Round 2 – Port Adelaide v Sydney: A Happy Traveller

By Keiran Croker


We have entered a Swans safe haven, the Cathedral Hotel deep in enemy territory in Adelaide. Today’s club pre-match function is at the venue directly opposite St Peter’s Cathedral.  You can see the Cathedral’s spires looming on the skyline at the north end of Adelaide Oval when you watch the cricket or footy on TV.

I flew in early this afternoon from Melbourne with my brother Tony and his son James. Wandering around town, managing pre-game nerves, we see a smattering of red and white in the cafes and pubs.  At the Cathedral a largish group gathers.  If our team can emulate the hunger and desire of its supporters as the finger food arrives we will be in for a good night.

Our compere is Brad Seymour, our hard defender from the nineties and early this century, and newly appointed Board member.  First guest is Steve Taubert, long time ruck coach. Taubs is enthusiastic about the prospects of young rookie ruckman Sam Naismith, though thinks he needs another year in the twos.  He comments that Kurt Tippett will spend more time in the ruck this year. In regard to tonight’s game he is hoping that they can restrict Paddy Ryder’s space to run and jump at the ball. We take a break as Taubs heads off to the rooms for the pre-game warm-up.

Second guest is past player Gerard Bennett who has resided in Adelaide for the last 12 years since leaving the Swans.  Gerard is presented by Tony Morwood – Team of the Century member – with a club jumper with his statistics embossed. Between 1999 and 2002 Gerard played 32 games and kicked 11 goals.  This is a fantastic initiative implemented by the Past Players Group in recent years.  I am delighted to be here for this presentation as Gerard was one of my favourites from that time.  I saw him dominate for Port Melbourne on many occasions, when we had that alignment, however he did not quite secure his place in our best team.

We find our seats high in the Riverbank Stand above the goals in the east pocket. I am a regular here for the Test cricket however this is my first time for the footy.  It is an impressive sight with the ground full of black and teal. Patches and flicks of red and white can be seen like wild flowers popping out from the cracks in granite outcrops.  As the Port players enter the sound is deafening.  Kochie is interviewing a couple of the Ferris Brothers and everyone joins in their anthem, INXS’s Never Tear Us Apart.

Our first surprise is that Adam Goodes is the substitute. Sam Reid goes straight in to defence as well. The game is frantic and resembles chess boxing for the first 15 minutes. In between manoeuvring the ball around between half forward and half back both teams apply enormous pressure.  The deadlock is broken when Jetta, who has been prominent, snaps a beauty from about 40 metres out.  Port responds with a skilful set shot from Schulz deep in the left pocket at our end.  However we continue to apply the pressure and Towers snaps one.  A mark to Westhoff in their goal square is disallowed as Reid’s run at the ball has been blocked. Power supporters don’t agree with the new interpretation, in fact they don’t seem to agree with many of the umpires’ decisions. When we break from defence and find Jetts free on the wing he makes a line straight for goal and provides a two goal lead at the first break.

The intensity of the game does not slackened in the second stanza.  Our usual suspects win plenty of the ball in and around the packs, though space opens up due to the pace of Rohan and Towers up forward.  Buddy works hard and gets on the board, then Towers finds Tippo on the lead after burning off his opponent. Port responds though we manage to keep the lead around 20 points with running goals to Rohan and Hannebery before the main break.

Our constant pressure continues in the third quarter and with goals to Jack, Lloyd and Hannebery the lead is taken out to six goals. We seem to have strangled Port’s supply and silenced the crowd. From here the game is ours. Pre-season talk had Port as strong contenders and doubted whether we could front up again. To do them over on their own ground is highly satisfying.

While our twin tall forwards have not been prolific they have applied constant pressure as has the whole team. Young Heeney has again shown glimpses of great ability and in to the final quarter finds Buddy in the goal square with a beautifully weighted kick. Towers seems more comfortable at this level too and adds another goal. Goodesy gets to run around in the last quarter with the game safe.  Buddy adds to his highlight reel with a soccered goal from deep in the pocket.  As the Power supporters head towards the exits a lilting strain of Sydney, Sydney wafts over the ground.

We close out the game with a highly impressive eight-goal win. We linger to see Teddy Richards chaired off in recognition of his 200th game for the club.  He has again led a tight-knit defence that has closed out the opposition and linked beautifully with our prolific midfield.

A successful interstate trip is closed with a few post game beers.  On Sunday we head over to Glenelg on the tram for a wander along the beach and lunch.  I am already looking forward to our first game down in Melbourne in Round 6 against the Demons and to future trips to Sydney and further afield to see my Swans live.

My votes from a very even performance – 3. Hannebery, 2. K. Jack 1. Kennedy.


Keiran Croker is a lifelong South Melbourne and Sydney Swans fan. He has also followed in his father’s footsteps and followed The Borough. Based in Melbourne, he is an engineer in the field of water supply. He writes for


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About Keiran Croker

Keiran is a lifelong Swans supporter, despite a brief dalliance with the Cats and Tigers in primary school years. Family connections to Port Melbourne and South Melbourne demanded loyalty to the Swans. The long wait for success was worth it.


  1. jan courtin says

    Great wasn’t it Keiran! Maybe we walked past each other at the game, or perhaps at Glenelg on Sunday?. Liked your article. Thanks

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