Round 19 – Geelong v Sydney: The Cats simply wanted it more!

SWANZ has travelled to Melbourne again. It nearly didn’t make the trip. On Thursday, when it had been packed and ready to go, its owner became unwell and not in a fit state at all to drive any distance, let alone the 1,000 kilometres to Geelong.


I really wanted to get to this game, especially given Goodesy was back: so much had been said all week by the Geelong hierarchy, pleading with their supporters to do the right thing by Adam and the community. I wanted to experience whatever was to happen or not happen with the Geelong crowd in relation to their support of him. And I wanted to be another red and white person, there amongst it all, supporting our great man. I also wanted to be at the game to experience another good performance, especially after our come-back last week, and I really believed we could repeat that precise and free-flowing style of game against the Cats. Overall, I just want to be at the games and be a part of the atmosphere and theatre of it all – not simply as an observer, watching on television.


We waited until Friday before deciding to go, even though part of me really wanted to stay in bed and not have to face the long drive and the colder weather down south. I don’t particularly like flying, and even though it was a possibility, single fares for that day had risen to almost triple the normal amount, so we gave that a miss. Sheer willpower got me into that car, determined not to miss this away interstate game.


Sadly, it was all a bit of a waste of time and energy. Admittedly that’s easily said in retrospect, but if I’d had any inkling that the Swans could have put in a performance like that, I would perhaps still be in my Sydney sick bed. Instead, I’ve now got the return journey to make in a few days.


We stayed in enemy territory after the game, in Ocean Grove, the home to the traitor in the family – the one who was a Swan but is now a Cat. Fortunately, with me still unwell, she was very kind to me and no mention of the game passed her lips. She even hid the Sunday papers knowing only too well that any reminder of the game – especially photos of Selwood splashed across the front page of the Geelong Advertiser – would indeed have exacerbated my physical and emotional downer.


What on earth happened after half time?


The first two quarters had been tight, although scrappy. Goodesy had done a few spectacular things; Heeney showed what he’s made of, and will be a Swans great in time; Tommy kicked a clever goal; Jetts kicked a couple; Parkes manages one off the ground in the goal square, and Geelong weren’t that far behind at the main break.


My hand-scrawled notes up until then say: missing Buddy; no forward structure; no forwards; too many fumbles; missing Mummy; not on their men; scrappy; nothing clean; missing Benny; even Hanners making mistakes; lethargic; shocking play Swannies; missing Gary Rohan; don’t deserve to be in the top four; keep getting caught with ball, and so on. And those were written during the first two quarters, when we were ahead!


No notes were made during the last half. They were not required. It was too wretchedly obvious: Geelong wanted the ball more; they wanted to win for Selwood’s 200th; we didn’t know how to win for Luke Parker’s 100th; Selwood wanted to win for Geelong and played accordingly; Toby Nankervis was having a shocker, and without Pykey, Tippo was forced to stay in the ruck instead of playing forward to help out our non-existent forward line; our famed mids just couldn’t get going – theirs did; whenever we actually got hold of the ball we were pounced on and smothered by Geelong’s aggression; our backline took on the mood of the rest of the team; and we were, quite simply, inept. How could we only kick one goal for a half? The only positive for the Swans was that Geelong would have won by much more had they kicked accurately.


However, we did a fantastic job after half time in carrying out and almost perfecting a game plan which was presumably created during the main break. Let’s call it “Spot a Hoop”. This plan was based on seeing who could kick it as accurately as possible to the opposition: precise, clean kicking and handballing straight to the guys in hoops, and it worked a treat – for them. I don’t know how many goals Geelong kicked from our perfect passes to them – and I don’t really want to know – but Longmire will no doubt have to devise a different plan next week.


All said and done, we were not the Swans that I’ve known these past ten years, and Geelong played one of their best games of the year. How they wanted that ball and how they simply wanted to win!


Not anticipating if and where we might have to play in September – who knows whether we’ll even stay in the eight – there will only be one more road trip this year to see our team play: St Kilda at the end of August. I’ve had enough driving and travelling to be honest. We’ve been to every game except the two in Perth, which we lost, and given that we’ve won every away game that we’ve travelled to – except this one – I wouldn’t really have missed any of them.


Win or lose I love my team.


My highlights from the game:


Adam Goodes back playing.


I shouldn’t have to even mention this but given the reality: The Geelong crowd behaving themselves.


Although there was hardly a boo to be heard (I did hear a few muffled ones mind you from our front row position on the Terrace), it was interesting that when Goodesy was caught holding the ball on one occasion, and on another when he missed a goal, the cheering was extremely loud – much louder than usual for such errors from the opposition. No doubt those who really made an effort to refrain from booing, needed to express their feeling somehow!


The one banner: Respect, Unity, Fairness.

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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.

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