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Round 17 – Sydney v Hawthorn: A horrible night at the SCG

What a difference a week makes!

Nothing much changed from the week before that though, and definitely nothing much changed from eight weeks before that. Three losses by under a goal, all with the Swans leading until just before the final siren. Then, WHAM! We let them – in all three games – kick the winning goal.


The game should have been over in the first quarter. We had the ball in our forward half for much of the quarter, 17 times in fact, but could only manage 4.4. They got it down their end about five times, and actually did something with it, every time. Like, kick goals! They were efficient, and we weren’t.

We went to sleep in the second term, or, as Hawthorn people would say, We were brilliant in the second quarter. Had the two 6-day turn arounds caught up with the young cygnets? Why was Buddy unable to mark and kick goals? Where were we, and what were we thinking, as their players did as they pleased? Their 3.3 to our solitary point was not a true indication of what had transpired in those 27 minutes. They should have been further ahead at half time – as we should have been at quarter time.

Only 15 minutes or so into the third quarter did we awake from the slumber. Gary Rohan was kicking most of our goals, Luke Parker was busting his guts to get the team going, and Joey Kennedy was still proving his worth to his former team mates. Our 4.1 to their 1.3 had us ahead by 9 points at the break.

The last quarter is a blur. I was sick to the stomach throughout those 30 odd minutes. I wanted to believe it was all just a dream: part of a nightmare that would end happily; part of a play or a film – a fictional story, where the characters would reveal their joyous selves at the end, and the audience would be standing, clapping and cheering the performances. Alas, it wasn’t! Cyril ruined it for us. Or, perhaps more to the point, we ruined it for ourselves!

When will our cobs and cygnets learn to cope with being in a position of power – with minutes or seconds on the clock – and to grab the opportunity to remain in that position? The coulds and woulds of life, they mean nothing. But I can reflect for a moment and imagine. Imagine if we’d won those three games? We’d be way up there, above that happy team, and really pleased with our season so far. A bit like another dream really.

The siren sounded and my sick stomach gave a mighty heave. Not that type of heave, but one that felt the need to purge: to purge all the anxiety and tension, the horror of the nightmare I’d just experienced, and to somehow lighten the weight of the misery.

Walking home, amongst the 42,000 odd people who had attended the performance on this unusually cold Sydney night, I didn’t bother watching or listening to other supporters’ reactions, and fortunately I didn’t have to overhear what they intended eating for dinner, as that had already taken place hours earlier. Their chatter was also a blur. Everything was a blur.

Managing to get to sleep a few hours later, I woke around 2.30 with sore, aching teeth. The nightmare had woken me, and the teeth were clenched like never before. Clenched as Dean Towers marked, with us one point up, and choosing to kick short instead of perhaps, long, down to the forwards, thereby keeping it in our half for the remaining minute or so. Then clenched, even more so, as Cyril took that mark, 50 metres out and kicking that horrible, ugly goal. A nightmare indeed!

The blackboard counting had no chance of working this time. I tried it, but gave up on 98. Instead, I tried thinking of all the poor and suffering people in the world, imagining their struggles and efforts to not only survive but to enjoy some form of happiness. The mind wandered. It was difficult to control it. And sleep was impossible.

When I got out of bed at 7am, still tired and irritable, I just burst into tears. It came from nowhere, but that can’t be true, can it?

It was a sad night at the SCG. In fact, it was a horrible night at the SCG.

My highlights from the game:

Not really in the mood for highlights today

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.


  1. Marie Teague says

    The ups and downs are insane Jan, aren’t they? At least we’re still within reach of you.

  2. i really looked forward to this game as a neutral. Was seriously disappointed. Some observations, which may be based on evidence, or not:

    # one of these teams will probably win the Flag, but you wouldn’t have thought either team looked like Premiers last night
    # it was a pretty inelegant game
    # games like this shouldn’t be played on the small SCG
    # if the Hawks can out-Swan the Swans at the SCG, they will cut them apart at the MCG
    # i really want the Hawks to not win, to shut up the luvvies on Fox
    # umpires…
    # the Swans have a heap of kids, so, really, it’s not their time to contend. but they are…
    # that incursion 50 – there were probably 100 of them due to congestion. stay out of the game,umpire
    # the Buddy that can’t mark overhead was back
    # there should be a Luke Darcy mute on the Fox remote
    # when Hannebery is bad, he is really bad
    # when Kennedy and Parker are good, wow..
    # is Josh Gibson gawn? maybe the Eagles are a chance…
    # some of S Mitchell’s rapier passes were genius, given the congestion. but he is a shit.

