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Round 21 – Sydney v Fremantle: Heave Ho? Not today, Freo!


Going into this game one thing was for sure: Sydney were never going to put their vulnerable ladder position under threat.

After a very miserable and forgettable March and April, May bloomed its way into the cold winter months, and although September still hovers in the distance, the blossoming has almost reached its zenith. The Hawthorn blips have been forgotten, and the Swans are thriving.

But, as this footy season has shown…..

And, I’m not getting carried away at this stage.

After nearly two weeks of freezing conditions in Melbourne, Sydney greeted us on our return with warm sunshine and temperatures in the mid twenties. Walking out without two coats over numerous jumpers is indeed a joy, and with that being the case on Saturday morning, we headed off to the SCG to watch the Reserves game.

After the final siren, with the score reading Sydney: 26.17.173 to Redland: 6.10.46 – a 127 point victory, I wondered whether the senior boys could possibly achieve anything so wonderful, and commented, out loud to no-one in particular, these unlikely sentiments.

Sydneysiders turned up for this game, and surprisingly, quite a few Freo fans made the long trip over. I know, because we were surrounded by them. The O’Reilly Stand is predominantly for Swans members, but we have a row in front of us, and seats adjoining ours and to our left, that have obviously not been allocated to members. As a result, we almost always have opposition people up close and personal. This time there were 16 of them. Apart from a few ironic heave ho’s at times, they remained quiet. Most of their complaints were concerning the costs outlaid to get to watch this!

Despite knowing that the team would not let this game slip from its grasp, I was, as usual, slightly nervous. Contemplation of a loss and the ramifications were just too unbearable.

What is there to say about a 104 point thrashing?

I could just say that we had 22 players out there wanting the ball more than the other 22.

Or I could just say that we had 22 players who pounced and tackled, ran and carried, hand-passed, kicked, marked, tackled some more, helped each other, wanted, wanted, wanted more of everything, and kept at it until the very end, leaving their opponents in their wake.

Before the game one of my heartfelt wishes was for Tippo to excel this week. I wanted him to show the doubters (including Swans people) that he is part of our best 22, and that he can be there when it really counts. I think he did that with his 2 goals, 13 touches, seven marks and a game-high eight tackles, and he can only improve, surely, the more games he gets to play.

Buddy too. After a couple of quiet ones from our champion, his 4 goal and 24 possession game was instrumental, and without Hawthorn to frighten him in the weeks ahead (assuming we make the finals), his almighty presence will hopefully be felt.

Sammy’s sure hands were a highlight, as always. His kicking for goal, not so great. Three relatively easy set-shots could well have helped match the Reserves boys’ result!

Our midfield champs, Parks, Hanners, Kizza, and Heens did just what was expected of them, and our forays into the forward line usually started with their impeccable play. Parks’ three goals added to his brilliance and best on ground performance.

Lloydy’s 26 possessions were exceptional, and captain-for-the-day Ramps continued on his merry way in defence, repelling everything that came his way. He was ably supported by Reg and Millsy.

Macca did was Macca has always done: steadies the ship – which was not needed today – and controls the half back line with his calm, precise footy nous. Oh how I want him to stay in the red and white! Talk of him leaving at year’s end is too horrible to contemplate. Surely the bosses will have him signing with his beloved Swans for just another year?

If negativity can even be mentioned in such an overall performance, I was slightly unhappy (as were the players apparently) in the boys taking a little nap towards the end of the third quarter, resulting in an overall even tussle for those 30 minutes.

I was being extremely greedy. With just one goal on the board at half time, I just didn’t want Freo to score any more at all for the rest of the game. With a 93 point lead after a couple of Swans goals at the beginning of the 3rd quarter, and having it reduced to 80 when the last quarter got underway, my only thoughts were on achieving the 100 point margin.

Jonesy, in his 50th game, wobbles one through the big sticks, then Cam McCarthy reduces their deficit to 81. Will Heywood and Tippo get us to within seven points, Buddy misses, Freo get a couple of rushed behinds, and then, a few minutes before the end, Macca puts us two points from the magical figure. Heens then bombs it out from the centre bounce and Parks has the 39,281 fans cheering as one as he marks and kicks truly.

Not quite the 127 point result from the younger boys in the NEAFL, but a victory by 104 points against any AFL team is worthy of high praise!

Keep it going, Bloods!

Sorry, Freo, no Heave Ho today!

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. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    It was a deliciously warm and pleasant Saturday afternoon, n’est-ce pas Jan? And I loved your ‘red and white nest’ video on the Swans website … Cheer cheer!

  2. Hi Mathilde

    Thanks. There was also an article accompanying the video, which the Almanac will be putting up tomorrow, I think.

    Off to Adelaide Thursday to what, will hopefully, be a happy Friday night. I imagine I’ll be pretty grumpy for the remainder of the weekend there if we lose!! (Poor Marshall!) I do try with the all-important perspective, but at this time of the year………

    Cheer cheer

  3. Jan, what a great win it was! I also have just seen your “Swan’s nest” film on the Swans website and Facebook page. What an amazing journey you have had! Never known a Swannie like you!

    Cheer cheer

  4. Luke Reynolds says

    Jan, a greedy 100 plus point win is a delightful treat when they occasionally come along. Been a while for us Pie fans, eagerly awaiting our next three figure winning margin.

  5. Yes, indeed, Luke! I think, from memory, our last 100+ win would have been against Geelong a few years ago at the SCG.

    And you can’t imagine how I was barracking for your mob on Sunday afternoon. (And that certainly doesn’t happen often!) Apart from half a quarter, they weren’t very good at all, unfortunately. Really wanted Port to lose – for our sake of course – we’d have been 4th!

    Thanks, and all the best

  6. Tony Courtin says

    Jan,a convincing win. Tad boring at times,but wont complain about 104 point margin.. What are your feelings re upcoming Adelaide encounter? We’ve defeated them 5 of the previous 6 games. They are an amazing team,with a potent forward structure. How do we combat Walker,Jenkins,Lynch and McGovern? Will Laidler play?Are you flying over to watch the game? Either way,enjoy.

  7. Gut feeling, Tony? Swans. We’ll combat their forwards as we do other forwards in most games – hopefully!

    Yes, we’re going there on Thursday and I hope I’m a happy Jan for the remainder of the weekend there!

    Go Bloods!

  8. Keiran Croker says

    Hi Jan, it was lovely to catch up for a chat pre-game on Saturday. It indeed was a glorious win, though I think the Dockers lads had checked out waiting for the season to finish. All the same our 22 all had a good hit out in preparation for the big game in Adelaide on Friday night. Hopefully Joey will return. Who will make way? It looks like Nic Newman has escaped any major damage to his knee and may be available.

  9. Yes, it was a glorious win, Keiran. A good one for you to choose to come to Sydney for! Hope the rest of the weekend was enjoyable and that you finished the City to Surf run/walk in one piece!

    With Sam Naismith still out, Tippo will get another run, and if Nic Newman has to sit this one out, maybe Harry or Dan Robinson might come in. We HAVE to win!! And from the weather forecast, Adelaide will be raining most of Friday. Any advantage either way?

    Cheer cheer

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