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Round 16 – Sydney Swans v Hawthorn: For Tim

 

The Hawks of Hawthorn and the Swans of Sydney have become the fiercest of rivals. Recent history includes two Grand Finals, at least one final in each of the past four seasons, and of course Lance Franklin’s defection just two summers ago. Throughout it all, I have enjoyed some of the most effervescent and buoyant repartee, with an incredibly inspiriting character.

 

I am one of the lucky ones that had the privilege of meeting Tim Young. My wife’s cousin, and a friend to a throng of admirers, he can only be described as an inspirational and infectious spirit. Martin Flanagan once said that what people see in Michael Long is a luminous sincerity. The same can most certainly be said of Tim.

 

As a child, Tim was diagnosed with an incredibly rare illness known as Craniopharyngioma. This meant a rare brain tumour – literally a one in a million diagnosis – robbed an effervescent young boy of the type of childhood known by most. A couple of months ago, and at just 21-years-of-age, Tim lost his battle with the disease, however his spirit will live on forever. He was dealt the worst of hands, but lived with a grace and character that left all who knew him, all the better for it. Tonight, my thoughts are well and truly of this loveable lad, who had an insatiable love of all things Brown & Gold.

 

Tim personified to me everything that is great about footy. He loved his Hawks, and he freely expressed that fact to all and sundry. When just a toddler, his boyish charm and cheeky persona was on full display when perusing the supermarket aisles with his father. When an elderly lady took a liking to the young fella, she asked him his name. The little man puffed out his chest, and with a glint in his eye, replied: ‘I’m Jason Dunstall’.

 

When Tim was a little older, some of his beloved Hawks players paid a visit to his family’s Hobart home. Ben Dixon was fielding most of the questions, and no doubt, suggestions on how his then-struggling outfit could improve their game. A visit supposed to be cut short by other official commitments, lasted hours as the young Hawks would not be let out of Tim’s sight until his game plan was heard!

 

Tonight’s match signifies another high-stakes hit out between our two sides. I know he’ll be watching. I begin the match full of confidence in my boys, emboldened in the way Tim would be about his. Unfortunately for me, this did not last long. The Hawks have hit top-gear in recent weeks and have swooped on my unsuspecting Swans in a first term which saw us held goalless while they piled on six majors of their own. A stunned home crowd is eerily silent.

 

For us Swannies, last year’s decider has meant a deep-seeded fear of a flogging is simmering beneath the surface of our Red & White cladded torsos each time we now face this team. The second term performance of the Bloods allays some of this fear tonight, and as Buddy boots three goals in three minutes, a comeback is surely on the cards tonight. Teddy’s misguided bump finds S. Mitchell’s cranium as the physicality stakes are raised in an attempt to wrestle back momentum. The Hawks are an immovable object tonight though, and all I can find to ease my racing mind is: thank god for Buddy.

 

When news emerged that Buddy had traded Glenferrie for Bondi, I received a phone call. On the other end of the phone, was a very concerned Tim. Like a protective father, he wanted to know that my team’s intentions were pure. I assured him that I was beaming with excitement to have the big guy on board, and this seemed to ease his mind somewhat. ‘You’ll enjoy having him on your team’, he said.

 

The second half is a procession. A Brown & Gold procession. Roughead’s comeback has been admirable, Rioli’s added to his ever-growing highlight reel and the old-firm of Hodge, Mitchell & Lewis have done the damage again. Deja vu anybody? Make no mistake, this is a great team. My Bloods have been completely outplayed and by a way. Premiership expectations have been well and truly tempered tonight, as sobering thoughts of a widening gap enter my mind. However, no matter how disappointing my team has been, I’m happy for our happy Hawk, watching proudly from above.

 

A sporting gentleman was Tim, and true to his nature, he even called to discuss the 2012 Grand Final, which I know would not have been easy for him. Even more sporting, he compassionately refrained in claiming his well-earned bragging rights after last year’s decider. Despite the rivalry, Tim’s always good-humoured and wholehearted banter was forever accompanied by his famous bellowing chuckle that could warm any heart. Talking footy with Tim was energising. Knowing him was even more so.