    Anyway, ABH.

  3. The Wrap says

    Two bullshit umpiring decisions won this match for Hawthorn. In a low scoring match, that’s all it takes.

    Two comments. Firstly, subjectively interpreted rules like deliberate OOB make us look like rugby. Secondly, having games so heavily influenced by the those two 50m howlers makes us look like soccer.

    If Hologram Man is as concerned about match fixing and the influence of gambling on OGG as he says he is, he’d simplify the rules.

    And talking about rules, I gave up counting the poorly disguised throws that went un-penalised on Thursday night. True, it speeds up the game and the ball movement looks good, but is it in the Spirit of The Game? If that’s what the league wants, well, change the rules.

    You want the 2016 Premiers? Adelaide. And they’ll beat GWS to do it. Something’s happened to The Pride of South Australia over the season, and it ain’t good for the rest of us.

    ABH PW?

  4. Anyone but Hawthorn

    I was really rooting for the Crows last year, if we couldn’t seize the opportunity. So if it’s them, great. When on (as per Port), they scintilate

  5. jan courtin says

    Thanks Marie, Peter and Wrap
    Yes, the ups and downs are affecting us all this year, Marie, and you only just got over Freo!

    Peter and the Wrap, agree with your summation, but not necessarily with the SCG/MCG scenario, Peter, especially after Thursday night’s game that could have gone either way; all players are “permitted” a not-so-good-one, especially Hanners & Buddy – stars. Still think it’s too soon to talk about Premiers.
    Sorry don’t know what ABH is, Peter.

  6. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Spot on,Jan yep very frustrating as a supporter and the swans are still a huge chance.Jan I have just commented on Paddys article re a question by Earl re the 50 metre penalty against,Jack which was correct interested in your thoughts of what I have written( comment is awaiting approval )

  7. Yvette Wroby says

    This last week Saints were the ones to pull a last minute win out of pure effort. I can’t believe that the Hawks do it over and over. Respect. Unbelievable efforts. The sun will shine again. Be well and healthy meanwhile.

  8. jan courtin says

    Hi Malcolm and Yvette
    Many thanks for comments.
    I can’t really comment on the 50 metre penalty against Kieran, Malcolm, as I was high up in the O’Reilly Stand and it all happened so quickly. And there’s no way I’ve watched the game on replay, so, if it was correct, then, as you say, clubs need to know the rules and get it right. Not going to comment on the umpiring either, except to say that at the game it felt as if we got no frees and they got them all!

    Yes, the sun will shine again, it always does (especially this morning here in Sydney), but as you know only too well, Yvette, the emotions rise to the fore and stay with you for many hours after those close ones. Still feeling the “hurt” today.

  9. jan courtin says

    Malcolm: Just read in today’s paper that the umpires have admitted it was a mistake to award the 50 metre penalty against Kieran Jack!!! Who knows what the result might have been?

  10. Rulebook says

    Jan it is bizarre in that it has been stated that it had been approved as a correct decision as a maggot I thought straight away it was a correct call

  11. Yes Jan, deeply disappointing, to the point where rage and grief temporarily take over. And revived after the input from Michael Christian of the AFL laws committee!

    Umpiring apart, a little more accuracy would have got us over the line. Moreover, I think we can do it at the MCG, the difference from the SCG is not all that great after the recent modifications: MCG 160m long, 140m wide; SCG 155.5m long, 136m wide.

    And we can look forward to the return of Tippett and Heeney. Bloods are strong on hoping!

  12. jan courtin says

    Hi Don
    Yes, accuracy was an issue, and as I said, Hawthorn used their opportunities when going forward, especially in that 1st quarter, whereas we didn’t. Look forward to getting Tippo and Heens back and hope that the young guns can keep it up!
    Cheer cheer

    Thanks Malcolm. Very interesting about the incorrect decision. In the middle of watching the North/Port game, and what was that decision all about when Firrito handballed through under pressure? No consistency.

  13. Paul Spinks says

    The Swans’ intensity wasn’t quite at the same level as against the Cats, Jan. Was only a bit off, but that’s all it needed to be against hungry enough Hawks.

  14. jan courtin says

    Thanks Paul. Yes, what a difference a week makes! You just managed to get over the line against Freo!

    All so tight up there in the eight! Bit nerve-wracking.

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