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Round 22 – GWS v Sydney: Never doubt us

GWS v Sydney

4:35PM, Saturday August 18

Sydney Showground Stadium



Last week I was pumped after our win. I wrote an article called All you doomsayers, how dare you doubt the mighty Bloods! This week’s could well have been the same, or Swans slay Giants, or perhaps, What a win! or We’re in the finals! I also have a liking for A Giant scalp.


But Never doubt us has an all-encompassing, deep and meaningful connotation.


After a slightly shaky start after the bye, and a few hiccups against the Suns and Bombers, the mighty Bloods have shown these past three weeks exactly why we, the supporters, other clubs, the media, and the general football-loving public should never doubt us. Never, ever.


I was brought up to be polite, and considerate. It was also instilled in me that if I didn’t have a kind word to say, then say nothing.


It has worked, in part. I try to be understanding and compassionate and I’m still practising, but when it comes to the opposition footy team, then I’m afraid my parents would feel they had failed. Failed miserably.


And it’s not just the opposition. You should see and hear me behind the wheel of a car! Impatient. Mean. Irritable. Angry.


Well, that’s what I can be like at a footy match.


For years and years, the opposition copped it. Collingwood featured prominently for decades, then Hawthorn (and that still exists). However, our opposition today, and hometown rivals in the making, now also ranks highly on the least-loved list. But today I am determined to be on my best behaviour.


Arriving early at the ground for the NEAFL game, Sydney’s forecast of a warm 23 degrees, had us leaving coats behind. By 3:00PM the wind is howling, and we are freezing. Sunday’s forecast has arrived early. Our section of the ground, on the wing, suffered most, and even the Swans injured players sitting in front of us, had their hoodies up and arms folded.


They remained that way for most of the first half of the seniors. Not much clapping required, despite Buddy’s two goals, Will Hayward and Tom McCartin’s combining for a goal, Ollie Florent’s goal-keeper’s skills in preventing one, Ben Ronke’s almost-goal, and Luke Parker’s influence. Our 13 point deficit at quarter time, increases to 15 by half time. Dylan Shiel has been excellent for the Giants, and the Buddy/Davis battle intriguing, as usual.


At half time changes are needed. The wind is swirling, and we’re still freezing. We pack our red and white cushions and head off for some relief. Standing room only on the opposite wing has us amongst the opposition. Not a good idea, I think to myself. My behind-the-wheel antics will certainly be tested, especially if we continue to be behind on the scoreboard. But, as we hover around the pie and sausage roll counter, its warmth emanating into our chilly bones, I determine to behave myself and stay silent.


When Himmelberg goals at the start of the third term giving them a 21 point lead, my resolve is tested. However, ten minutes later, momentum gradually turns. With Phil Davis now playing up forward, away from Buddy, we start to apply the pressure. Our ball use is cleaner, and we’re running. Running, passing, and peppering the goals. 0.6 is the result, and at this stage I’m hoping the heading for this article won’t be What could have been. Buddy allays my fears with a magnificent 50 metre goal, and we’re just 12 points down.


Our last quarters have been a worry this year. Unlike the Swans of old, when we’d usually go on with it in the final term, we’ve looked slightly vulnerable these past few months. Our heroics in the last two games against Collingwood and Melbourne happened in the final quarters, but we’d been able to hang on to three quarter time leads in those. We needed to get back to Swans of old.


And did we ever! Six magnificent goals to one. Momentum from the third term continued. Buddy, getting clear of his new opponent, marks and goals from 55 metres, for his 4th. Then, he’s at it again, wiping aside Finlayson, he centres beautifully to Luke Parker, 40 metres out directly in front. Goal. One point the difference.


We’re finding space, running hard, tackling is up, and pressure immense. Kieren misses. Isaac marks strongly, misses. One point ahead – we lead for the first time. Jake Lloyd marks, misses. Joey, head bandaged – in true warrior style – marks 40 metres out, misses. Oh dear! Come on Bloods, I can’t write about a loss! We need this win!


Then Himmelberg marks for them, hits the post. Relief! Kieren, having a great game, gets a free, 35 metres out on the boundary. His face on the big screen tells the story! Even he seems surprised when it sails through! Eight points up. The majority Swans crowd erupts.


With maybe five minutes left, Bud marks, gets a 50, and kicks his 5th. He marks again, and passes another to Luke, on a slight angle 45 metres out. Great goal! The Giants goal, but it’s too late. As the siren approaches, our young Will runs onto a bouncing ball, kicks it off the ground, and in it rolls. An amazing win, by 20 points.


As the siren sounds, Marshall and I rush around to the cheer squad area, and down to the front. Holding my GO BLOODS banner as high as possible, I jump up onto the second row seat, on the aisle. The players are waiting for the presentations, and I’m one happy Jan as I wave the banner.


Then, I feel myself falling, going backwards, and all I want is to be grabbed, before the final landing. But no-one is listening, or watching. All eyes are on the players and all voices are rejoicing. Suddenly I’m on the deck – embarrassingly. I’m helped up.


My thoughts are with my team. How wonderful they have been in getting back to their best, and with so many injured players still out. How good Buddy was in winning his deserved Brett Kirk Medal, and how wonderful our senior players were tonight, in ensuring not only a victory but a place in the finals, yet again.


