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Round 3 – Sydney v GWS: Too Close for Comfort – and Not Just the Football!

It happened so quickly, although I sensed something was wrong. Little did I think that, in the following split second, I would be responsible for the death of a living creature.


It flew out onto the road from my left, landing on the right-hand lane of the dual Hume Highway. It hadn’t flown high and its landing was noticeably awkward; one leg appeared hampered. Then, instead of flying out of harms way – further to its right – it came back into the left lane, at the exactly the wrong moment. The thud, presumably straight onto the SWANZ number plate, into a car sitting on 110 kph, said it all. It made me sick to the stomach. And the memory is still with me.


It is the second time I’ve been involved in the killing of an animal. A dog broke loose of its owner’s hold and ran out in front of me. I was driving a large campervan then, back in Brisbane years ago, and it took me months to get over it.


We kill creatures all the time, don’t we? We usually think nothing of the insects splattering themselves on our windscreens, or when we swat a fly or hand-clap a mosquito, so why does it seem worse when the creature is larger? Why does it happen to me, we ask ourselves? Some religious believers would say it’s God’s plan, Buddhists would say it’s karma, atheists might say it’s bad luck, others, perhaps, shrug it off as “It’s just life”. Whatever the reason, it happens, and this week I was involved in killing a lovely, breathing, bird.


I was thinking of this bird as we walked to the SCG this afternoon. Thinking of answers to reasons, why this, why that. Too much thinking Jan, I told myself, think of the footy and Goodesy’s farewell, and think of winning!


I am constantly reminding myself not to get too far ahead of myself, especially when it comes to the Swans and football. I certainly didn’t need to do that today, the Giants did it for me!


With more young players in red and white, than in grey and orange, I realised from the very start that we would be in for a battle. Not that I didn’t rate GWS before the game, especially after their win against the Cats; they have been impressive and were again today, but reality struck in the first quarter. It was a grinding affair, and scoring scarce. After 20 minutes, with so many unsuccessful thrusts into our forward line, Tommy Mitchell kicked our first goal. The sight of Mummy, flattening Tippo, and kicking a goal from a free, just helped to reinforce my disappointment when he was sent packing a couple of years ago. He was such an important player for the Swans, and despite acquiring Buddy, it was indeed sad to see Shane leave us. With Stevie J doing his best to intimidate the opposition in the first quarter, the 13 point lead we take into the next quarter isn’t a true reflection of the closeness.


After Hanners kicks our first for the second quarter, the Giants follow with three consecutive goals, and a point separates the teams. A goal off the ground in the goal square to Harry Cunningham is disallowed and with the scores now level, Tippo marks strongly and puts us six points up. Callum Ward levels the score and our man Hanners relieves the pressure with a brilliant snap, in traffic, to give us a one goal lead at half time. Far too close for comfort!


It is now time for our thanks to Adam Roy Goodes. Of course Pykey is here as well, walking alongside the great man, doing their farewell lap of honour. Images of their heroics shine out at us on the screens, and the 37,045 people in the crowd clap in unison. The 37 in the number of people there, seems appropriate!


Buddy starts on the wing in the third quarter. It doesn’t help that much, as Palmer increases their score, to draw level again. Buddy gets monster-ed by two Giants, and their pressure is palpable. Kieran Jack is performing his clever evasive tricks – twisting, turning, ducking, weaving, and his brilliance results in a goal to Issac Heeney, and a seven point lead. After Callum Sinclair (one of three Callum’s on the field) goals, he rejoices as if he’s been a Swan forever, but the slender lead is reduced when Jonathon Patton shows us why he was a number one draft pick, with a whopping 60 metre goal. Our young guns, Dan Robinson, George Hewett and Tommy Papley then combine to get the ball to Buddy, and his wonderful goal gives us a bit of a breather, leading into the last quarter.


Only 14 points up, it is now time for our boys to show their strengths. Ten minutes into the quarter we’re five goals in the clear, after six-pointers to Buddy – a 60 metre drop punt from the boundary line, a Lukey Parker snap from the goal square and a Tommy Papley 50 metre from straight in front of the sticks. Then it’s their turn. Mummy, with that chest like none other, goals from a questionable free, Kelly kicks a ripper from 55 metres, and a free to Stevie J results in another. With just 12 points the difference, and about ten minutes left, our experience then shows through, and in the end our stars show the way. Goals to Benny McGlynn, Buddy and Tippo soothe our nerves and CHEER CHEER, ringing around the stadium, is indeed a very welcome relief after 120 minutes of a Too Close for Comfort game!


Some after-thoughts: Who will be the unlucky player next week, to make way for Jarrad McVeigh? And, hopefully I won’t be in a position next week to kill a living creature – I’ll be flying to Adelaide!


My highlights from the game:
The Buddy Franklin/Phil Davis contest
Luke Parker’s third consecutive best on ground performance
The other Swans midfielders
Buddy’s goals and influence
Nick Smith and Heath Grundy in the backline
The young first year players – from both teams actually

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. SWANZ denotes the Swans – birds.
    SWANZ collides with a bird – deceased bird
    Swans tragic to fly (like a bird) to view more birds (crows??)
    Swans tragic known to husband as: ‘chickadee’
    Mandatory thrashing and killing of birds this year – hawks
    More birds to thrash and kill every year – magpies
    Birds that fly in from the west that must then fly home defeated – eagles

    Swans tragic has eagle eye for swans’ manoeuvres
    Even though the chickens are counted before they hatch.
    Then again, madder as wet hens are these Sydney-siders.
    Who think a bird in the hand is worth two in the batch!

    But what’s good for the goose is good for the gander
    And is, for sure, something worth crowing about!
    Birds kicking a pigskin? There is nothing grander
    But being wise as owls? Leaves nothing but doubt!

    Just as one swallow does not make a summer
    Killing two birds with a stone is even glummer!
    The swans approach their footy like ducks to water
    And pretend to be geese when they get to September
    Pushing pushing pushing to lay that egg so golden
    Hardly light as a feather, but one to be beholden!!

  2. kath presdee says

    I love the Phil Davis/Buddy Franklin contests from these games. It’s physical, it’s mental, it’s great. We had prime vantage spots for the first quarter and it was immense.

  3. jan courtin says

    Very clever Jude! Thanks

    Thanks Kath. Good that you’ve now got your very own “real footy” team – enjoy the ride!

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