To visit the Sydney Swans website click the logo below.

Round 23 – Sydney v Richmond: Beautiful scenery, old and new friends and some footy


I’m on the road again. After a weekend in Hobart for the North game, I have taken a leaf out of the book of fellow Swans Almanacker Jan Courtin and pointed my car in the direction of Sydney to attend our vital game against the Tigers to secure top spot.  Part time work now affords me some indulgences.


Heading up the Hume on Wednesday afternoon I am tuned in to SEN. The news of the sacking of Boomer Harvey and his three team mates has broken. The tone of the discussion and talk back would suggest that this is the biggest political decision since the Whitlam Dismissal in 1975. Fortunately I soon lose reception and decide to switch to CDs. Despite the abundance of options including iTunes and Pandora I still like grabbing a few handfuls of CDs for a long road trip. This afternoon’s top pick is the eponymous CD by the Heartache State the latest incarnation of Nick Barker of the Reptiles from the Nineties.   This is an excellent recording, punchy pop rock, great lyrics. I make it to Albury for the day.


My hope of warmer weather north of the Divide has not been realised and when I stop at the submarine in Holbrook for a coffee mid-morning on Thursday it’s only 8 degrees – cold, grey and foggy. Though I’d forgotten how nice the country is up this way in winter, with green rolling hills, yellow splashes of emergent wattle and creeks flowing after recent rains. I’m listening to ABC Riverina this morning, so it’s nice to have a regional perspective rather than the self important ramblings of city presenters.


I’m heading towards Jervis Bay where my Sydney friend Anne has a holiday home at Currarong. Turning off the Hume at Moss Vale you plunge from the tablelands to the coast. It’s a spectacular section of road. Today’s CD of the afternoon is Paul Thorn’s “Pimps and Preachers”. Thorn was a boxer before being discovered as a singer songwriter and once fought World Champion Roberto Duran.  It’s seems that he still has his senses as he writes well crafted stories within his songs which are bluesy Americana, reminiscent of John Prine. Great stuff.


It’s pouring rain overnight and a tad cold and overcast in the day though still nice to be at the beach for a few days.


Heading in to Sydney on Saturday afternoon the weather has turned for the better and it’s a glorious sunny 20 degrees. I have arranged to catch up with another Almanacker Tom for a pre match beer at the Bavarian Beer Bar in the Entertainment Precinct at the old Showgrounds next to the SCG. We are both wary of the Tigers as they seem to have the edge over us in recent times. We are discussing the form of our young guns and just as I am raving about Aliir, Ted Richards passes by on the way to the ground. I am afraid that unless there is a spate of injuries we won’t see Teddy in the AFL again.


Once I am in, I settle in the area that was once the Doug Walters Stand around half forward. The sun is setting across the roof of the Churchill Stand, which makes viewing difficult. However it is easy to see that the Swans are on their game and the Tigers have not shown up. The first goal results from a glorious piece of vision and execution when Aliir hits Rohan with a sweeping handball and Gazza bolts from the wing and goals on the run. From there on it’s a training drill.  Most notable is the Swans willingness to play on, share the ball and use the corridor. Benny McGlynn finds the form we have been looking for all year and hits the scoreboard. By the end of the first half Buddy and Gaz both have four goals and Benny three. The sun has set on the day and on the Tigers lamentable season. The Tigers players are in their board shorts and queuing for the plane to head off on the end of season trip.


My day is made all the more enjoyable at half time when I catch up with fellow Almanackers Jan and Mathilde. Tom also joins us and invites me up to the O’Reilly Stand where there are some spare seats – second level and on the wing, perfect. My new vantage point affords me an even better overview of the carnage that is unfolding below. The Swans continue to dominate and dissect the hapless Tigers. Buddy moves to six and Benny to five goals respectively. Joey, Hannas and Tommy rack up the possessions. While you should never read too much in to such a one sided match, nevertheless it is very enjoyable when it is your team that is doing the shellacking.


The only interest in the last term is how many will Buddy get. It turns out to be seven goals. Bud, Heens and Gaz are pulled off early to avoid injury and the Tigers get some consolation goals. The Tigers have been extremely poor today, however the Swans have been brilliant. Can’t wait for the finals. I adjourn for dinner with Tom, his partner and another friend.


On Sunday I get some culture and visit the Gallery of NSW for the Archibald Prize. Late afternoon I find my way to the Sydney Rowing Club overlooking the Harbour at Abbotsford to see if the Hawks v Magpies game is on the tv. I’m hoping for an upset so that the Swans get an SCG final against the Crows. Though another Swans supporter near me is also an ANZ Stadium member and wants a Hawks win that will deliver the AFL wet dream of an all Sydney final at ANZ. It’s an excellent seesawing finish and my new mate gets his desire. The Swans get the Giants for the first final.


On Monday I point the car back southward and commence to retrace my movements of the preceding week. It’s been an extremely enjoyable sojourn – beautiful scenery along the way, old and new friends and some great footy.



FAlmanac banner sq



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

    Nice journey Keiran. Good to finally meet, after all this time!

    Let’s just hope the young boys keep playing as well as they have and help get us through the next few games, at least.

    Cheer cheer

  2. Kieran less said of the shellacking the better, hence, a great read.
    I know that exact spot where the radio loses reception on the Hume out of Melbourne. It never varies.
    My favourite spot to stop on that route is at Gunning, and a cafe aptly named the Merino Cafe..

    Safe travels

Leave a Comment