opponents large and small and re-bound us into attack. Cats forwards Menzel and Hawkins have been rendered impotent through lack of supply. From half way through the premiership quarter the red and white ship had been righted and is sailing forward under full steam. Game over – the margin is all that remains to be decided.


Gloriously victorious post-match, Kizza’s tribulations are behind him as he is chaired by teammates and cheered by a handful of nearby Swans diehards, who having been “Ticketmastered” into seats on a forgotten flank are all of a sudden in brotherhood Position A! Line of sight linkage of red and white souls, on both sides of the fence. Raw, shared passion. In an age of stage-managed interactions, this is a rare, authentic experience. Nothing binds a tribe like triumph on the toughest road-trip of all.


Six days ago, thoughts of the first week of October were fanciful. Now the flame is alight again, fuelled by the power of brotherhood.



Sydney 15.8.98 def Geelong 9.6.60


Our Votes:


3. D.Rampe (Sydney Swans).
2. K.Jack (Sydney Swans).
1. P.Dangerfield (Geelong Cats).

About chris bracher

Known to stare longingly down Clarendon St still wondering how his red and white heroes ever left him, Chris Bracher's pining for his relocated team has been somewhat appeased by recent Bloods glory....but the pain never truly goes away!


  1. Keiran Croker says

    Very nicely put Chris. There is nothing like winning against the odds.
    The shared joy of fellow Blood Brothers spotted around the crowd, out on he road and on the train. Worth the trip and late arrival home.

  2. jan courtin says

    It was wonderful sitting surrounded by mostly Victorian Bloods. You can always tell the difference between the South-of-old supporters and the Sydney ones. “Bloods” is used all the time and they sing the song as it should be sung “….whether the odds be great or be small” instead of the horrible “… what though the odds be great or small”
    A wonderful night and an even more wonderful win!

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