 

The footy’s over, a game’s been won and lost, but there’s clearly something missing here. Perspective takes hold and I remember a courageous and noble soul. Tim, I’m sure that thrashing was just for you and I hope you enjoyed it, mate. I’m sure you did.

 

Sydney Swans  7.15 (57)

Hawthorn 23.8 (146)

 

Goals:

Sydney: Franklin 3, McVeigh, Parker, K.Jack, Kennedy

Hawthorn: Roughead 5, Gunston 4, Rioli 3, Breust 2, McEvoy 2, Hale, Smith, Litherland, Schoenmakers, Shiels, Puopolo, Suckling

 

Best:

Sydney: Kennedy, Goodes, Parker, Hannebery

Hawthorn: Rioli, Hodge, Birchall, Roughead, Gunston, Mitchell

 

Crowd: 37,369 at ANZ Stadium.

 

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

Comments

  1. jan courtin says:

    Nice one Joe. Everything in life is about perspective isn’t it – sometimes we need it presented to us, whether we like it or not!

  2. Nice work Joe, Tim would be very happy.

  3. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says:

    Happy that Tim would have found some celestial joy Saturday night, Joe, and by way thereof some poignancy for you too.
    They were glorious.
    May your sadness lie gently with you.

  4. Joe Moore says:

    Thank you, Jan. Exactly right.

    Thanks Justin. He’d have loved that performance, wouldn’t he? I’m sure you and Sam did. Imagining his chuckling as his mighty team powered on, made the flogging all the more easier to take!

    Mathilde – Thanks for your kind words. Tim’s from a wonderful family who miss him dearly. Imagining his joy on Saturday night brought a smile to my face under trying circumstances….just as he had the ability to do for so many. His Hawks were supreme.

  5. Stuart Hunter says:

    Joe……….that’s a beautiful piece of writing. There was no anger about the Swans on Saturday, just a realization of we are where we are and a recognition of what a great side is in the Hawks. I’m sure Tim would’ve be looking down on ANZ with a beaming smile and a hearty chuckle.

    My deepest sympathies to you and Tim’s family.

  6. Hi Joe,. Our thoughts are with you and all Tim’s loved ones.

  7. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Hi Joe a lovely tribute ditto JTH above

  8. John Zito says:

    A wonderful tribute and beautifully written Joe. Sincere condolences to you and the family to losing a generous and spirited soul.
    John

  9. Joe Moore says:

    Stuart – Thank you. They are an impressive unit, those Hawks. Tim would have no doubt been chuckling away as they ran rampant!

    JTH, Rulebook and John Z. – Thanks for such thoughtful words. Tim had a major impact on many lives, His family and closest mates will always remember him fondly, and most importantly, with a smile.

  10. Peter_B says:

    Some flowers are born to bloom brilliantly but briefly. Wonderful tribute. Thanks Joe.

  11. Joe Moore says:

    Thank you Peter, and so true in this case.

  12. Rick Kane says:

    Hi Joe

    If Tim personifies everything that’s great about footy ( and he sounds like he was a fantastic young man) then your story reminds us that community is the most important thing about footy. Thank you for sharing such a personal reflection.

    Cheers

  13. Joe, some people only need a moment to leave a mark.
    A Sydney fan I knew died from liver cancer aged 33.
    He never saw Sydney win a premiership.
    When the Swans broke through in 2005, my first thoughts were for him.
    Touching story.
    Cheers

  14. Joe Moore says:

    Hi Rick. Couldn’t agree more. Family, community and the great people that you share the game with are what matters most.

    Thanks Matt. Hopefully your friend is watching proudly on the club that the Swannies have become too.

  15. Elizabeth Gibson says:

    Thank you Joe and Tim, well written and I know you and the family will miss the banter and rivalry that is the footy season. RIP Tim the long fight is over. .

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