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Round 8 – Hawthorn v Sydney: Swans fight it out


Redemption? Revenge? Coach and players have been careful this week to emphasise that tonight’s match up against last year’s premiers is just another game. However for Swans supporters and the broader football public we all want to see if we can match the Hawks pressure and aggression. Whether we win, lose or draw, nothing will change the fact that the Hawks were way too good and crushed us on Saturday 27th September, 2014 – my birthday.  What a birthday present!

So I am a little more nervous and apprehensive for a Round 8 game than I should be. To fill the afternoon I watch bits and pieces of the other AFL games on Foxtel, then head over to see my local boys Fitzroy in the B Grade ammos. They are 14 points up at the last break and go on for a good win over St Bede’s by about six goals.  It’s a good standard of local football with the Roy boys showing plenty of run and support from the backline.  Hopefully my Swans will give the same in the big match.

I head down to the tram stop on Smith Street. Nervously checking my mobile device I jump up and board when the tram arrives.  Half way up to Johnson Street I realise I have that nightmare feeling: I have left my day pack with my house keys in it on the bench at the stop.  I jump off and head back, fortunately the pack is where I left it. Hopefully the night will improve from here.

As I walk over Fitzroy Gardens towards the MCG I am texting to locate my brother Tony and his boys. Tony’s brother-in-law Doug is down from Sydney for the game too. Doug is a more recent convert to the Swans cause having originally played under 19s footy with the Magpies. As it turns out we are all spread out in different locations.  My other brother Martin has decided to stay home with some wimpy excuse about having a cold and my Swans buddy Geoff is interstate with work. I head to my favoured spot on the upper level of the AFL Reserve and sit by myself.  Watching by yourself has some benefits though as you can yell and scream only observed by anonymous fellow or opposition supporters.

As expected the first quarter is hot with extreme pressure from both teams, providing plenty of opportunity for me to open my lungs. The usual suspects are getting plenty of the ball and we are matching their aggression.  There is not much between the teams though, we take our chances and the Hawks miss theirs. We go to the break with the only 5 goals kicked and a 27 point lead.  Goodesy has started well, you can tell by the excessive booing.  Reid has been good too, though Buddy is quiet.

I think this is too good to last when Benny McGlynn goals early in the second. As expected the Hawks ramp up the pressure and claw back 4 goals by the main break. We lead by 13 points.  I am still nervous.

Reidy who has been good all night drifts down to mark only about 20 metres out early in the third.  He misses and we miss the chance to open up a break and shift the momentum.  The next 15 minutes is an arm wrestle that is eventually won when Gunston goals for the Hawks. This triggers a run of Hawks goals only matched by a goal from Reid when the ball is fumbled on the goal line and he soccers it through. A typically mercurial mark and goal from Rioli has the Hawks 4 points up at the last break.  Their Mitchell has been sensational, while our Hannebery has just kept running and gathering.

I am extremely nervous when Rioli marks over Teddy Richards in the goal square and runs on to goal early in the last.  Even though their lead is less than two goals it seems the Hawks are winning the critical contests and have the momentum. We hang in though and our astute Coach pulls one of his better moves when our courageous and clever skipper McVeigh goes forward.  Buddy has been quiet and well held all night.

Macca responds with a neat goal from general play about 50 metres out on the run. He then marks in the goal square after a great piece of play from Goodesy to mark a skied ball and swing straight on to his left.  Our cheers cancel the boos. Remarkably we are within a point with about 10 minutes left.

Macca is involved again when he finds Parker on the run towards goal. We are in front.  How did that happen? The Hawks have their chances and manage to miss a number of them. We hang on for the win. You beauty!

We find each other outside after the game, then head over to the Pullman where Doug is staying.  Over a few beers we ponder that the game somewhat resembled the 2012 Grand Final, with the Hawks having more inside 50s and more shots on goal with critical misses. We are proud that our boys hung in and won tonight, though know the next time we meet the Hawks will provide another serious challenge. We ponder why Goddesy is booed?  Perhaps that deserves a more in-depth discussion.

I manage to get away and catch a train around midnight.  When I get home I switch on the TVand catch the last ten minutes of the replay of the game on Foxtel. I am still not sure how we won. Grit, determination, Bloods spirit and some luck. It is a satisfying win nevertheless.

My votes. 3 Hannebery. 2 S.Mitchell 1. McVeigh.

For other stories of the Swans great victory CLICK HERE.

About Keiran Croker

Keiran is a lifelong Swans supporter, despite a brief dalliance with the Cats and Tigers in primary school years. Family connections to Port Melbourne and South Melbourne demanded loyalty to the Swans. The long wait for success was worth it.

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