The Sydney Swans speculative soundtrack: A season in revue – 2016


The 2015 season was a forgettable one for the Sydney Swans – for more reasons than one. The New Year brought with it a renewed sense of optimism and hope. The prospects of our team were heavily dependent on youth and once again the sceptics were forming an orderly queue. The end result was one of heartbreak, tinged with elation at how far our young team have come.

This is The Bloods’ 2016 soundtrack and it’s modern, progressive, diverse and hardworking. A year of such contrasting expectations and eventual achievements demands such an assortment. So please, sit back and recline while you reminisce upon a fine season of Bloods football – to be enjoyed with a glass of Pedro Ximenez Gran Reserva Sherry, a reflective pose and the crackle of an open fire.

Track 1: Party Machine – The Bennies

The new season began with the welcome news that all Swans home fixtures would return to the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground. The red and white faithful were sent into raptures with the news and as of Round 1, our home ground became a party zone. As anyone lucky enough to have experienced a packed SCG would attest, the atmosphere is one of revelry. The Bennies’ song was bestowed with the illustrious honour of winning Triple J’s “party machine prize for partying” with a shout-along chorus that possesses a language warning, not unlike an evening spent in the outer. Blast the volume on this one.

Track 2: Two Fingers – Jake Bugg

Bugg’s vintage sound provides the perfect accompaniment to the perfect metaphorical ‘up yours’ to 2015 – with the chorus mirroring the defiance that the Swans would show throughout 2016:

“So I kiss goodbye to every little ounce of pain
Light a cigarette and wish the world away
I got out, I got out, I’m alive and I’m here to stay
So I hold two fingers up to yesterday
Light a cigarette and smoke it all away
I got out, I got out, I’m alive and I’m here to stay”

The defining match of the season was without a doubt, our very first against Collingwood. Unwanted by the punters and unheralded by the pundits, we set the tone for the year ahead. The Magpies received their very own two-finger salute as the rampaging Swans stormed to an eighty-point victory – an ominous sign.

Track 3: Alright – Supergrass

Seven debutants, along with numerous second and third year players had a significant impact on the team this year. The relatively unknown names of Hewett, Naismith, Papley, Aliir, Marsh, Robinson, Rose and Foote joined the much-hyped duo of Heeney and Mills to form an outstanding clutch of cygnets ready to make their mark. It’s a collective that looks set to take the competition by storm over the coming seasons and I’m pretty sure we’ll be alright. This bona fide teen anthem with its upbeat lyrics and cheerful piano tune, seemed to epitomise British youth culture at the time, when Britpop was at its height. The band’s youthful appearance added weight to the lyrics. Supergrass is basically a fun-loving rock group whose undeniable musical talent is sometimes overshadowed by the sheer ebullience of its music. These cygnets perform with a similar liveliness. Rock on kids.

Track 4: Ch-ching – Chairlift

Ch-ching, ch-ching – we’ve hit the jackpot. We’ve got Callum Mills.

The eighteen-year-old Academy prodigy arrived with much fanfare and generally with such a young player, it takes a while for an astute judge to assess their initial worth. Not in this case. Mills announced himself to the football world with a debut season of quality rarely seen. The Sydney local claimed the AFL Rising Star award, becoming just the third Swan to do so. He played the entire season in an unfamiliar defensive position and only missed selection due to injury. He brings poise and a general calmness that impressed from the outset. Fifteen more years would be nice.

Ch-ching, ch-ching.

Track 5: Life in the Fast Lane – The Eagles

The Sydney Swans are now a competition heavyweight both on and off the field. Record memberships, merchandise sales, national TV audiences, match attendances and corporate sponsorship have ensured that the club remains in a healthy financial position. The Bloods are ambitious and bold. To survive in Australia’s most competitive sporting market, you need to be.

Track 6: Jets – Bonobo

Bonobo is a British musician, producer and DJ, happy to exist as a shadowy character behind the machines he creates his music on. His music provides a beguiling mix, and one that few other electronic artists pull off. Working at the forefront of electronic acts blurring the distinctions between digital and live instrumentation, he has acquired a growing reputation over the course of time. As have the ‘jets’ named in the All-Australian team in 2016 (it’s become fashionable in football circles to label your champion players as ‘jets’ so I’ve done the same). They came together from all parts and five were selected from our Sydney Swans. Five. Franklin, Kennedy, Hannebery, Rampe and Parker had stellar seasons and were rightfully rewarded with a new blazer and due kudos.

Track 7: Can’t Control My Love – Total Giovanni

How could anybody not love Buddy Franklin? Our superstar returned after a tumultuous time in 2015 to return at his blistering best. In that same year, The Sydney Morning Herald’s Kylie Northover wrote of Melbourne five-piece, Total Giovanni, that they were ‘determined to get audiences to their feet’. The fact that they play a mix of slightly sleazy ’80s synth-infused jams, house and Italo-disco – often in their underwear – to do so, should not blur the comparison. Total Giovanni has rather suddenly gained a momentum of its own – just as our number 23 has done in old Sydney town.

Track 8: Too Much – Sampha

Any devotee of a Grand Final-losing Football Club will tell you earnestly that it’s heartbreaking. I began this discussion with Mum’s chooks in the final minutes of the premiership decider. I’m continuing the same discussion now. The trouble is, after that runners-up performance, the summer proves desolate when searching for logic – searching for inner peace. Cricket provides a poor substitute these days. Afternoons spent watching Pakistani sweatband swingers trundle in and trundle off only eventuates in wasted time. Watching George Bailey cross-bat the odd six onto the Blundstone hill only represents temporary joy. So, where to now?

Still reeling from my team’s loss, the previous months have seen various attempts to locate therapeutic remedies – reminders of the result have constantly thwarted these attempts. My local service station owner has a bloody Bulldogs Guernsey hanging from his shop window. My brother lives in Yarraville and is constantly informing me that every hipster from Newport to Maidstone is now discussing his Doggies like some kind of footballing aficionado. Sampha is right – it’s too much!

Track 9: Drinkee – Sofi Tukker

The future? Let’s discuss that again. Where do we start? Oh, I know – let’s start with that most exciting clutch of cygnets the club has ever seen. Let’s continue that discussion with Mills being the AFL Rising Star and Heeney the AFL Coaches Association’s Young Player of the Year. Add to that mix our two top-20 draft picks in Florent and Hayward, and I’m feeling like I might need a little drinkee to calm myself down…. Did I mention we’re coming off a Grand final as the fourth-youngest list in the competition? I think I need another drinkee…

Track 10: The Boss – James Brown

The more things change, the more they stay the same. With John Longmire in charge, we are in very safe hands. Presiding over three Grand Finals in the past five years, the boss has led the way through a willingness to stay true to his beliefs while embracing the new.

Change is often required when the core structure may no longer be groundbreaking. This was the case after a disappointing end to 2015 and Longmire sought change – this is the house that Horse built. To be remarkable, a preparedness to tinker with design is essential. In 2016, Horse created a modern reinterpretation of football from a period in time that inspired a red and white revolution. With our masterful coach at the helm, all Swans are looking forward to this next development, the next phase of something memorable and meaningful.



About Joe Moore

Learned the art of the drop-punt from Derek Kickett as Jamie Lawson watched on. And thus, a Swan for life. @joedmoore1979

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