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Round 19 – Hawthorn v Sydney: Bloody Hawthorn!


Damn it! Another of my gut feelings comes to pass. Just knew it! All week, had a bad feeling. All day Thursday, driving to Melbourne, had a bad feeling. All Friday, had a bad feeling. And by 10pm, well, you guessed it!

As the final siren sounded we trudged off from the Ponsford Stand and walked towards the lift where two young women adorned in red and white were standing. They had wide smiles on their pretty faces. This did not amuse me. All I could say to them when our glances coincided was “Shit”. I thought they might agree or at least express their disappointment too, in whatever form or language, but no. Their reactions told another story. Perhaps they weren’t old enough to really care, or perhaps they were just shocked to hear such a word from a woman, or was it that they couldn’t believe it was coming from someone their grannie’s age?

Who knows! I didn’t really care.

We got into the lift and waited for them to join us, but their embarrassment was obviously too great, so they stood back and waited for the next one.

Strange world we live in.

As we walked towards SWANZ in the car park, disappointed Swans’ fans were quiet, feeling, no doubt, as I felt. A few “shits” and worse were heard, and the memories from our recent losses to that happy team that we love to hate these days filled the cold night air. It was a miserable 30-minute wait in the car park before we could head out onto Punt Road and back to St Kilda, and all I could think of and repeat was that word “shit”.

It really felt just like that, and now, two days later, it still feels the same. We really needed to win that game.

So, what is it about Hawthorn? Why do we not play that well against them? Why do we allow them to play well against us? And why, oh why, does it leave such a bad taste every single time?

Bloody Hawthorn!

I’ve never witnessed a game where one team has dominated in the first ten minutes of each quarter, only to then allow the opposition to control the ball, the tempo, and ultimately the game. That is just what happened on Friday night. We played 40 minutes of good footy.

Our kicking for goal didn’t help (when will this be addressed and rectified?); injuries to Gary Rohan and Jake Lloyd, resulting in them being withdrawn at the last minute didn’t help; Joey, in his 200th game, injuring his hamstring didn’t help; Callum Sinclair’s ankle giving way and Sam Naismith hurting his knee didn’t help; Hawthorn marking everything that came their way didn’t help; and it certainly didn’t help that half our team did not perform as expected. To say nothing of our champ Lance.

Why is it that Buddy plays so badly against his former club? It happens time and again. And we have to wonder. This was one of his worst 120 minutes. But, simply because he’s Buddy, all can be forgiven, and no doubt we’ll be singing his praises again before too long.

Sometimes a loss like this one can be a blessing. A wake-up call. How often does a team come out firing the following week after such a loss. The only problem with that theory is that the Swans have already had their wake-up call: several of them; six actually, all at the start of the season. Everyone knows that we just can’t afford to lose, and with the evenness this year, wins are absolutely precious.

The one gratifying aspect of this weekend’s results is that North beat Melbourne, and we’re still 6th on the ladder. But with four teams now on the same number of wins, future losses could be disastrous – not just for us but for all of those teams. Percentage will determine who finishes where.

So, my Swans heroes, please play as we know you can next Friday night against Geelong, and repeat your performance of last year at the Cattery! What a win that was! For some reason, John Harms was smiling as he walked from the ground that night. Maybe it was at the sight and sound of us happy Swannies singing the song in the Gary Ablett tunnel as we exited the ground, or maybe it’s just me who simply cannot smile after a game when we lose.

Our week in Melbourne, waiting for those Cats next weekend, will be spent wisely. Meanwhile I simply just have to say it again: Bloody Hawthorn!


My highlights from the game:
Nothing really, but wanting North to beat Melbourne the next day stands out!
And for our sake, also wanting the Saints to beat Port. Poor Saints!

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. Pete Granger says

    Jan, it is karma. A very powerful and underestimated force.
    You thieved Buddy, and we foolishly gave you the strongest midfielder in the competition – the son and grandson of club legends. Those two aspects motivate Hawthorn to beat the Swans. We find another gear.
    The karma will be broken when:
    (a) Mitchell wins the Brownlow, and
    (b) Buddy and Joey retire
    Until then, please expect to be beaten by a goal or less every time we play.

