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The Red and the White – Swans mid year review



I’m heading to the USA in September on holiday.  I think I made my decision to travel back in March/April not long after big Sam Naismith went down with a season ending knee injury, just after Kurt Tippett had retired. I figured the Swans chances of doing well in 2018 had dipped, and after all you can’t put off all your plans on the basis of your team maybe making the Grand Final … can you?


Well, the Swans are now having their mid-season break and are well placed within the top four at 10 wins and three losses; so much better than last year when we had that horrendous 0-6 start. We are back on track after uncharacteristically losing three out of our first four home games this year. And for the first time, after defeating the Eagles at home, I’m starting to think we might be a chance to go deep into the finals and have another crack at a premiership.


Until the last few weeks we have been a bit lacklustre, not exactly playing brilliantly and blowing teams away. However, that’s not to say that we have lacked memorable moments. Ollie Florent’s last gasp goal to secure a tight win over the Dogs at Docklands, our last quarter blitz of the Cats down at Geelong and Ben Ronke’s amazing 7 goal effort at the G to sink the Hawks on a freezing Friday night, were all my privilege and delight to witness; I don’t think I have sung the Club song so hard and strong as I did at Geelong when we got up without Buddy.


At an individual level, the real positives have been the performance of our younger players; Heeney, Hewett and Jones are consistently impacting on games, as is Florent, who delights with his speed and skills.  Then there are the new boys; another smokey off the rookie list Ronke brings speed, pressure and goal sense while young Tommy McCartin brings an aerial contest and repeat efforts. And of course there is Will Hayward.  This kid will be a star!


Our defence has been rock solid, as always, individually and collectively blanketing oppositions. I think Jake Lloyd has gone to another level, particularly now that we are missing the cool and precise Callum Mills for the season. The return of Aliir Aliir this week added another dimension with his intercept marking and run. I hope they retain him, though I’m sure they’d also like to have the reliable Lewis Melican back in the mix.


The usuals Kennedy, Parker and Franklin have continued to perform at a high level. Perhaps the downside has been the under-performance of Hannebury and Jack whose output has been somewhat below their very best. However both have struggled with injury and it could be argued there is a big upside if they can work towards their best. One veteran who can’t be accused of not being at his best is Jarrad McVeigh. I had some doubts at the start of the year, though Macca has been outstanding. His ability to control and direct play is superb. He is a critical player in our setup.


Perhaps the biggest surprise has been the magnificent efforts of Callum Sinclair one out in the ruck. Previously considered a journey man forward/ruck type, he has displayed skills and endurance beyond all expectations. Another quiet achiever has been Harry Cunningham having perhaps his most consistent and productive season so far.


It’s been a difficult year for Gary Rohan personally, and I think there is still upside in his output to compliment his speed and the pressure he brings in the forward line. And of course we have Sam Reid to return.  I think he is the wild card.  With Sam in the team, Buddy can roam higher up the ground where he can use his precise field kicking to great effect.


So should I change my travel plans? I’m looking forward to an exciting second half of the year. There are still a number of teams in the mix and perhaps even the Power and Giants currently out of the top eight could push up.


I’m sure we will continue to challenge for the top four, particularly if we get the right mix in our 22. I’m committed to my travel plans though. Hopefully I’ll be looking for a bar in Kansas City that has our Grand Final on its Sports coverage.  Go Bloods!

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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.


  1. Keiran, if you didn’t book an overseas trip for September last year, after our horrendous start, I can’t for the life of me understand you booking one for this year! Surely, you’ll have to make alternative arrangements?! It’s almost become our birthright to play in finals. I can’t bear to think of you in some forlorn American town, all those miles from the action.

    Our two articles (Bye/mid year) have coincided. Swans’ contributors to this site seem to be in abundance, and I think only Swans people are interested in what we have to say.

    Cheer cheer

  2. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    Think your assessment of the players is all in all spot on Keiran. Would love to see Aliir string multiple games like the last one together. Still room for Melican. He can do the bog work while Aliir can do creativity and flair.

    Go with your travel plans. The rest is brittle. Plus, I think watching a Grand Final in a Kansas City bar would have enormous poetry and excellent stories for us to read! Cheer cheer.

  3. Georgina says

    Spot on wrap-up Keiran. George Hewitt has been the quiet achiever this year. Loving his work. (My son needs a new guernsey and I’m trying to convince him to put number 29 on the back). After the Geelong game I marked Sydney down as potentially going the whole way, simply because the bit part players were standing tall. Just like in 2012.

    I agree with Mathilde, go with your travel plans. There is still a long way to go in this season.

  4. Keiran Croker says

    The travel plans are locked in … a great opportunity to travel with a small group of friends to three music festivals in Nashville, Bristol and Columbia, then on to the Grand Canyon.

    It would be different to be finding a bar in Kansas to take in the GF, or otherwise its the iPad in the hotel room. Lets hope it’s the Swans.

    I’m confident because our bottom six players are all contributors, and we have decent back up with Newman, Robinson, Fox, Rose, etc..

  5. Keiran, as you know, I’m a Carlton supporter. Should I keep September free?

  6. Keiran Croker says

    Which September are you talking about Gerard?

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