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Round 23 – Sydney v Hawthorn: A loss, but our 20th finals series in 23 years awaits!

At 8am Sunday morning, a mere 10 hours after the final siren, my phone rang. “Who the (swear word) is phoning me, everyone knows not to phone me after a (swear word with emphasis) loss!”, I blurt out. I was still in bed, trying desperately not to think about football.

Oh God, I hate losing! Especially to them! And especially at home!

At 11am I decide to watch the replay. After most losses I won’t, but need to see this one. After all, we were ahead for most of the night, only to have done to us in the final minutes, what we did to them earlier in the year at the MCG.

Our games against Hawthorn are like that. Close, bruising affairs, often heralded as Thrillers.

Thriller, be damned, we lost!

However, as our coach stated after the game “I think we played some pretty good footy to be honest, I thought we had a real go……We made a couple of errors in the last quarter and got a couple of things wrong at important times, we didn’t kick as accurately as we should have, so with those things all rolled into one, we sit here as losers.”

That pretty much sums it up.

The much needed rain in drought-declared NSW was promised all week. Saturday was to be the day it fell, but it stayed away. A mild night greeted us as we arrived at the SCG. A night full of promise. A night that would hopefully see us in Melbourne in a fortnight to face the Tigers.

Nearly 40,000 have turned up, with a splattering of opposition supporters making their presence felt when it mattered. I know. We had two of them in front of us. Arrogant and obnoxious. Nothing new when it comes to that lot, I’m afraid.

Our second quarter is superb – 4.4 to 1.2 – following an even battle in the first 30 minutes. Our lead of 19 points at half time is promising, but early goals to Gunston and Puopolo, and no majors from the Swans for 24 minutes, sees a close battle looming. Harry and Paps kick truly, only for Gunston to goal again. 6 points the difference at three quarter time.

I’ve said it before, but our last quarters this year have certainly been a bit of a worry. If only we could go on with it when leading for most of a match – all of it, in this case.

Our forward line tonight has been severely compromised. No Buddy, no Reid, no Rohan, no Parker. Instead we have young kids. Tom McCartin, 18 years of age and 13 games, Will Hayward, 19, and 39 games, Ben Ronke, 20, and 16 games, Ollie Florent, 20, and 31 games, Jordan Dawson, 21, and 4 games, and Robbie Fox, 25, and 12 games. And let’s not forget that Tom Papley is still only 22, and played just 59 games. Similarly, Isaac Heeney. With 70 odd games under his belt, he’s also 22 years of age.

However, when Tommy McCartin marks and goals in the first minute, 35 metres out, we’re two goals up, and the loudest chant of the night rings around the SCG. It doesn’t last long, as Puopolo and Roughead level the scores. I remember at this stage feeling quit sick to the stomach, and extremely grateful that my last meal at was breakfast at 9am.

From then on, Sinclair goals, we’re a goal up. Ollie and Kizza both miss, and we’ve kicked 3 behinds in 10 minutes. 21 minutes on the clock, and they goal. 2 points the difference. They get another (swear word, loud swear word). Joey gets a chance but misses. Bruest then marks and goals for them, from the goal square. Couple of minutes left and we’re 11 points behind. We then miss twice, and that’s it! 9 point loss.

As we all know, injuries can have a devastating effect on a team. And many teams have had them at different stages of the season. With up to half of our best players out at different times this year – sometimes all at once – we have done remarkably well, considering.

And as we head into finals – for the 20th time in 23 years (since 1996), all Swans people can be proud.

And one thing I know for sure, despite this loss, and with a couple of our stars back, we’ll be fighting in true Bloods spirit to do whatever is needed, at home or away, to carry us onto victory.

Go Bloods!


SYDNEY             2.3  6.7  8.8  10.14 (74)
HAWTHORN     2.4  3.6   7.8   12.11 (83)


Sydney: Heeney 2, Papley 2, McCartin, Jack, Kennedy, Florent, Cunningham, Sinclair
Hawthorn: Puopolo 3, Gunston 2, Henderson 2, SchoenmakersWorpel, Breust, Roughead, Morrison


Sydney: Heeney, Lloyd, Grundy, Hewett, Kennedy, Rampe
Hawthorn: Impey, Worpel, McEvoy, Morrison, Shiels, Burgoyne


Sydney: Hannebery (corked thigh)
Hawthorn: Nil


Reports: Nil


Umpires: Chamberlain, Meredith, Harris


Official crowd: 39,660 at the SCG


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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. daniel flesch says

    Hi Jan , Understandable you’re upset at the loss , but i think you could leave the over-generalisations like” Arrogant and obnoxious. Nothing new when it comes to that lot, I’m afraid” out of it . Every club has annoying supporters, while most are fine people just like you . Two years ago in the crowd shuffling towards Anzac Parade after Hawthorn had beaten the Swans, a Swans supporter yanked me from the back by my Hawks scarf which on a cold night was tied in a knot in front. It hurt a bit and I was annoyed and upset , but not for an instant did i think this typical of Sydney supporters….As for your list of Swans injured , it might be noted the Hawks played without Frawley the regular full back and regular CHB Sicily. There’s also the minor (not) fact a valuable contracted player called Cyril Rioli jumped ship early in the season leaving a huge unexpected gap. And like the Swans Hawthorn also had young inexperienced players :Morrisson and Hardwick second season , Worpel seventh game , Nash in his third. Sydney also got double the number of frees Hawthorn got. Gracious in both victory and defeat is a good byword i reckon. Cheers.

  2. Hi Daniel. Ok, I admit, of course not all Hawks supporters are arrogant and obnoxious! Unfortunately the only ones I’ve had anything to do with at footy matches, have been though, and the ones in front of us were all night. So, I was a bit pissed off!

    And sure you’ve had injured players, and have young players, but perhaps that’s up to Hawthorn people to write about that.

    And finally, no I’m often not gracious in defeat, so perhaps I’m not really a nice person at all – certainly when it comes to footy! Thanks

  3. Tony Courtin says

    Jan,current Swans V Hawks rivalry much like Swans v Eagles 10-15 years ago. Will be great to get some players back for Giants game. I’m a tad biased,but will vouch for your fine character,albeit your occasional lapse into primitive behaviour during the football season. Footy can bring out our primal instincts. Soon after we first moved to our relatively remote Violet Town location the neighbours came across one Sunday afternoon concerned for Liz’s wellbeing. Liz reassured them my shouting and screaming was only directed at the TV and was quite normal when I watched Swans games. Go bloods.

  4. Phew! I’m not a bad person after all! Fine character, too! But not when it comes to Hawthorn and footy apparently.

    Thanks Tony

  5. Disappointments are to the soul what a thunderstorm is to the air – Friedrich Schiller

    Bugger that, I’d prefer a thunderstorm any day!

  6. Daniel Saunders says

    We will have Franklin and Parker back in the team soon enough. We may even get Reid and Rohan back, so I still hold hopes very high for us

  7. Nice one, Jude!

    Hope you’re very high hopes, Daniel, come to fruition!

    Cheer cheer

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