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Round 18 – Sydney v Adelaide: Sometimes more than a game

Sydney v Adelaide
4.35pm, Saturday, 1 August
Sydney Cricket Ground.
Ian Latham


The shadows were long and the sky was gold and orange as the large crowd shuffled into the SCG. It was a big game for both teams. Sydney was fighting for the top four and Adelaide for the top eight. But it was still only a football game and there were bigger issues in the shadows. The coach of Adelaide had been violently killed. Adam Goodes had been booed for games on end. Those two things didn’t compare to each other but our reaction to both had said a lot about the better things in our society.


It had been touching to see the public grief of many to the death. It was inspiring to see the quiet ceremonies by the players to honour Phil Walsh.


The reaction to Goodes during the week had been far more mixed. People who should have known better said too much and they weren’t all announcers who knew nothing about football.


On Saturday, the Swans community made its statement. My daughter had umpired that morning and the kids all had number 37 written on their arms. When she played on Sunday they did the same. The SCG crowd rose in the third quarter and cheered. I was pretty proud of that community.


I wasn’t very proud of the community that attacked a player because he had the courage to say that the invasion of this country brought both sorrow and celebration. I wasn’t very proud of the commentators who said that such obviously racist action was just part of the game.


And in all of this there was a game. Sydney had been playing poorly and had been flogged by the hawks and trounced by the eagles. The crows had recently shocked their arch rivals; the power. There were signs that Sydney were on the slide and that Adelaide were on the rise.


On the other hand, Sydney welcomed back a bunch of star players; Franklin, Tippett, Teddy and McGlynn, but Adelaide had kept their gun players on the park for a while.


While the first six or seven minutes were pretty even, Sydney blew the crows out of the water in the first quarter and never let them back in. By the end of the first quarter, the swans were four goals up and that lead was never cut back. It wasn’t that the crows didn’t try but the swans were too classy and fast in the midfield and the big forwards didn’t disappoint when the ball came their way.


So the siren blew for a big swans victory; we sang the song and we all wandered home. The opposing fans walked out together. They knew that there was a lot of things that were more important than football. They also knew that football could sometimes tell us something of those things.



SYDNEY SWANS   6.2   11.5   13.9   17.15 (117)
ADELAIDE   2.2   4.4   7.8   9.11 (65)


Sydney Swans: Tippett 3, Franklin 3, Hannebery 3, Parker 2, Kennedy 2, Jetta, Reid, Lloyd, McVeigh

Adelaide: Lynch 3, Walker 2, Jenkins 2, Lyons, Betts


Sydney Swans: Hannebery, Tippett, Rampe


Umpires: Margetts, Pannell, Mollison


Official crowd: 38,690 at the SCG




  1. Bec Blossomvictory says

    This is indeed a very genuine touching piece, even from the perspective of a Crows fan – me. I was utterly disappointed about our loss, but glad that the spirit of the game had remained strong. — We will Come back!! On ya both Swannies & Crowies!!!

  2. Barb Jamieson says

    Well said Ian , I couldn’t have put it better than that . As. crows supporter , we have just been through a really tough time , not only with the emotional side of losing Phil , but also with the distuptiion to the physical side of our game .
    Hot on the heels came the disgraceful treatment of Adams Goodes , for as you said , saying it as it is , with everybody wading in with opinions that just made it so much worse , given that much of the stuff coming out of mouths was bigoted and uninformed , not to mention very unproductive , and on fact , terribly destructive . I can’t imagine what he felt like , I only know how sickened I was by social media , to the point that I have cut myself off from Facebook , having copped it too for daring to defend Adam .
    The Swans were always going to fight back, and fight back they did , and I have to say as an avid Crows supporter, I had no qualms in thinking that we were going to be smashed . I’m not going to use the PHIL Walsh stuff to try to explain
    Adelaides game , I’m perplexed by them weekly , and can’t help wondering , where to from here . We see flashes of the team from the first three weeks of the year , and then I see a team that’s lost its way .
    The conclusion I came to on Saturday was this , right now , Adelaide has not got a style of football that they can call their own so are forced to try to play their games differently every week , the style of whichever team they play . They do not have enough self belief , put that with no dedicated game plan or style of football they are going to call theirs and there is little hope to stamp their name on the game .
    Overall , I’m beginning to fall out of love with the game , I find myself wondering where has the real game of football gone. There no excitement in watching a game that is turning into a clone of rugby , I’m a great lover of the run and carry game , and I’m not seeing much of that anymore , instead, it’s tackle , everyone jump on top and fight for the ball , unless the umpire pulls out a free which only he can see . Very unrewarding for both players and spectators .
    One more criticism , if the AFL are going to stick with goal reviews, then it would be really good if they would replace their $2 cameras , talk to Cricket Australia and at least use the same standard of technology . If their goal umpires don’t have the expertise to call a goal , which they’ve had to do for years , at least invest in decent cameras .
    Another case of technology being unproductive and often incorrect .
    Hats off to Sydney supporters for their support for Adam , hopefully he will be in next weeks lineup , and hopefully decency will prevail and he receives the respect he deserves.

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