Round 4 – Fremantle v Sydney: On The Couch With My Treasured Remote

I’m not in Perth for this big clash – wish I was though. With the recent trip to Adelaide and two forthcoming trips to Melbourne, we decided to give Perth a miss this time.


So, here I am, sitting in front of our very large tele, with my well loved and trusted remote. I really do love my remote. It’s red and white (well it has the Swans logo all over it); it allows me to watch games from beginning to end without those horrible intrusive ads; it enables me to instinctively, and sometimes frantically, press the fast forward button when the Swans’ games get too painfully close (you wouldn’t believe how you can still see what’s actually happening when the x6 has been activated!) and it sort-of relieves the agony, knowing that time is going faster. It also works wonders on the re-wind: how many times I’ve seen that Leo Barry mark and that Nick Malceski goal! Yes, I love my remote – the wonderful inanimate object that it is.


Reminds me of a time, a couple of years ago, when the Sydney Morning Herald was publishing little anecdotes about “automatic out of context responses” in their “Column 8? section. Part of the column read:


“…….. The syndrome comes in many forms. ”At the end of the first quarter of a recent Swans game,”admits Jan Courtin, of Surry Hills, ”I reached for the remote to fast forward the ads. Only problem was, I was at the game.”


So my remote gets a lot of use. The match is about to start and I’ve got it recording. I often don’t watch the chat and speculation beforehand, I just want to see the game, and as I’ve already seen the Lest We Forget and Last Post observances before the big game at the G today, and don’t really want to be reminded, yet again, of the futility and ugliness of all wars, I fast forward to the start of our own big game.


I’m very nervous about these Dockers, especially at their home ground. “We’ve had many successes away from home recently” I remind myself, as my right hand clutches the red and white object, in anticipation, but my heart starts pounding nevertheless. I plonk my favourite Swans cap onto my head and hope it might bring some luck. After all, it has the autographs of some of my all time champions Brett Kirk, Barry Hall and Adam Goodes scrawled across its peak – it’s a magical well worn and loved cap.


One of my sisters is up here in Sydney from Melbourne and even though she’s known me for a long long time, and knows how passionate I am about the Mighty Bloods (I stayed with her after the 1996, 2006 and 2014 GFs so she’s seen those uncontrollable tears) I’m a tad nervous about embarrassing myself in front of her. Only my husband has seen what I’m like watching our games on tele – I’m quite a maniac. I’d much rather be at the games. “I’ll try and control myself today” I think, as the ball is bounced.


I soon realise that there’s really no need for any control at all tonight – there’s absolutely nothing to be excited about in the first half. Pretty depressing really – just 1 goal in 60 minutes of footy, and the entire two quarters are a bit of a blur! “Why is it” I mutter to myself “that the Swans have been so bad in the first halves of 3 of the past 5 games they’ve played? Why? They’re a great team, so surely they can sort themselves out, and rectify this inconsistency in their game.”


At half time, and feeling pretty despondent at this stage, I use the remote for the first time since the start and flick across to the other Fox channel that is recording the Port/Hawthorn game, which I have not yet seen. I must admit that there is some consolation seeing the Hawks being thrashed too. Poetic justice if you like, in some sort of distorted way. Wow, here are the supposed four “contenders” (a media term that I dislike) battling away and my Swannies and the premiers are being flogged!


We watch the Port/Hawks game for a bit and when the second half starts in our game, with my champions 48 points down, I decide to take off my Swans cap – Brett Kirk’s name is on it, so maybe it’s a bad omen now that he’s with the enemy. (How I’d love for him to be coaching at the Swans). So off it comes and I sit it on the head of a sculpture near the couch. Looks very cute!


I’m not really in the mood for “cute” but I need some diversions at this stage. The ball is bounced and within no time at all my Bloods are showing what they’re really made of: determination, aggression, boldness and daring. Suddenly they want to win. Sammy Reid is leading the way, and the mids have come to life. The ball has been in our forward line for most of the 3rd quarter and goals to Jetts, Buddy, Gazza, Luke Parker (still can’t remember his nickname – can someone enlighten me?) and Tippo, and then two misses from Birdy and Benny leaves us 20 points down at three quarter time. No goals to Freo, the Swans in flight, and we’re on our way back.


Gazza, who’s been in everything since coming on as the sub, goals within the first minute of the last quarter. Sammy is everywhere – back, forward, ruck and midfield -and when he gets the ball to Tippo, 50 metres out on the boundary line, my heart, which has been perfectly normal up until now, starts fluttering to a different beat. Tippo goals and we’re only 8 points away from taking the lead. Jake Lloyd is everywhere too: his run from the 50 metre line in our backline to 40 metres out from our goal is amazing. After kicking the ball to Kizza from the backline, who in turn kicks to Buddy, Lloydy then ends up marking it up forward and goals. 3 points the difference.


All sorts of footy is being played out but I’m not really taking it in. I scream “Not Fyfe” several times, and “Not that bloody Fyfe again” when he takes a match saving screamer, and notice that there’s only 8 minutes left. Now it’s all getting just too much! I’m not coping too well at all and can’t bear the tension. I’m sweating, swearing and almost hyperventilating, so I grab the trusted remote and flick back to the Port/Hawks game. My sister exclaims “What the hell is going on, where are the Swans”. I don’t answer. I watch a bit of the other game but am not really taking it in – just thinking of what might be happening in ours. 6 minutes later the remote gets going and we’re back in Perth. We haven’t missed anything, as it’s been recording. We’re still 3 points down and for some reason the score review doesn’t allow Birdy’s goal or Tippo’s actual goal, and the time is ticking down. I grab the remote and press the x6. Hanners kicks into the man on the mark in the backline and Pavlich goals. Bugger! Reg’s pass is intercepted and Mayne goals. Bugger Bugger Bugger!


Ok, we lost. But we didn’t disgrace, in the end. We had more possessions and more times in the 50 metre zone. But we kicked more points than goals and we gave them an enormous start. If we can sort out the starts, we’re well up there with those other “contenders”!


My highlights for the game:

Sam Reid’s last half

Gary Rohan’s input as the sub

Jake Lloyd’s game

Dan Hannebery’s 31 possessions

From Freo’s perspective: That bloody Fyfe!

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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.

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