Round 23 – Sydney v St Kilda: Time is called

It was a beautiful Sunday in Sydney. It was sunny and warm and the crowd streamed in by bus and car and foot. It was Pride Round against the Saints and that said a lot of important things about both teams. I was proud of being part of a team that welcomed a broader family.


There were other things as well. Buddy was paying his 300th and his first game in months and Jarrad McVeigh and Kieren Jack were playing their last. There were two Sydney boys who helped make AFL a Sydney game. Alongside were Reg Grundy and Nick Smith; two underrated quiet achievers who were also hanging up the boots.


There was something about those four players. We had brought our kids to watch the Swans since they were babies. They had seen those players start their careers. They had seen them hold the cup high. And now they were going to see them finish. And our kids weren’t babies any more. One had finished university and the other was about to start. It was a story about life really and the realisation that you can’t turn back time, not even for a moment.


Sydney had missed the eight this season but had a young and talented list. St Kilda had shown glimpses but weren’t consistently good enough. And so it seemed to play out in the opening quarter as Sydney blew out to a twenty one point lead by the end of the first quarter.


The Saints pegged them back in the second quarter and tied the scores up before half time and hit the lead in the third. Late in the third, Buddy kicked one and the Swans hit the lead and never lost it. Then halfway though the fourth, as if scripted, McVeigh kicked a great goal from the boundary and then Jack kicked one from just inside 50. For a moment, it was as if someone had turned back the hands on the SCG clock. But no one can do that and the siren soon blew for both of them. You could see the tears running down McVeigh’s face and there were many in the crowd who felt the same. Their past and present team mates carried them off and their new life began.


We had won by over seven goals but that didn’t matter much. I felt a bit privileged to have the Swans in my life, I had seen some great players and some good people and some good values. I had watched them win a couple of cups. I had cemented some good friendships there. I had carried my kids there, later held their hands and later walked alongside them. But time can’t kick backwards and next year is not far away.



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


GOALS: 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


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


Umpires: Dalgleish, Findlay, Gianfagna
Official crowd: 33,722 at the SCG




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