  2. Grant Fraser says


    Down this way we are just not keen on banjo solos.

    #Always, and regards.

  3. By the same token, Pete, perhaps it’s the Swans who should find another gear to prove to the Hawks how foolish they were to let Joey go, and to reinforce the fact that their star spearhead chose to come north; he wasn’t forced – or thieved for that matter. And, if we’re talking karma, I just hope that today’s actions don’t prove too detrimental to the future footballing encounters in the “next lives” of the players from both teams – let alone our own!

    Grant: I’m not too keen on the banjo either, mate!

    Thanks to both

  4. I knew we’d lose too, Jan. Shit indeed!

  5. Peter Cahill says

    Jan, as a footy lover, I too cannot abide supporters who smile after my/our team loses. I actually think there is a new type of supporter – Friday night folk who attend the football to unwind and chat and give the game the occasional glance. I saw quite a few at this game, several with wine in hand. They really lack any passion for the game or their team.

    My team won by just 6 points Jan, so don’t despair. You missed mentioning another vital player, Mr Reid, a fine forward. I was glad to see him missing. Some teams do play well against others….I don’t think we’ve ever won against Port over there (could be wrong of course), but they ‘murdered’ the Hawks this year.

    Here’s small comfort Jan…in the 2012 Grand Final Buddy’s poor conversion was a vital factor in determining the winner of that game…I’m still getting over it, despite the ‘3peat’!!!!

    Peter Cahill Hawk member for many many years…

  6. Yes, Marcel! Thanks

    Hi Peter. I didn’t mention Sam Reid because he was already out before the game, but hopefully he’ll be back Friday night. I agree, there seem to be quite a handful of uninvolved people going to the footy these days. I’ll never forget a young woman sitting in front of us at the SCG this year: red and white cap on head, scarf around neck, and I’d estimate she actually looked up from her phone and texting six times throughout the entire game! Couldn’t believe it!

    Don’t worry, I’m still getting over our ’06 GF loss, let alone the last couple: in 2014 (what a thrashing you gave us that day), and especially last year!

    I just have to keep reminding myself of that all important word – perspective


  7. Daniel Flesch says

    Jan , your pessimistic pre-game gut feeling was as justified as it was correct. The result was in the script .
    In their two previous matches the Hawks had a draw and a three point loss . They were due for a third -time -lucky win, while the Swans with seven (?) wins on the trot were due for a loss. Simple as that.
    Though i did read somewhere before Friday that , strangely , the Swans tend to win at the MCG and the Hawks win at the SCG. Even that couldn’t trump (sorry ) the script. You can take comfort from knowing the Hawks won’t be there to disturb the Swans in the Finals.

  8. Not too sure about your last para, Daniel. Haven’t done the sums, but I assume Hawthorn can’t make it statistically? And, as for us: we have to make the finals first!!!

    Let’s hope the script will change sometime soon!


  9. To add a bit of intrigue to Hawks in Swans cloth. It may well be that the decision to move Kennedy on (in retrospect a less than auspicious decision) was made following a balls up hospital handpass he gave Buddy against the Cats. He should have taken another bounce and gone for goal. If he had the Hawks would have beaten the Cats and the Curse would not be part of our story.

    Can I correct my learned friend, The Hon Mr Fraser? We are not keen on banjo solos in team anthems. Other than that they are terrific instruments along with the fiddle, mandolin and pedal steel.


  10. Thanks for the additional intrigue, Rick. Wasn’t aware of the hospital handpass way back then.

    I love most musical instruments actually, including the banjo; and let’s not forget the hurdy-gurdy, ukulele, balalaika, bouzouki, harp, lyre, zither and the countless other magical inventions.

