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Round 6 – Geelong v Sydney: There are wins and there are wins!

Footy wins can raise the spirits, they can be a fillip when things around you aren’t going as well as you would like.


And this month has been a testing one for the Courtin clan. August has traditionally been the month that has reminded us of sadness, death and despair, but this year the astrological chart had decided on April.


A sister had to fly to Italy to be with her partner who was dangerously ill in hospital, and she is still there as he fights for his life; another brother-in-law spent time in hospital in Melbourne with pneumonia; a great niece was also in hospital with complications from a miscarriage; another sibling was rushed to hospital the day of our game against Adelaide ten days ago; and a couple of days ago we attended the funeral of another son-in-law’s mother.


I drove down to Melbourne the day after our loss to the Crows, and arrived back last night, Monday. I am exhausted, to tell you the truth, but I am happy. Happy that the clan is still intact and happy that the clan’s footy team won on Saturday. (Well, one of the clan, the “traitor” in the family, wasn’t too happy, as her Cats faded dismally).


After our loss to Adelaide (which, by the way, didn’t surprise me in the slightest, as my gut feeling was they were always going to win after their surprise loss to Collingwood the week before), I also knew we would do “an Adelaide” the following week against Geelong. That’s what good teams do. And even when we were told that Buddy, Hanners and Towers would be missing, I still strongly believed we’d get over the Cats.


After a wonderful first quarter, with Callum Sinclair leading the way in the ruck and around the ball, and the Swans’ pressure back to its best, our 4.6 to their 2.3 could well have seen a greater margin had a couple of set shots gone through the big sticks.


The first half of the second term is all Swans, even though we couldn’t manage a goal, and when Geelong forges ahead with 4.4 before the main break, and holds a two goal advantage, my belief has not swayed.


The third quarter is pretty dismal for the Bloods, just managing one goal to their three, and most Cats fans are already celebrating a victory when the siren sounds. Their 22 point lead appears insurmountable. But not to me.


With testosterone flowing from the three quarter time melee, this game is now all about the following 33 minutes of footy. Swans footy at its best: footy planned around our small forwards – young kids – who, with our leaders showing the way, give everything they have. They have to – there is no Buddy to rely on.


Robbie Fox starts it off, taking a great grab up forward, for Goal 1. Two minutes later, Heens misses, but Jonesy kicks truly from 45 metres on the run, for Goal 2. With Sinclair back to his first quarter brilliance, and Joey forcing himself on every contest, the 9 point deficit increases to 15 when our backline allows them to snap a goal in the goal square, but in no time, as we find more space and clean hands, the ball lands with Will for Goal 3. Robbie Fox is in amongst it again for his second and our Goal 4. Still two points down. With the clock at the ground showing 24 minutes and the ball deep in our forward line, Paps, Harry and debutant Ronke combine to put us in front with Goal 5. We’re now five points up!


“How much time left?” I ask no-one in particular. It’s getting so, so tense, but I just keep reminding myself of my gut-feeling belief. Frenetic minutes follow as the ball hovers around their goal square but they only manage two points. We’re four points up. Back in our forward line, Heens works his magic, collecting the ball on the boundary line, kicking it to Ollie, straight in front, for Goal 6. Ten points up. “Where’s the bloody siren?”. The clock is on 30 minutes when Will kicks truly for his third and the sealer, our Goal 7.


Remarkable stuff! The red and white rise as one, hugging and cheering. They don’t seem to believe it. I do!


Just before the end, the big screen shows one of my all-time favourites, Kirky, Dean Cox, John Blakey and Rhyce Shaw all smiling joyfully, as John Longmire sits behind them, hand over mouth, as intent as ever.


The siren sounds and our little pocket of Swans supporters goes wild. The song is played over and over and we sing to our hearts’ content. We are a happy lot!


We spend the night in Ocean Grove with my “traitor” sister and her family, celebrating her birthday, celebrating the end of a difficult month, and celebrating life. And the Swans among us – definitely the minority in this household of Cats people – celebrate our own victory. A victory to be remembered, against a team that, surely now, can call the Swans their nemesis.



GEELONG 2.3 6.7 9.8 10.9 (69)
SYDNEY 4.6 4.7 5.10 12.13 (85)

Geelong: Parsons 2, Hawkins 2, Gregson, Stanley, Kelly, Menegola, Dangerfield, Selwood
Sydney: Hayward 3, Fox 2, Florent 2, Ronke 2, Parker, Jones, Rohan
Geelong: Kelly, Duncan, Selwood, Menegola, Hawkins
Sydney: Kennedy, Sinclair, Lloyd, Heeney, McVeigh, Mills



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. Nemesis? We did knock you out of the finals last year.
    And were missing: Menzel, Cam Guthrie, Ablett, Cockatoo, McCarthy, Horlin-Smith, Selwood S, H Taylor, Henderson, Parfitt. 10 players all in Cats best side. (Except perhaps H-Smith who was injured early and left us a man down.)
    This year it’s about the second half of the season.

  2. hey jan great story in its rythm. a true victory
    uplifting and exciting story jan thanks ever so
    Love Polly, from Italy xx

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