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Round 18 – Sydney v Carlton: Only one word describes it… RELIEF!

Oh, my dear Swans, why do you put us through such agony?! Two weeks in a row, and five times this year! And against Carlton, of all teams! We usually give them a hiding! They have certainly improved, yes, but we’re supposed to be really good and they’re supposed to be on their way to being really good. This was a bit of a shocker from you guys – which I know you are entitled to every now and then – and this was a beauty from those bluebaggers. But you’re forgiven this week, because we actually managed to hold on for a change, and WIN! Thank you my beloved Bloods!

On the way home from the game, still feeling weak at the knees and slightly sick in the stomach from the match, I stopped off at the corner local for a bottle of the stuff that I imagined would help me relax. Today’s game was really just too much to cope with.

When the final siren sounded at about the 27 minute mark I couldn’t even speak. I certainly couldn’t sing the song! The total relief was accompanied by a burst of tears. They just came out – they had to – otherwise I would have exploded with so much built-up tension inside.

Why on earth do we human beings, supposedly rational and intelligent, allow ourselves to get into such a state over a game of footy – a footy team really? I just don’t know. We’d be declared mentally unstable if we deliberately chose to inflict such anxiety and tension upon ourselves, in any other situation. And it definitely becomes worse the older we get. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about after three years shy of seven decades of tormenting myself.

Maybe the reasons it gets worse as life goes on include:

* We don’t have to worry about getting a job, and keeping it

* We don’t have to worry about looking as beautiful as possible, thinking that is needed to attract a boyfriend or girlfriend

* We don’t have to worry about keeping that girl or boyfriend and forming a long-term partnership

* We don’t have to worry about the babies, the teenagers, or the older ones for that matter

* We don’t have to worry about paying off the mortgage

* We don’t have to worry about whether we get sex – or not

All we really have to worry about is how many wrinkles are forming, how the joints are coping with the odd pain here and there, how many years we’ve still got left, and how our footy team is going to perform each week. And when the results are close, like this week’s, and four other times this year, how our heart is going to cope.

Most of this game was spent exclaiming – mostly under my breath, or to Marshall – how bloody terribly we were playing. Even Parkes and Hanners were making blatant errors at times, and Mitchell too. Oh god, it was such a tension-filled match, no wonder the tears came at the end.

We arrived early. I wanted to see the Reserves in the NEAFL game against those young kids from GWS, and especially Teddy Richards and Benny McGlynn, who’d been dropped since last week, and the other young ones coming through. We had the O’Reilly Stand to ourselves at 10.30am.

Jan in the deserted O'Reilly Stand at 10.30am during the Reserves game

Jan in the deserted O’Reilly Stand at 10.30am during the Reserves game


Unfortunately, by the time that game had ended and the siren had sounded, we’d kicked an atrocious 4.18 to the Giants’ 10.8 and lost. It was certainly a windy one in Sydney today, but no excuse for 4.18. We are, however, still on top of that ladder in the NEAFL.

I have a feeling we’re going to miss Macca’s leadership and flair across half back today, and losing our other half back flanker Zac Jones for six weeks may add to any perceived pressure from Carlton.

Our first goal comes from Xavier Richards, replacing big brother Teddy. Since arriving at the Swans in 2013 Xavier had played just two senior games and his NEAFL games had always been at full back. The past three weeks have seen a change, to the forward line, where he’s kicked 20 goals – eight last week. I do wonder how many younger brothers have replaced an older one, especially due to demotion, and I also think of their parents. One of them always flies from Melbourne to watch Teddy and the other to watch Xavier, so at least they’ll be able to make just one trip today, to the SCG.

