To visit the Sydney Swans website click the logo below.

Round 6 – Sydney v GWS: “Why do you bother?”


Sydney v GWS

7:25pm, Saturday April 27




“Why do you bother?” came from across the room.

“Why do I bother, what?” was my retort.

“Driving all that way to watch us keep losing”.

“What has losing got to do with supporting my team?”

“Well, you know….”

And so it went, backwards and forwards, until I decided not to waste any further energy on someone who had no idea about the loyalty and love for a footy team. Someone who, although saying she was a Swans supporter, just didn’t understand that winning or losing wasn’t the real point.

Six weeks earlier, as soon as Marshall and I knew we had sold our Sydney apartment and were to move to Melbourne, I busily set about booking flights and hotels for our away games this year– at least until the end of June. I’m not sure why I chose to drive for this weekend’s game, but that’s what we did. Headed off Friday, stopped in Yass the night, then into Sydney Saturday lunchtime. Stayed overnight, drove to Albury Sunday, and back to Melbourne Monday. All for the love of my footy team.

I’ve also been asked, “Why do you drive all that way, when you can fly?”

“Because I love driving, especially on the open roads”. Simple really, as far as I’m concerned. I also love the chance to relax and to observe. Observe the magic of the Australian landscape, changing kilometre after kilometre, and to be enchanted by the colours and shapes of the clouds and the sky.

I also love listening to music. Not to have it on in the background, but to really listen and be moved by it. And when I’m driving what better chance is there to do just that, away from the day to day hum drum of chores and activities that fill our days.

This trip was a little different. Friday was full of anticipation: maybe the Swans could turn it around? Maybe we could continue on from the fourth quarter of the previous week’s match? Maybe we could surprise everyone? Maybe….? These thoughts raced through my mind as we approached Yass for the night. Saturday was spent living as if we were still Sydneysiders: dental and hairdresser appointments, buying 4 large tubs of Sicilian olives from my favourite deli in Bondi Junction (I’ve yet to find better ones in Melbourne!), having coffee with a friend, and not really having time to think about the footy that night.

Then, off to the SCG. How I‘ve grown to love that place! Love the thousands of glorious memories our boys have bestowed upon us these past two decades; love the fact that my beloved South Melbourne did not die completely and that Sydney was to become its new home; love that I moved from Brisbane to Sydney at the perfect time – the beginning of our sustained successful years; and love knowing that I’m a part of the every–increasing adoring Swans family.

By half time, the fans are cheering. The Sydneeeey chant is ringing around the ground, and we are hopeful. Despite the clangers, we have fought back, after what seemed like an inevitable first quarter major blowout was to seal our fate. Alas, our optimism was short–lived. The second half was indeed a blowout, and the loss by 41 points, our biggest losing margin for quite a while.

As many fans made their way to the exits half way through the last quarter, I was saddened. Not at the loss, as such, but that the players might notice the diminishing crowd and that they too would be disheartened. But that’s probably me being too sentimental.

As we headed back to Central (passing our apartment in Surry Hills on the way), it emphasised just how different this trip really was. No home to go to, only the hotel; consecutive losses for my footy team; and a trip back to Melbourne which is home but doesn’t feel like it yet.

Lying in the hotel bed that night I couldn’t sleep. I thought about the players and how they were feeling. I thought about the coaches and how they were feeling. And I thought about change and the inevitable unknowns that accompany it. I kept reminding myself that change is the one constant in our lives, and that we have to embrace it and accept it, whether we like it or not. And that it applies to every single aspect of our daily lives, including those of our footy heroes.

Leaving Sydney Sunday morning, aiming for Albury that night, I decide to confront myself with my own inability to accept change. At least to accept it with graciousness and perhaps, courage.

I’m definitely a creature of habit. I don’t like change. I can be rigid and fearful when challenged to do things differently. The examples are plentiful and rather embarrassing I must admit. Being forced to shop in a different supermarket throws me completely: the tea is not in Aisle 6 and what the hell has happened to the dairy section? I don’t like it. Having to find new health practitioners in Melbourne is testing me no end. Even thinking about it, freaks me. So, what do I do? Fit in appointments for the dentist, heart specialist, lung specialist, rheumatologist, acupuncturist, chiropractor, hairdresser and GP – all in Sydney – when going up there for our footy games this year! I’ve even booked in a car service with Toyota in a few months’ time.

So, in keeping with accepting that my beloved team is also going through a major change, this six–hour drive to Albury will test me. I know I need to challenge myself.

The music starts as we head through the M5 tunnel. Instead of the comfort and familiarity of my favourite composers, Bach, Brahms and Beethoven, I decide on Shostakovich’s Symphony number 11, written in 1957, reflecting on the Soviet invasion of Hungary, although he originally intended it to mark the 50th anniversary of the Russian Revolution of 1905.

I’ve listened to Shostakovich before, but have struggled to be moved by his work in the same way that Bach can have me in tears. So, this time I’m determined to listen intently. Every crashing cymbal, every beating drum and every revolutionary orchestral combination – all in unison – has got the right side of the brain working feverishly, and two hours later, I’m a changed woman!

It’s a start! Now I’ll work on the supermarket, and the Sicilian olives, and finding Melbourne–based health practitioners, and a hairdresser. You get the drift!

And I’ll certainly be working on and accepting that the young Mighty Bloods will soon be back to their very best – no matter how long it takes.

