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Round 16 – Sydney v Gold Coast: The Dean Towers Cheer Squad have their say

 

 

We are the first to arrive in the O’Reilly Stand on a sunny but coolish-for-Sydney Saturday afternoon. Down south they would no doubt have been out and about in short sleeved shirts, but 18° and a cool wind for Sydney at 1pm has us in jumpers and coats, and warm scarves to keep the breeze at bay. However, the sun shone brightly.

It certainly radiated on our young reserves team, thrashing their opposition by over 100 points, and even though it has set several hours earlier, its glow continues well into the early evening as the senior boys begin their task of overcoming the much-improved Suns.

I was nervous about this game. Would we be a bit cocky, and suffer the consequence? A consequence that would probably be season-ending. With a record of 7-0 against the Suns, would we continue our winning form and climb back into the all defining eight? Would we, well…., just be a bit cocky keeps rearing its ugly head.

And would the supporters turn up? School holidays and all. A couple of thousand cheered off the young boys after their win, and Alex Johnson got a special cheer. He played most of three quarters, and seemed in good spirits by the end of the game.

By the time the main game starts, nearly 33,000 bums are on seats as the ball is bounced. A good crowd.

The first quarter is far too close for comfort. We make a few basic errors, kick some goals and, thank god, fewer behinds, but they keep with us the whole way, with their champion Tom Lynch kicking three for the quarter. It is a tight 30 minutes, with the Suns continuing their vastly improved form.

By the end of the second term, my anxiety has lessened somewhat. We’ve kept them goalless, kicked six ourselves, and our relentlessness and pressure is back. So is our accuracy!

The overwhelming difference this week in our kicking for goal in the first half is that every single one of the 10 goals is achieved within close range. It was evident that a plan had been devised during the week, after our atrocious two weeks of accumulating 39 behinds, and that the plan was now working.

Our first goal for the game from Buddy was from 30 metres out on a slight angle; the second, to Gazza, came from the 20 metre mark; the next, also from Gazza, from the goal square; then Buddy from 20 metres; Georgie 25 metres directly in front; Reidy from 20 metres; Georgie on the goal line; Gazza, for his third, from 25 metres; Towers (not sure whether he has a nickname, maybe Deano) from 30 metres; and the final one for the first half, from Gazza, from 20 metres on a slight angle.

A lead of 29 points at half time.

Hallelujah! 10.5 for the half. More goals than behinds.

Kizza starts off in the first minute of the third quarter, spraying a dead-in-front 20 metre shot. No more of that Swannies. Keep up the accuracy. Buddy then makes up by bombing in a traditional one on the 50 metre line (our first and only goal from that distance for the game) and when Parks takes a wonderful one-hander 45 metres out – guess what, he misses! Then Gazza, in his now history-making goal square position, gets a free and kicks his fifth. How good it is to see Rohan having a great game!

And how good is it to see Dean Towers playing really well! The week-to-week criticism gets a bit tiresome after a while, and I own up to being one of the culprits. After reading Matt Zurbo’s article on Dean, I’ve made myself become more aware of what he does on the field.

Dean is one of those players who, because of a couple of bad errors in a few games that cost us, hasn’t seemed to be able to show his true talent, and has become the whipping boy in the eyes of supporters. We seem only to take notice of him when he does something special, whereas we take it for granted when his team mates do the very same thing. And every week we hear “Surely Towers will go, when so and so comes back”. It hasn’t happened for weeks now. He’s picked each week.

At one point in this third quarter, he runs and chases his opponent, tackles him down, the ball is free, he gets up quickly and handpasses accurately to his mate, then a minute or so later, he grabs the ball and goals from 40 metres. Great stuff!

The chant goes up: TOW-ERS (clap, clap, clap) TOW-ERS (clap, clap, clap) TOW-ERS (clap, clap, clap). We all look around. And there they are – four rows in front: Matt, Sarah, their little boy Josh, their mate Phil, and a few either side of them – the Towers Cheer Squad. Great to see and hear. I look up to the scoreboard and notice Dean having a chat on the phone, on the bench: hopefully it’s a good pat on the back from the coach.

Our next goal, from Jonesy, is a pure gift. Surrounded by three Swans, the Suns guy grabs the ball in the goal square and handballs straight to our number 10. Almost laughable! Unless you’re the Suns player.