My sleep is interrupted throughout the night. I ponder whether to go to St Vincent’s Emergency Department, but the thought of explaining that a 70+ year old woman wanted to – did – jump up onto a precarious unbalanced seat, all for the love of her footy team, is a good enough deterrent. So I take more pain-killers and think about Hawthorn next week, and what the future might unfold for my beloved Swans. And, the fact that I’m still alive!


Go Bloods!


GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY      3.3   6.6   7.9    8.12 (60)
SYDNEY                                                     1.2   4.3   5.9   11.14 (80)

Greater Western Sydney: Cameron 2, Himmelberg 2, Lloyd 2, Shiel, Bonar
Sydney: Franklin 5, Jack 2, Parker, Jack, McCartin, Hayward

Greater Western Sydney: Shiel, Taranto, Ward, Coniglio, Himmelberg, Tomlinson
Sydney: Franklin, Parker, Lloyd, Kennedy, Jack, Cunningham

Crowd: 21,433

This article was first published on the Sydney Swans website.


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. You didn’t?????

    Standing on a seat that, slightly off centre, sends the seat folding backwards and throwing you back with it….. I thought only people with youth on their side would do that…… all I can say is thank goodness the swans won – otherwise you would have been far too grumpy and unpleasant – look out the opposition.

    If you must stand on something after a game to wave and cheer and celebrate, at least bring your own sturdy stool that doesn’t have hinges and articulations that, otherwise and predictably, send you flying!!!

  2. Tony Courtin says

    Another magnificent effort by the bloods. An incredible roller coaster season,read teams jostling for a position in the 8,is not done yet. Assuming my quick calculation is correct,at this point,first week of the finals we could be playing any of the other 7 finalists. Go bloods.

  3. Keiran Croker says

    Oh Jan, we have already lost too many key players … Reid, Melican, Mills. We can’t afford to lose J.Courtin! I hope you are ok … no breaks or sprains?

    I’m usually a total optimist and pretty much always think we can win. However, I must admit that after the losses to the Suns and Bombers, I was wavering. I could foresee a sad end to the year. The key to the bounce back, other than Bloods grit, has been the return of McVeigh, Jack and Hennebury. When they are fit and firing, we still badly need them. And of course Buddy has lifted.

    I think we will beat the Hawks, so a top 4 finish gives us a chance. Who would have thought that 3 weeks ago!

  4. Thanks, Jude, Tony and Keiran.

    So true about Kizza, Macca and Hanners, Keiran. So vital, and they’ve been amazing these past couple of weeks. Your first para is very funny, Keiran! And yes, Tony, sure has been a roller coaster of a season.
    And, Jude, I still act like a kid when to comes to footy, obviously! Have now learn my lesson.

    And the fall! As I do when we win, I want to get up higher and higher in my excitement, and I’m just drawn to the seats. Done it many times before at all the grounds, but these seats were a different shape and configuration. I just fell backwards but slightly to the left (with legs still on the seat!), as I landed on the concrete (not the seat behind) but instinctively must have put my left arm to protect the head. Thank God for the arm – even though it’s painful and bruised and limited in motion, but it definitely protected the head.

    More ligaments and tendons, than structural, I think. But as long as I can drive to our first final, wherever it will be, then I’m happy!

    Go Bloods and a big Cheer cheer

  5. Luke Reynolds says

    Doesn’t a fit Buddy make a difference! Wonderful win by the Swans in a thoroughly entertaining game.

    Hope the Swans give you reason to get up on the seats this week after the game!

  6. Julie Cattlin says

    Now I hear the results from Copenhagen, and I smile again. On our trip we’re the only ones who have the internet all the time. So two people ask me to check on the scores – Collingwood and Melbourne. Was happy to give them the good news, but very, very happy to hear about the Swans. Well, actually, happy for you, Jan.
    I was told that one should not get up ladders over 55! And climbing up on seats is the same really, except when I get up the ladder, I’m not completely hysterical with happiness over a football game! Age doesn’t stop us Courtins from climbing up anything!
    Great win, Jan.

  7. Thanks Luke and Julie.

    I’m going to have restrain myself in future, Luke. NO MORE JUMPING UP ON SEATS!

    And yes, Julie, absolutely agree: Age doesn’t stop us Courtins from climbing up anything! However, we need to get the message across to brother Tony!

  8. Tony Courtin says

    Jan,will ignore your most recent comment re my futile attempts to defy gravity and instead focus on the mighty bloods herculean efforts to continue defying the so-called experts. Go bloods.

  9. Will do as commanded young brother. However, if I’m to stop climbing onto flip-back chairs, then surely your latest ladder climbing exercise has taught you something!

  10. Jan, have just finished reading your article and was totally enveloped from start to end. I relived all those moments all over again, even the anxiety I had in that last quarter. I also must mention the laughs about your dislike list, your antics behind the wheel and your after match entertainment down near the Cheer Squad. It was only last year, I did the same at the Richmond game at the G but I got saved. Are you sure we are not related?? LOL Thanks once again for a great article. I look forward to the next one in anticipation. Thank you so much for the mention of the Banner.GO BLOODS!!!

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