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Round 3 – Carlton v Sydney Swans: A footy win is a tonic

My mother would have greeted me with open arms.

“Jan, you’re home, welcome back to Melbourne!” she would have said, with tears in her eyes.

Alas, she is long gone, as I have been for nearly 50 years.

In many ways, it feels like yesterday that I boarded the Fairstar in Port Melbourne and set off on my life’s journey. I remember crying for a lot of the six weeks it took to reach the White Cliffs of Dover –the sadness of leaving family, the Swans, and a failed love affair overriding any excitement and anticipation that may have lingered below the surface.

Of course, I adjusted, and before long, ten years had passed and I was on my way back to Australia, enjoying what Brisbane had to offer in those heady Joh Bjelke-Petersen days. It became familiar and it was home. Twenty two years later, the Swans beckoned, and the warmth and beauty of Sydney took over. It has, indeed, been a special 20 years in the Harbour City, to say nothing of my footy team’s success.

I love Sydney and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

And, of course, I love my footy team, and this week, two days after driving down the Hume for possibly the last time (although I doubt it), the Swans have brought a smile to my face.


Saturday’s win against Carlton was a must. When did we last lose to them? I don’t recall. A loss was certainly on the agenda. The young Blues boys have improved out of sight this year, and their losses have been hard–fought, close affairs. The young Swans boys haven’t been at their best these past two games, and even diehard Bloods supporters have expressed their fears, as we adjust to changes and new faces.

With 39,290 fans enjoying the sunshine under an open roof at Marvel, Carlton come out firing, inspired by Cripps and Curnow. After an enthralling 11–goal first quarter with the lead changing eight times, the frenetic pace was never going to continue.

The second term, with goals to Buddy, Tom Papley and our young star Will Hayward, sees our lead extend to 18 points. However, the quarter is marred by the sickening head collision of Kade Simpson and Will Hayward, our young gun suffering a badly broken jaw. How brave are these footy players!

When Isaac Heeney snaps around his body for his second goal half way into the third quarter, we’re 31 points up and I’m feeling reasonably confident. But 10 minutes later I’m cursing that we’ve allowed them kick two quick goals just before the siren, giving rise to anxiousness and concern. With both teams kicking 2.5 for the term and the Swans leading by just 15 points, the thought of losing to Carlton again surfaces.

Isaac Heeney marks and goals. Curnow kicks his fourth. Jarrad McVeigh, our inspirational leader across the backline, goes down clutching his calf. Carlton kicks another goal and multiple behinds, and then our man of the match Heeney, with his magnificent new coiffure, kicks his fourth to seal the deal. What a player he is!

We showed on Saturday that we’re starting to gel as a team, and hopefully we’ll continue to improve each week. With some of our better players on the day – Zac Jones, Jake Lloyd, Tom Papley, Callum Sinclair, Jarrad McVeigh, and of course our man Isaac, improving each week, surely we can continue to defy the critics and show that the Bloods’ spirit will continue to prevail.


The day we arrived in Melbourne, 4th April, was my mother’s birthday. It wasn’t planned, but it felt significant. Settlement on our apartment in Sydney was the same day. That wasn’t planned either, but it definitely felt significant. I don’t know why, but do I need to?

Melbourne doesn’t feel like home yet. We’re still to buy a house. We’re staying at my sister’s house in St Kilda, which is just what we have done for years now, when coming to Melbourne for Swans games here. And, typing my Footy Almanac story at my sister’s house a day after the game is also just what I have done for years. Everything seems the same. Except – I won’t be jumping into SWANZ and returning to Sydney tomorrow. I wonder what that will feel like in a few days?

No doubt it will take time to adjust, but if a consolation is needed, next Thursday’s flight to Sydney for our game against Melbourne that night, will surely keep the uncertainties at bay. Hopefully we’ll find time to look at properties, but with flights booked for all of our games until the end of June, we’ll certainly be kept occupied.

Footy wins could go a long way in alleviating any doubts that leaving Sydney and returning to my birth place has been the best and correct decision.

My mother would have had no such qualms.


CARLTON     5.4     6.5      8.9     10.14     (74)
SYDNEY       6.1     9.5     11.9     14.9     (93)


Carlton: E.Curnow 4, Cripps, Murphy, Walsh, McGovern, McKay, Fisher
Heeney 4, Franklin 2, Hayward 2, Papley 2, Parker, Blakey, Kennedy, Sinclair


Carlton: Cripps, E.Curnow, Walsh, Murphy, Newman, Fisher, Jones
Heeney, Kennedy, Jones, Sinclair, Lloyd, Papley, Mills


Carlton: Phillips (corked quad) replaced in selected side by Lobbe, McGovern (hamstring)
Hayward (broken jaw), McVeigh (quad)


Reports: Nil


Umpires: Donlon, Mollison, Power


Official crowd: 39,290 at Marvel Stadium


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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. Luke Reynolds says

    Jan, given the Swans recent 0-6 start where they still made finals (was it 2017??) I think the flag is a huge chance given your 1-2 start!

    All the best for your house hunting, surely you are looking to get out of St Kilda and get in somewhere around your spiritual home of South Melbourne? Though I must let you know Collingwood has been greatly gentrified in recent years…

  2. hey sis i like having you in melbourne town
    go swannies
    go all

  3. Yes, we’re looking around South Melbourne, Luke, – not Collingwood! Not for obvious reasons, but I like to be closer to a beach. Thanks

    Thanks Polly.

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