Round 9 – Sydney v Carlton: Hail Adam Goodes in this Indigenous Round

Carlton. Nice place to live, if you can afford one of its Victorian terrace-homes; close to the City; some of Melbourne’s best coffee, Italian restaurants and cafes; the best bookshop, Readings; La Mama; Royal Exhibition Building; the University; the Nova; Carlton Gardens; close to the Zoo, and the wonderful multi-cultural mix inhabiting this vibrant suburb.


Carlton. They’ve won 16 premierships, equal to Essendon with the most flags; they have been great. They are no longer great; they are on the bottom of the ladder; the footy world continues to write and talk about their current problems which at times becomes a tad boring; their supporters are unhappy and not turning up to their games, and their coach has just been sacked.


But, Hey Guys! Someone has to be at the bottom, you’ve won 16 hard fought premierships which many of us would just about die for, and you’re currently re-building, or whatever you are doing, so how about accepting where you’re at, doing what you have to do, and getting on with it! And, I’ve never liked you anyway, you Bluebaggers!


The blood bath Grand Final at Princess Park in 1945 started it all. It has become the most memorable game between us and them. Nearly 64,000 people were able to fit into the ground, and my aunt and Dad were two of them. I wish I’d been another, but, aged two, they thought wisely not to take me. I doubt I would have remembered anyway, but it would have been nice to have said I was there.


So much has been written and spoken about that game, and my aunt and Dad passed-on many a view from the Bloods’ perspective. A Melbourne newspaper at the time, The Truth, called it “the most repugnant spectacle League football has ever known”. Ten players were reported for 16 offences. Four South players were suspended for a total of 49 matches, one of whom was Ted Whitfield, copping 21 games, and three Carlton players, rubbed out for 20 matches. One Carlton player, sitting on the bench and already out with a four match suspension the previous week for hitting a Collingwood player, ran onto the ground in the last quarter and started whacking into Ted Whitfield, gaining a further four match suspension. Many spectators joined in the fray and I believe arrests were made. The game was played in atrocious conditions, as they often were in those days, and we lost the battle by 28 points.


That Grand Final is why South people do not like Carlton. It is a tradition, and I hope it continues with the new generation of Swans. No doubt Carlton people feel the same way about us.


I do however have some family connection with them, whether I like it or not. Harry “Soapy” Vallance, the Carlton great who kicked 722 goals between 1926 and 1938, was related, on my mother’s side. He was never really spoken about – all the talk was of my great-uncle, Jim Caldwell, the South captain of our 1918 premiership team – but that name “Soapy” has stayed with me.


It’s good to be back home in Sydney, after two road trips to Melbourne in the past three weeks. I am hoping that our boys can win and win well tonight. We need the percentage. However, I remind myself that when a coach is sacked, that team often plays well under the new boss and on many occasions wins! So we mustn’t be complacent.


Goodesy runs onto the field in his luminous yellowy lime green boots, proudly wearing the guernsey designed by his Mum. The cheering is palpable.


Hopefully all the negative talk and comments about him this past week haven’t affected him and won’t affect his game tonight. He says remarks don’t affect him, which, if true, is a sign of strength. He and many of his brothers and sisters have also shown strength, and continue to show strength, in dealing with the many atrocities that have been inflicted on them – in the past and even now – since the white man invaded this country.


Hopefully the positive comments about him will encourage and give him hope that times are changing and that the first Australians can and will be seen as equal, and be treated in exactly the same way that each one of us would wish to be treated.


If there were more people with Adam’s dignity, intelligence, integrity and compassion, the world would be a better place. Hail Adam Goodes!


What a strange and interesting game we’ve just seen. I said to Marshall before the bounce that I wouldn’t really be happy unless we kicked 20 goals and won by at least 10. We needed percentage. We gained that, we kicked one shy of 20 and we won by exactly 10. I was happy at the final siren.


The game itself felt a little like a practice match. There were lots of errors and not only from the Carlton boys. Some of our kicking, passing, and handballing were pretty sub-standard but that tends to happen when a game is one-sided. Overall, to win by 10 goals implies good footy, and there was plenty of that as well.


Buddy, Goodesy and Jetts showed what this game meant to them; Keiran went in where no-one of his size would normally dare; Reidy continued his good form; Hanners just did what Hanners does; Tommy Mitchell has now proven to us and the team that he should be there, and one of my very favourites Benny McGlynn was an inspiration.


Carlton impressed with how they fought it out. They managed two consecutive goals in the third quarter and equalled our tally in the last. But, without Judd, Gibbs and their captain, they just weren’t really in it.


I don’t think I will ever get used to the so-called entertainment that we get subjected to these days at the footy. When arriving at the ground  the music is blaring. It is impossible to have a conversation without getting up close and personal into another’s face. The players’ names and photos appear on the large screen and you cannot hear the cheers because the music has gone up a notch. You get it again at quarter time, right up until the siren for the start of the second quarter, but this time the crowd seems to know the song and is joining in. It is so loud. Then at half time theDance Cam gets going, louder than ever, and the people jump up and down and throw their arms around. At three quarter time the place is a sea of pale blue (the colour of the sponsor) and bits of cardboard get twisted left, right, vertically and horizontally until the camera stops and someone has won $1,000. I have wondered sometimes why the crowd numbers have been up a little at the SCG lately! And after the sea of pale blue, Up There Cazaly starts for a little while just before the ball is bounced, but I don’t mind its rearrangement of Up There for Sydney.


Then you have to put up with opposition supporters sitting right next to us. We have four seats that are not utilised by Swans members, and most weeks we have non red and white. This lot liked their beer. They seemed to drink a glass every time we kicked a goal. They were obnoxious, obviously from Melbourne, assumed we had no idea about the game – being Sydneysiders and Eastern Suburbs people – and made a nasty comment about our man Goodesy. I did not like them one bit and they reinforced my feelings about those bluebaggers. Then, in front of us a young woman, with a red and white scarf, spent the entire game on her IPhone texting her mates. Why was she at the game?


Maybe I’m just getting on a little bit, but I just want to see a game of footy. Is that too much to ask?


The strange and interesting continues. What a wonderful war dance celebration by Goodesy! That was definitely a first and we all loved it. The O’Reilly stand went wild. What a moment of theatre! I’m sure too that the Carlton indigenous players (and others) loved it, as did the thousands of people who were there to witness it, and hopefully those watching it on the television.


But oh no, not parts of the media. They should be ashamed of themselves, with newspaper headings of “Goodes Ruffles Feathers”, “Goodes Celebration the Centre of Debate”, ”Controversy and heated debate seems destined to follow Adam Goodes this week” and so on. I read somewhere last night that my once favourite Swan Barry Hall made a comment along the lines of “…I didn’t like it, it didn’t look good”. BAZZA! you’d know wouldn’t you? We all know how you “celebrated”! How dare you?


The media is just too influential, especially with those who just follow the leader and believe whatever is written or spoken about; those who, for whatever reason, aren’t able or prepared to utilise their brain and to think for themselves. What a great pity.


So I’ll say it again and again, I’ll even shout it out loud: “HAIL ADAM GOODES!”


My highlights for the game:




The wonderful Didgeridoo playing at the start


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.

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