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Round 3 – Sydney v GWS: The Goodes Times

“I’ve watched Adam Goodes play since he first started, and my only reticence to unlock a tirade of love to the man was that he played for Sydney and not North Melbourne. A mix of almost balletic poise and perpetual forward motion, his style brought out in me, as an opposition supporter, a rare mix of dread, anticipation, and awe.” – Tim Rogers (Aussie rock icon & footy tragic).

 

There can be no more glorious sight in our skies than that of migrating swans. Today, almost forty-thousand have fluttered into the Sydney Cricket Ground. And like the graceful water birds in flight, this match possesses a most romantic appeal – when the sun sets low on the horizon tonight, it will be time to bid farewell to our favourite of the flock – Goodesy. Red and white canvases the concourse and the scene is set.

 

This year, our Swannies have been energised by a company of classy cygnets who have made bidding adieu to past greats just a touch easier. Our youngest and least experienced side for many a winter, has started the new season impressively well and silenced the many doubters. It’s time for the eleven Moore’s in attendance today to choose some new, fresh-faced favourites. Who will it be? Heeney? Mills? Papley? Jones? Lloyd? Mitchell? Cunningham? Robinson? Hewett? Who am I kidding? They’re all beauts.

 

Remember the Goodes Times? In 2003, Adam Goodes was a ruckman. Displaying electrifying athleticism, an astounding leap and explosive speed, he exploited the more cumbersome ruckmen of the time. He won the hearts of many when he took his mum, Lisa to the Brownlow Medal. He also won the damn thing. He won it again three years later – as an onballer – just for good measure.

 

Speaking of ruckmen, Mummy and Tippo square off in the centre to begin a battle royale – Let’s get ready to rumble! The 9th Derby begins in torrid fashion and neither midfield gives an inch. While the Bloods dominate territory, the Giants repel and attack with zeal. It’s also abundantly clear in the stands that Mr. S. Johnson (formerly of Kardinia Park) is not particularly welcome in this patch of old Sydney town. We edge our way ever-so-slightly ahead in the arm wrestle, but these stubborn buggers won’t budge – surely their elbows are off the table?

 

The modern game is heavily scrutinised with focus on disposal efficiency, defensive zones, intercept marking and scoring involvements all ‘in vogue’. How about we focus on this – the contest is still king! Winning the ball at the source is unsurprisingly proving critical to each team’s fortunes. For two quarters this match resembles a street fight – more common on the footpaths of Kings Cross than the luscious turf of the SCG. At halftime, our Swannies hold a one-goal lead, and the vast gathering holds its collective breath for the appearance of our favourite son, for one last time.

 

Remember the Goodes Times? Goodesy broke the Bloods’ all-time games record early in 2012 – in Launceston of all places. Not only did he pass his best mate, Micky O’s mark of 303 magical matches, he virtually won the match single-handedly. I was one of the privileged to have front-row seats to his grandiose game-changing burst. Our sublime superstar rose above the rest on the most momentous of occasions (and we beat the Hawks).

 

Goodesy enters the arena with Pykey and the whole place erupts. It’s emotional, it’s celebratory and it’s truly unforgettable. I’m entranced and jubilant. It feels as though a doting family is wrapping it’s comforting arms around one of its own. It’s a feeling I get each time I’m here with my own, and it’s genuinely wondrous.

 

The contest continues, and a contest this most certainly is. The third-quarter sees the Orange Men briefly take a lead but the bullocking work of Joey, Hanners and Parksy opens the space for Lloydy, Kizza and Tommy with Buddy and his mosquito fleet reigning supreme up front. It also seems that the Enemy have at least three Heath Shaws on the ground, but perhaps that’s just another of the AFL’s ‘equalisation’ measures? We take a two-goal lead into the final break.

 

Remember the Goodes Times? Not just any old Goodes time – the 2012 Grand Final. Enduring the crammed, sweaty, booze-filled hostility of the Bay 25 Standing Room section of the MCG, I watched in awe and admiration as our main man defied the usual impairments of a ruptured posterior cruciate ligament. With agility and athleticism now near-impossibilities, Goodesy crashed his way through packs, inspired through his defiance and snapped the penultimate, momentum-shifting goal. ‘Cometh the moment, cometh the champion’ (and we beat that Hawthorn mob).

 

The final stanza starts and Buddy goes BANG! Parksy goes SNAP! The Plumber goes WOOSH! The westerners kick a couple but Tippo and Benny seal the deal for our bodacious Bloods and the faithful hit party mode. We love a good party here. We love a good singalong too, and we all belt out our favourite tune. It’s still not the same without Goodesy, but these are exciting times to be a Swan.

 

Remember the Goodes Times? Adam Goodes is a community champion and an indigenous inspiration. Rarely, if ever, has the game possessed such a voice for cultural change. Australia needs that. Rightly crowned Australian of the Year in 2014, his stance against racism promoted critical and overdue conversations around the country. His warrior dance in last year’s Indigenous Round continued to educate, and is one of the most iconic moments in the history of Australian Football. We stand with Adam.

 

The annual Moore family sojourn to Sydney is always special. It’s logistically difficult at times, but like the Sydney Swans, and like our dual Brownlow, dual Premiership winning hero, we always find a way. The chance to pay homage to a true inspiration, synonymous with our congregation’s devotion to our team meant this one would not be missed.

 

Thank you Adam Goodes – for everything.

About Joe Moore

Learned the art of the drop-punt from Derek Kickett as Jamie Lawson watched on. And thus, a Swan for life. @joedmoore1979

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