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Round 23 – Sydney v St Kilda: Pride, and the time to say goodbye (you couldn’t write this script any better).

By Caspar McLeod.
Sydney Swans Vs St. Kilda Saints.
S.C.G. 24/8/2019.


A day no Sydney fan will ever forget, regardless of the result. For today, us in the red and white say goodbye to two of our favourite sons. Players who will always stand out in my memory. Jarrad McVeigh for his bravery playing shortly after the tragic death of his and his wife Clementine’s first child, Luella. That was the game in which the Swans broke a couple of long streaks against Geelong (well, some call them streaks. I call them droughts). The photo of him and Clementine and second child, Lolita-Luella, embracing after the 2012 grand final victory always brings a tear to my eye. In said game, Kieren Jack’s goal in the final quarter encapsulated the footy club so well. His own journey marked with difficulties surrounding family as well. But today is a celebration of their skill. For they, alongside fellow retirees Heath Grundy and Nick Smith, made us who we were and who we are today.


Oh, it is also Buddy’s 300th game. What an incredible talent. Aliir plays his 50th game. Another wonderful up and coming superstar at the Swans. Our future is in safe hands.


As if they weren’t reason enough, it is also the annual pride match. The now annual game between the Saints and Swans that show that everyone can come and enjoy the footy, and participate in the game. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate such a message of inclusion.


As for St Kilda, they have a couple of celebrations, too. Armitage has said he’ll retire, and Rowe plays his 100th, and last game, today.


The season itself? It was one a long time coming for Sydney. Bad September losses in the last two years signalled we were no longer the premiership contender we had been for so long. I don’t mind this year. Only the second time since 2002 the Swans are out of September. I’ll take that track record. And with such competitive showings, there’s no reason we can’t give the top eight a real shake next year.


First quarter. Saints get the first through Bruce. They then get a point via a rush behind. Swans reply through Papley. Saints by a point early. Blakey gets his first and gives us the lead. Good game early. McCartin kicks our third. We lead by 11. Very good start. Dunstan swings and misses. Us by 10. McVeigh gets a touch early, much to the applause of the locals. His disposal leads to another goal to Kennedy. Saints get another behind. We lead by 15. They get another point. We lead by 14. Rowbottom kicks his first. We now have five and lead by 20. Saints get another behind. Wow. We lead by 19. Reid misses. We lead by 20 once more. Buddy kicks his first. Get around him! They do! 26 point lead. Membrey finally kicks their second. 20 point lead to the Bloods. Buddy just misses his second. 21. And that is how the opening ends.


Second quarter: Saints get a point. 20 point lead to us. Saints get their third goal soon after thanks to Bruce. Sydney by 14. Not much else happens early, except for the odd touch by Jarrad McVeigh or Buddy. Saints get another behind. They’re inching closer. Ben Long kicks what sounds like a great game. Seven-point lead to the Swans, who seem to have stopped. Dunstan kicks a point. The lead is a goal. No its not. Ross kicks a goal. Scores level. COME ON, SYDNEY! McVeigh takes a mark inside 50. The crowd applauds. Sadly, he just misses. We lead by that point. Saints get a behind as the siren sounds. Scores levelled at half time.


Third quarter. Scoreless beginning to the half. That is, until the Saints break the deadlock thanks to Steven. Saints by a goal. Sydney need to lift. We get the response we are looking for through Captain Kennedy. Scores all squared. Bruce hits the post. Saints by a behind.Another point. St Kilda by two. Hannebery (welcome back to Sydney, Dan) just misses. The ball goes down the other end, and ends up in Buddy’s hands. He gets his second, and puts us in front. Sydney by three. McCartin (Sydney) kicks one to extend our lead. Suddenly, we are up by nine. Parker adds another. 15 point to the good! McCartin gets a gift from Ronke. We lead by 21. We extend that lead by a behind. Ross pegs one back for the Saints. Swans by 16. And that’s how the quarter finishes.


Fourth quarter. The clouds start to crowd around this Melbournian household as Papley kicks his second. We stretch the lead to 22. Saints peg one back by Steele. Sydney by 16. Membrey just misses. Swans by 15. Buddy hooks a shot, taking us out to 16 points once more. Jarrad McVeigh kicks a goal. The SCG goes crazy. It’s a thing of beauty. Swans by 22. Parker, who’s been everywhere, takes what sounds like a very strong grab. He converts. Swans by 28. This is an awesome quarter to be a Sydney fan. I bet though, as Buddy kicks his third, Brett Ratten isn’t enjoying this so much. 34 points is the lead. Battle kicks a point. 33 point lead. Menzel increases it back to 34. We concede another point. 33. Rowe, in his 100th, misses. 32 point lead to Sydney. Kieren Jack gets in on the action. Wonderful moment. Wonderful afternoon. He kicked it from 45 metres out. 38 point lead. Papley just misses another one. 39 point lead. Buddy kicks another. 45 point lead. He’s kicked four. In this quarter, McVeigh, Jack, and Buddy all kick majors. You could not have written a better script.


Siren sounds. Thing of beauty. Grundy and Smithy on the field after the game in their suits. Brings a tear to my eyes. Sydney by 45.


Thanks for the memories, guys. Best wishes for whatever comes next in life. Bring on the new decade, a new era, and a new season!


SYDNEY             6.2      6.3        11.4     17.7 (109)
ST KILDA            2.5     5.9        7.12      8.16 (64)


Sydney: Franklin 4, McCartin 3, Kennedy 2, Papley 2, Parker 2, Blakey, Rowbottom, McVeigh, Jack
St Kilda: Bruce 2, Ross 2, Membrey, Long, Steven, Steele


Sydney: Kennedy, Parker, Dawson, Mills, Lloyd, Franklin
St Kilda: Hannebery, Dunstan, Ross, Marshall, Steele, Clarke


Sydney: McCartin (quad)
St Kilda: Nil


Reports: Nil


Umpires: Dalgleish, Findlay, Gianfagna


Official crowd: 33,722 at the SCG


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


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About Caspar McLeod

Third Culture Kid at Heart. Grew up in Asia, discovered footy at age 9. AFL has since been my burning passion. Ask me who were the winners all the grand finals between 1938 and last year's decider, and I'll be happy to tell you. I'm a footy nut with a passion for writing and acting. All though I love writing and acting, during the footy season, AFL is my true passion. Waiting ever so patiently for the day when Essendon Next win the flag.

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