Round 22 – North Melbourne v Sydney: The Swans Journey

Round 22 North Melbourne v Sydney Swans – Saturday 20 August at Blundstone Arena, Hobart


“And you, who do you think you are? Polly Farmer!”


“Who’s Polly Farmer?”


So went the exchange between Coach Roos and player Pyke at half time in one of his early games, at least as told by Premiership player Canadian Mike Pyke at Friday night’s Swans pre-game function at Hobart’s Wrest Point Casino. Our MC and number one ticket holder Adam Spencer expertly drew anecdotes from guests Pyke, Chairman Andrew Pridham and Melbourne manager and Team of the Century player, Tony Morwood. A great night was had by all – visitors and Hobart Swans members.


Coming from a different country and code of football was a significant journey and challenge for Pyke.  He did go on to say that subsequent research revealed that indeed Polly Farmer has a Freeway named after him.  “Must have been a great player!” Of course we know that Pykey went on to master many of the nuances of the game and I’m sure his historical knowledge is growing all the time.


Watching Aliir Aliir play against the Roos on Saturday afternoon, having been born in Kenya, I wonder if he is going through the same process of absorbing the rich history of our great game. As each game rolls on it is clear though that he does have an innate feel for the game, his intercept marking, decision making and agility are all first class. It was a joy to see him pitted against fellow Sudanese player Majak Daw.  Hopefully we will see many more African players at the top level in coming years.


Similarly impressive is Rising Star nominee and current favourite Callum Mills. As told by Chairman Pridham, Callum first played at 13 years of age filling in with Pridham’s son’s team. As a junior he was a mid-fielder and forward, however in this his first year at senior level he has slotted in to half back like he has been doing it for five years or more. I think Mr Pridham would like to take credit for Millsy’s impressive skills, courageous marking and precise kicking.  Though I think Callum might just be a born natural at the game.


Many say that it’s the journey that matters not the destination. In footy terms the destination is a premiership, though I’d say the journey thus far this year for the Swans and its supporters has been enjoyable.  In particular observing the emergence of this young talent – Aliir, Mills, Papley, Hewett, Heeney, Naismith and X.Richards have all made significant contributions to the success of the team.


Our young brigade again performed creditably against North on Saturday, with Mills outstanding. I reckon he is a lock for the Rising Star and may even make the 40 man All Australian Squad. The young fellows are distributed well throughout the forwards, mids and backs and often this year our team has been younger and less experienced then some of the lower placed teams who are firmly in rebuild mode. Yet after a hard fought although close win over North we find ourselves on top of the ladder.


I am hopeful, though nervous about the remainder of the year. Our mid-field is elite, we have a couple of super star forwards and a resilient back half. I just hope the young fellows can stand up at the serious end of the season.  I’ll just have to enjoy the ride.


This last weekend in Hobart was certainly a very enjoyable part of this year’s journey – Footy Almanac Lunch, Swans pre-match function, the game itself at Blundstone Arena, albeit a bit cold, and hanging out in the southern capital.


I’m off on another journey by road to Sydney for the last home and away game against the Tigers this week. Should be fun.


Votes: 3 Hannebery, 2 Parker 1 Wells (or maybe Mills)


NORTH MELBOURNE    3.4   4.8   9.13   10.16   (76)
SYDNEY SWANS          5.4   6.8   11.9   12.13   (85)


North Melbourne: Harvey 3, Dal Santo 2, Brown 2, Petrie, Goldstein, McKenzie,
Sydney Swans: Rohan 2, McVeigh 2, Hannebery 2, Hewett, Papley, Lloyd, Heeney, Kennedy, McGlynn


North Melbourne: Harvey, Wells, Dal Santo, Swallow, Tarrant, Macmillan
Sydney Swans: Hannebery, Parker, Kennedy, Mills, Mitchell, McVeigh


North Melbourne: Scott Thompson (groin)
Sydney Swans: Lance Franklin (hip)


Reports: Nil


Umpires: Bannister, Schmitt, Meredith


Official crowd: 16,495 at Blundstone Arena




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:

    Let’s hope it’s more than fun, Keiran! The trip for the Richmond game, I mean.

    Pity I missed the various functions in Hobart; they sounded wonderful.

    Millsy was at the airport on Sunday when we were there. Didn’t feel I should go up to him to congratulate him on his wonderful year, but maybe the players like being told that. Just don’t like intruding on their personal space. He is just so assured and an absolute wonderful athlete. We’re so lucky to have him!

    Cheer cheer

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