The first quarter is a tightly contested one and there’s no score to speak of until half way through the quarter. Xavier kicks his second, Joey Kennedy another, and Buddy’s goal is sensational! He gathers the ball 55 metres out on the boundary line, handballs to Hanners who’s kneeling on the ground in between Carlton players, runs into a better position and receives the ball back from Hanners before it connects with his magic boot and sails through the big sticks from 50 metres. Our scoreline is 4.4 but Carlton kicks slightly better with their 5.1

With two of our stars Isaac Heeney and Gary Rohan nowhere to be seen in the first half, our only goal for the term comes from Buddy. Carlton is really applying the pressure today and I wish Gibbs was anywhere else but on the SCG. Their 2.2 exceeds our 1.3 for the quarter and they lead by 8 points at half time. This is not what I was expecting and the nerves are starting to jangle.

Our third quarter starts well. We are exerting more pronounced pressure, tackling is stronger, and the ball stays in our forward line for longer. Six-pointers to Kieren Jack, Buddy – twice, and Lukey Parker give us a strong lead of 20 points, and with no more than five minutes or so before the siren will sound, I’m slightly relieved and believe we’ll go on with it. The emotions change very quickly when Carlton kicks two goals in as many minutes, and the additional number of shots we’ve had on goal – 7 – is what we lead by going into the last term.

I have to say that the last 30 minutes are a bit of a blur. I was just too anxious to really take much in. I certainly remember Mitchell stuffing up at some stage, as did Dean Towers, and I remember Lukey Parker getting a goal. I also remember Reg Grundy saving a possible Carlton goal with a wonderful intercept, and I clearly remember Joey Kennedy busting his guts all over the ground, and Isaac, now in everything, running down some guy to save yet another chance at goal. I also remember the ball being in their forward line far too much, Kizza missing one he perhaps should have kicked, and seeing Allir Allir lying prone on the deck. And then, our young cygnets get involved in the dying stages: Mills to Heeney, backwards to Mills, backwards to Lloyd, and back to Mills. The scoreboard reads: 10.14 to 10.8

And, what I really remember next, with absolute clarity, is that final siren! Oh the RELIEF!

My highlights from the game:

First and foremost – the final siren
Joey Kennedy
Lukey Parker
Callum Mills
Buddy Franklin
Dane Rampe
The 4 points

ps The wine didn’t do much. One glass just made me sleepy. I’ll probably throw it out now, unless it comes in handy after our game next week against Freo! But I don’t want to even think of that.

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. Tony Courtin says

    Dearly beloved older sister Jan,I am very happy that today’s comment is not a eulogy, As I was watching yet another close encounter, I wondered,several times,if you and Marsh would make it home after the game on your own steam or in the back of an ambulance,your tickers having all but given-up! Isn’t it fun when our rational disposition succumbs to raw emotion! We didn’t play well,but a scrappy victory is preferable to a scrappy loss. I don’t recall,this late in a season,where the fate of teams jockeying for finals’ berths has fluctuated so much in just one round. Let’s hope we lift our work rate in the remaining rounds. Go bloods.

  2. Ross Treverton says

    I had no access to a TV Jan, and as much as l hate relying on radio coverage (it’s awfully hard to get any idea of what and where things are happening on the ground), it was my only option. All the commentary was about how the Blue’s were ‘taking it up to the Swans’ and looking like victors. But l kept the faith and the boys came home with the chocolates. I felt exhausted just listening to it; l can’t even begin to imagine how you felt! But for this week, it’s once again ‘cheer, cheer’! 10 votes to Joey Kennedy (having just watched the replay…)
    Go you mighty blood stained angels!

  3. I thought we would thrash Carlton, but instead we won by the skin of our teeth.
    I’m not looking forward to wrinkles, aches and pains, and no sex!
    Even oldies can have it sometimes!

  4. jan courtin says

    Hi Tony, Ross and Marcel. Thanks for comments

    No Tony, it wasn’t a eulogy and we managed to walk home, hearts intact. Let’s hope they stay that way!

    Yes, Ross, we came home with the chokkies this time! Joey was just fantastic wasn’t he. We;re so lucky to have him.

    They’ll be upon you whether you like it or not, Marcel; not sure about the sex bit, up to you I suppose!
    Cheer Cheer to all

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