So, to answer the question “Why do you bother”. I bother because I love the red and the white, and always will, and will continue to travel and support them for as long as I possibly can. End of story!



SYDNEY       3.1       7.3       10.6     12.7 (79)
GWS        5.5       7.8       13.10       18.12 (120)


 Reid 2, Parker 2, Blakey 2, Dawson 2, McCartin, Heeney, Sinclair, Papley
Greater Western Sydney: Coniglio 4, Cameron 3, Lloyd 3, Greene 3, Whitfield 2, De Boer, Taranto, Kelly


Parker, Kennedy, Rampe, Dawson, Jones
Greater Western Sydney: 
Taranto, Haynes, Coniglio, Williams, Kelly, Hopper, Mumford

Crowd: 29,780




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. george smith says

    Oh dear. I decided to catch the train back to Sydney on Friday after the big ANZAC day clash on Thursday.. Thought I’d see the countryside, drink leisurely cups of tea with railway scones and arrive refreshed into Sydney in the evening.
    Unfortunately the Railways had other ideas. when we sogged our way into Spencer Street we were directed to a series of buses on which we made our way to Albury. At Albury we had an hours wait while the last of the buses turned up due to a medical emergency on board. We finally made it into Campbelltown station one and a half hours late only to stop, Richmond to Flinders St-like, and wait many minutes for the platform to clear.
    The Devonshire tea on the train was disappointing to say the least, fresh cream replaced by a curious butter like substance in a carton. We finally made it back to Granville, two trains and a bus later, at 10.30pm, just in time to see the footy on Teev end.
    As I watched the last quarter, fearing Essendon would run over the top of us, I thought to myself what a long miserable trip on the train home it would be. Although we won little did I know what was in store…

  2. Tony Courtin says

    Agreed,Jan. Without change we cannot evolve. Nonetheless I’m a rad concerned about the time required for the new bloods to evolve into a powerful team. Like you I’ll support them regardless. Any like-minded South Melbourne/Sydney Swans supporter fully understands the bareen times the club has endured,so what’s a few losses in the overall scheme!! Go bloods.

  3. Hi Jan, as a long time supporter of Norwood and the Crows I know what its like to go for long periods in the wilderness. However, things eventually turn for the better.

    Stick with your Bloods, I’m quite confident they will come good quite soon. I well remember the entombment they gave me of a Sunday arvo back in the eighties – if my memory serves me correctly that was the time of Geoffrey Eddelston.

    Keep enjoying your Devonshire teas and I’ll keep tucking into my favourite apple turnovers from our Vietnamese bakery.

  4. What a journey for you, George! At least our road trip was relatively straight forward. And at least you won!

    Tony, a few losses in between the good times is more than most people can ask for!

    And, Fisho, keep enjoying the apple turnovers!


  5. Keiran Croker says

    Jan, you are a gem! You have summed up my feelings. I found it hard to sleep on Saturday night too, as I ride every bump, kick, fumble, etc and perhaps have unrealistic expectations of my team. Though the R word has now been mentioned – rebuild! And in all honesty we have been on this journey for a few years now. It has been accelerated by the drafting of seven 18/19 year olds and the absence of stalwarts such as Macca, Reg, Kizza & Smithy, no top of no big Sam Naismith. So change is upon us! I’m looking forward to adjusting my expectations and enjoying the evolution of our young brigade. And of course following the Bloods win, lose or draw!!

    And I do love a road trip too, though my choice of music is somewhat different!

  6. I do like other music too, Keiran, such as blues, rock and roll, some jazz and some folk, but being brought up by a classical musician it seemed inevitable that my passion would be for the same as my mother.

    Adjusting our expectations will take some doing, but it shouldn’t be too hard. As long as I live long enough to see the resurgence!!

    Cheer cheer

  7. Luke Reynolds says

    “What has losing got to do with supporting my team?” Exactly. Loved that line Jan.
    While my two hour trips to Melbourne are nothing in comparison to driving to Sydney, we’ve had some long drives home down the Princes Highway after some bad losses over the years. But, the wins make it all more than worthwhile!

  8. I admire your dedication, Jan.
    Well played!

  9. Hi Luke
    Win some, lose some, it’s all relative! I’ve now just got to accustom myself to more of the latter, which will take some doing. Had enough years of my team losing over the years, but I’m sure I’ll manage. Thanks

    And thanks, too, Smokie.

  10. Hi Jan

    Although my dear wife has long been enjoying classical music, I really didn’t take much notice of it. However a few years ago, while flicking channels on our TV, I discovered Andre Riea (excuse my spelling) and was captivated by his Strauss orchestra. I yelled out to Heather to come and enjoy, which she did.

    Whilst I realize there are better violinists than he, our opinion there is no better showman as he brings joy to us. We both enjoy his sopranos, especially Carmen when she sings “Carmen” from Carmen and the “Earth Song”.

    Incidentally, I have recently discovered our local Vietnamese bakery make delicious party pies and pasties for me to enjoy whilst I watch the footy.

    And Jan, don’t give up on your beloved Swans, I’m positive they’ll come good before long.

  11. Thanks Fisho. As far as I can tell, there aren’t many people at the Almanac who enjoy classical music, so nice to get your feedback. And I would never give up on my team, ever!

Leave a Comment