    All the best

  11. Jan, your story speaks it all. poo poo poo poop poop poop poo wee wee wee wee bum bum bum poo poo poo and more poo. BUT we have NEXT WEEK. no more poos or wees or lalas!!!!!!

    Go Swannies

  12. It’s all in the head and skin . Hawthorn got into our heads and under our skins better then we theirs. Maturity in the headspace is needed.

  13. Exactly, Gromodg. That was supposed to be my point! All above the shoulders
    Cheer cheer

  14. Grant Fraser says

    @ Rick – how we are in synch on so many levels. Often do I bring to mind that moment when Kennedy the Youngest could/should have gone for goal against the Puddies but chose to try to squeeze it to Buddy (as he then was) and fluffed the opportunity. I have never heard of anyone else speak of it.

    As for the banjo, I actually love the instrument and plan to take it up for my next significant birthday. So your “track changes” is accepted, with thanks.

  15. Pete Granger says

    I watched all three Kennedy’s play for Hawthorn, with grandad coming from De La Salle (We lived next door). Grandson Joey Kennedy was the biggest recruiting stuff-up in Hawthorn’s history. It was an appalling and unfathomable decision at the time. Of that fabulous 80’s team, he was the only son that had the talent to become a champion himself, and the Hawks gave him away. Extraordinary. I thinks the Swans were the sharpest recruiters in the business back then, and they really outsmarted the Hawks. However, Clarkson and co. have so many credits in the bank, I for one cant be too critical. It has been a wonderful decade or more. But it still really pains me Joey Kennedy is not playing in the brown and gold.

  16. That made me laugh, Polly!

    Grant and Pete: Although your latest dialogue was Hawthorn-based, I suppose all I can say is that we’re very happy to have one of the Kennedy clan!

    And, Grant, having read your comment to Craig about the “hatred” for Hawthorn in the recent years, many Swans fans seem to express this as well. I use the word flippantly, as I don’t “hate” anyone, but when talking Hawthorn of these past years and their dominance over us, that rivalry appears to have developed into far more than a deep-seated, maybe subconscious, “respect for the opposition”, as I imagine Geelong and Hawthorn have for each other.

    It’s different though to the “I hate Collingwood” mantra that’s been going on for yonks. Everyone says it, and it’s purely a habit, but it still carries meaning, nevertheless. Maybe it’s the supporters? I certainly know that my experience with a handful of Hawthorn supporters after the 2014 Grand Final left an extremely nasty taste in my mouth towards your lot.

  17. Pete Granger says

    my philosophy is definitely one game at a time. That is, attempt to mostly erase one’s win or your loss (even a premiership) by the time one arrives at their car. Thats a more than adequate thirty minutes to privately vent or celebrate …unless that is, there is a parking ticket on the windscreen. In which case, the hostility can persist for years.

  18. Grant Fraser says

    @Jan – I think there is a lot to what you say with respect to the supporters.

    I had a particularly unpleasant time last quarter ’84 with them jumping around me on their seats like a barrel of monkeys. Post being “Goldspinked” in the 2001 prelim, I was close to being involved in an incident in the city when about 15 of them in a Conformodore drove past spewing cocky comments, and derision at my Hawks scarf.

    I think it actually started in the MCG car park in ’83. I tried to make an effort to make the Big Dance fun 83-89, so had Mum make me some brown and gold pants to go with my Hawks jumper. Wore them every year. I put gold hair dye stripes in my (then) brunette hair. This caught the attention of a group of red and black supporters having a pre-game bbq. The took great delight in questioning my masculinity, questioning my lineage, and various other unpleasantries. I had EXTREME delight after we destroyed them by 83 points to walk past their sombre gathering apres game, whistling “Yankee Doodle Dandy” at a level clearly breaching OHS laws.

    Bottom line – we love our clubs, and the best thing about winning is not losing.

  19. Thanks for elaborating Grant and Pete. We’re all in agreement, so for the time being Essendon will
    continue to be your no-love-lost side, and your team will remain mine. In the long run, what does it all matter anyway – just a bit of jest.

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