We’ve kept them goalless again, and 59 points up at the break.

Sitting in front of us are two small kids, maybe seven and five years of age, their Dad and their Grandad. It’s been impossible not to hear the questions coming from the inquisitive minds of the youngsters throughout the game. Non stop questions. “Why are they fighting, Dad”. “Why hasn’t Buddy got it, Dad”. “What are they doing, Dad”. “Why isn’t he kicking it, Dad”. “What does that mean, Dad”. “Why doesn’t he throw it, Dad”. “Where is Buddy, Dad”. Many of Dad’s replies and explanations lead me to know he’s a rugby league man (referring to the referee), and his kids are new to this game.

After Towers picks the ball off his toes and gets it to Paps who kicks truly, putting us 65 points up, I tap the older boy on the shoulder and ask him if he’d like to wave my flag. Very politely he says “No thank you”. The younger one, however, isn’t so polite and grabs the flag and goes berserk, hitting Granddad on the head. I then ask them whether it’s their first Aussie Rules game. They look at me with a distinct blankness. “AFL” I say. “Yes, it’s our first game”.

“You know what”, I say, “The Suns haven’t kicked a goal since the first quarter, and if we can get a few more and they don’t get any, we could win by 100 points”.

The cheeky little one pipes up with “Yea, yeah, 299 points, 400 points”.

I’m not sure they really understood the game at all, but they soon caught onto the SYDNEEEY chant, and joined in every time, and even started their own a few times. Let’s hope their Dad takes them to a few more games, and who knows, they might even join the Swans Academy and become stars like their favourite Buddy.

The remainder of the quarter sort of peters out. We allow the opposition to kick a couple of goals, Oh damn! and we add another two, one from Jonesy and one from Lewis Melican (don’t know his nickname). Gazza attempts his sixth, almost on the siren, and as his kick wanders to the left, his behind gives us a final reading of 7.11 for the second half – not as accurate as the earlier quarters but at least we managed more goals than behinds this week!

We didn’t quite get to the 100 point victory but what the hell! 67 points will do just fine, than you very much.

Now onwards to next week and those cocky young Giants!

My highlights from the game:
Overall performance of all the guys
Gary Rohan’s five goals
And of course, Dean Towers!

 

Almanac stalwart Jan Courtin is also a contributor to The Women’s Footy Almanac 2017 which is out now. Details HERE.

About Jan Courtin

A Bloods tragic since first game at Lake Oval in 1948. Moved interstate to Sydney to be closer to beloved Swans in 1998. My book "My Lifelong Love Affair with the Swans" was launched by the Swans at their headquarters at the SCG in August 2016. www.myswansloveaffair.com

Comments

  1. Matt Zurbo says

    Brilliant!!!

  2. Phil Crawford says

    Very well written

  3. Thanks Matt, for your article and the comment above.

    Dean was indeed very impressive on Saturday. Let’s hope he can now flourish and that all Swans supporters embrace him in a loving way.

  4. Thanks Phil.

    Keep up the TO-WERS chant. Great encouragement.
    Cheer cheer

  5. Just great Jan. Let’s hope we do it again in many coming weeks.

  6. Thanks Jan. Really good read as usual.

  7. Thanks Helen and Sue

    Cheer cheer

  8. Keiran Croker says

    Yes Jan, the problem with Towers is the nickname. Maybe Deano? Matt, can you help, surely he had a nickname down at Lavers Hill? I too have been a little more attentive to the good stuff Dean has been doing lately. And its been significant in recent weeks, so hopefully he is giving the selection panel no reason to replace him.

    Pel – Pelican – Melican, as I saw in an interview with him a few weeks back. Go Pel.

  9. Tom Bally says

    Nice read Jan. I’ll give Towers his due, he doesn’t give up. Watching the replay he was in there for a few hit outs too. All we need now is just to kick straight.

  10. Thanks Keiran and Tom
    If Matt can’t come up with a nickname, I’ll get in touch with the Club. Pel sounds good! and yes, Tom, the kicking must improve, surely!

    Cheer cheer

  11. Hi Keiran

    Dean’s nickname is “Don”. Just saw it on the Swans website.

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