Round 5 – Sydney Swans: The 2017 Isaac Newton Cup

Greetings Tipsters

Numbers, numbers, numbers. The random coincidence of numbers in football scores is a constant source of joy. Essendon kicked 15.10.100, my alltime favourite score. Monaros v Swans managed 15.15 to 9.9, a lovely set that. At one point Monaros were 11.11.77 which is beautifully poetic. If only Swans had been 7.7.49 at the time, I could have died a happy man.

Ah, yes, the Swans. It’s time we took them to the cleaners. Or at least turned the two-stroke blower of truth onto them and held the trigger in hard until all the dust has been blown onto the lawn – where it will be collected by the mower, old gardeners’ trick, that – and all that will be left is the weeds of the SFC reality poking through the pavers of the expectations.

Zip-five is not what we’ve come to expect of the Swans. Sure, they’ve had some injuries, Rampe tripping on a chain across the carpark entrance being superbly emblematic of Season ’17 thus far, but they’ve had key players like Parker and Hanneberry way, way down on form.

Question being, has losing two Grand Finals in three years, when they were favourites for both, caught up with the players and knocked some degree of Red Hot Go out of them?  There’s a peculiar historical context here, the Swans lost three straight Big ‘Uns after the 1933 flag. When a player like K Jack, your typical hardworking Swan, drops off the pace in a serious manner and, oops-a-daisy, he’s got an injury so he will be ‘rested’, you gotta ask, is he put out by not being a captain, is he put out by his forward role?

What about McVeigh, whose brother works for Monaros, he’s been injured, injured, injured. For the most part, the Swans have fallen off a cliff, not unlike the Hawks. Finals are vastly more intense and hard-fought, play three or four every year while cellar-dwellers are on the booze in Bali, it’ll catch up with you. That’s the physical side of it.

Mentally, psychologically, what effect does it have when you get one hand on the mountaintop, only to get knocked off by an avalanche? In 2014, Hawthorn built their season around beating Sydney in the Grand Final. Swans didn’t know what hit them that day, it was painful to watch, it cut them deep. Sateve, last term of the ’16 QF was on teev before the match, painfully obvious that Swans’ current malaise began that day. Monaros bamboozled them as Dogs did a few weeks later – Aliir played a beauty in the QF, his instincts gave him an understanding of the Monaros, he missed the GF.

How about the coach? Swans have been a really frustrating team to watch cos once they get forward the tactic and strategy is ‘kick long to a contest and hope for the best.’  They’ve been doing it for years, bloody clueless, esp when you see ‘em against a sharp, fast team like Monaros. There’s no big thinking happening in the coaches box.

Get this, Eade got Swans to a GF in his first season, Roos to PF in first and a flag in third, Longmire a flag in his second. Clearly, SFC should change coaches every three or four years, I’m up for the job. I wouldn’t see the week out but it’d take care of my credit card debt and buy a super comfy double ensemble bed and give the players something to talk about for the next several years.

SFC decided to tank this season months ago. How else to explain it? Makes sense to me, I can see it…




Eight men in polo shirts and slacks, papers and pens scattered across the table, an unwatched powerpoint show blinking on the wall, tired and bitter after a long day’s forensics.


Look, mate, look, we shot our best bolt last year, the players, the players are bloody tired and buggered and we aren’t gonna beat Gee Dubya flipping eSS let alone win a flag so let’s take the year off, give the older blokes a rest, play some more kids and aim for a shot in ’18 or ’19?


But what about the fans?




Luke and Dan have been training like pigs in slop, so what if we miss the finals…


I’ve been studying Principia Mathematica and I’ve discovered an insight into the radii of an oval football and…


Yeah, good onya Socrates, yeah, so, we take the year off, get the early mark, get some time into the kids, reload for next year, what ya reckon?




Sounds good to me.

So the bisection of pii against the aerial weight…

Hey, let’s tell em that someone tripped over in the carpark…

Jeez, I’m looking forward to that September holiday already, I’ve always wanted to see Vermont in the fall


Just because it didn’t happen, doesn’t mean it isn’t true.


Cheers, Tipsters


P&C, A Stop Privatisation Of Footy Production, a division of Trans-Dementia Enterprises.

Brought to you with the assistance of the drop-dead awesome Sun Records loop I found on utoob, onya TruthFoot.




About Earl O'Neill

Freelance gardener, I've thousands of books, thousands of records, one fast motorcycle and one gorgeous smart funny sexy woman. Life's pretty darn neat.


  1. I like the way you think Earl. Bit of hard won life savvy.
    I had a piece half written on Monday called “Stage Fright” (using the Robbie Robertson and the Band) song as a starting point – about my Eagles. Referencing Greg Norman, Jana Novotna and Sergio Garcia.
    Have put it in cold store until after the Derby (fingers crossed it stays there).
    We underestimate the mental/emotional toll of professional sport at the very top level – as you say about the Swans recent GF losses. Reckon your Reservoir Dogs conversation happens implicitly inside a lot of changing rooms, or inside a lot of skulls (Hey Tyrone 1 – do you think we should give this shit up?; Tyrone 2 – don’t wanna be a quitter; Tyrone 3 – this is no fun; Tyrone 4 – but landscape gardening sounds like a tough gig – reckon I’ll ring Earl or Rulebook for advice; Tyrone 1 – will Rulebook just bag me about the Tigers???????…………..)

  2. John Butler says

    Earl, if they’re going to tank I hope they start tomorrow arvo.

    Might go looking for that Sun Records loop.


  3. Dan Hansen says

    That’s exactly how it happened. My uncle’s best friend works with a bloke who knows someone on the Swans board. The tanking was pre-ordained.

  4. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    Earl, I said to the Cob after that first loss to Port Adelaide, that I wondered if 2 GF losses in 3 years was just too much to carry. I said I had a feeling it was going to be a bad year …
    Yesterday looked utterly will-less let alone winless.
    At least, now, post your wikileak, I’m looking forward to 2018!

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