Round 4 – Sydney v Western Bulldogs: Just a loss



After losing, I rarely feel like putting pen to paper; usually it takes me a day or so to get over a loss, but eventually I find myself sitting at the keyboard, analysing the game, the loss, and the implications. That was, up until this year.


2020 is definitely different. This is not a real footy season, and like it or not, we can’t take it that seriously – surely?


More important things occupy our daily thinking, and in some cases, our daily survival. Worldwide, chaos reigns in one form or another and we are left to interpret and deal with this chaos as we see fit and in a manner that, hopefully, is beneficial to all.


That said, my footy team had a bad loss on Thursday night at the SCG to the tenacious Bulldogs. I watched the game from the comfort of my home – a rarity for me, compared to my usual attendance at all games – which didn’t do anything to alleviate the feeling of disconnectedness from footy that I’m feeling at the moment.


As has happened in the first quarters this year, we were left wanting. Too slow, too haphazard, too inaccurate. Our solitary point didn’t help. Even worse in the next quarter: 1.2 added, to their 3.1 With a deficit of 30 points at half time I thought of going to bed. Simply couldn’t do it.


Some hope in the third, with the ball mostly in our forward half, but alas, terrible kicking: 1.5 was our reward. When our 250–gamer Joey Kennedy kicked a magnificent goal from 55 metres early in the final quarter, and with just 20 points down, a faint flicker got the heart racing, but all to no avail. We simply couldn’t match it with the Dogs. Their ball movement was fast and slick, their leg speed couldn’t be questioned, and their accuracy in front of the big sticks was not left wanting.


Without Papley, our final score could well have been a miserly one goal. He kicked four of our total of five. Our big men up forward failed to score, our backline made too many errors causing nine turnovers and resultant goals, our midfield – despite Joey Kennedy and Luke Parker being amongst the better players – were beaten, our forward line had no structure, and well, to sum it up, we simply had a bad game.


Many teams have had bad games this year. Top teams too. So, can’t read too much into it at this stage.


Lying in bed after the game, I thought of the number of losses we’ve had in recent times at our home ground. The SCG was, for years, impenetrable. We rarely lost there in our 20–odd successful years. But in 2018, six of them were won by the opposition, and last year, a whopping eight. This year’s trend is continuing: two losses from two games. I wonder why?


What I’m not wondering too much about is what might or might not happen with the rest of this year, and fortunately, I’m not doing what I have always done – losing sleep over a loss!


If I cared to keep wondering, it would centre around the words I have read and heard coming from Bloods fans this week: our lack of this and that, players who should be dropped, criticisms of the coaches, complaints about selection, and anger over the loss. What on earth are they on about?


Tell me one team who has had 20+ wonderful years of sustained success and not had to transition at some stage. We have so many wonderfully talented young kids in the team right now, showing continual improvement, and with the help of our more experienced champions, our time will come again, believe me!


Go Bloods!



SYDNEY                           0.1     1.3     2.8     5.9     (39)
WESTERN BULLDOGS     3.2     6.3     7.4     10.7     (67)


 Papley 4, Kennedy
Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli 2, Dale, Naughton, Lloyd, Vandermeer, Bruce, West, Macrae, English


 Papley, Parker, Heeney, Kennedy, Lloyd
Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli, Smith, Macrae, English, Daniel, Crozier


 Naismith (knee)
Western Bulldogs: Naughton (ankle), Lloyd (shoulder)


Played at the SCG.


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Go Bloods!

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, you’ve done well to pen some words, I tried and just couldn’t after the Pies loss on Friday night. I think this first transition in more than 20 years for the Swans will be a relatively quick one, and the SCG will become a fortress once again.

  2. hey Jan yep to look at all the magnificent effort courage and relentless ‘playing’ the swannies are really doing a great job….. albeit losing..
    thankyou for pointing out the strengths of the young players…. of the whole team!
    go swannies!

  3. Neil Anderson says

    Agree with Luke, gutsy effort to write something after a loss. After the first two losses for the Dogs in the Pandemic Championships, I found lots of reasons not to write anything. It was a case of this competition is so compromised, might as well cancel it and look forward to next season. Two wins in a row and it’s more about how good they are to cope with all the changes and interruptions.
    I like the idea of playing new recruits to get them ready for next year and give the fans a preview of the future.

  4. Daryl Schramm says

    Dear Jan
    Your contributions and general muusings I love and can relate to. Your dedication to your team and other important facets of your life is inspirational. Now. About this article in particular. 2020 IS completely different. We cannot take it seriously. Worldwide chaos reigns in one form or another . . . beneficial to all. I could not agree more Jan. As I’m lying in bed I’m trying to distract myself by all the duffed golf shots I generated that day and conversely, those that will get me back next time. The performance of my team has contributed to this self absorbsion but, once again, it is not serious!

  5. Thanks one and all for your comments.
    Luke: Sure was a close one, your game. Watched it all.
    Polly:thanks again
    Neil: Doggies much better this time round, even though the season is so ridiculously weird!
    Daryl: Lying in bed worrying about golf shots is far better than worrying about the world and its chaos, or your footy team’s performance this year! Congratulations!

  6. Julie Cattlin says

    It’s lovely to see that many people read your wonderful articles, Jan. You did mention there wasn’t much to say this week, but you still ‘put pen to paper’. Oops! That sounds very outdated!
    As I’ve said many times before, my only interest in AFL is whether the Swans have won – for you and Marsh and Tony and Sam and Joel and Polly. But I must admit that during this season, I don’t even look at the results. It does feel very much a non-season, even to me. But these are completely new times for the whole world and, unless you’re over 102, you would never have lived through a pandemic like this. Considering the carelessness of so many people in the world (or should I say selfishness!!), it’s encouraging to know that the AFL and other sports are still being played. The world will get back to pre-COVID-19 times and there will be millions of people throughout the world attending sporting events again. Just not sure when. Two years? Let’s just hope it will be sooner.
    Julie xxxx

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