Time to put the jumper away

Today was footy day. Footy day is the day at school when everyone was allowed to dump the school uniform and dress up in our favourite team’s colours. We kicked the footy’s on the oval at lunch as we munched on our cheaper-than-usual pies bought from the canteen. Of course, I wore my Sydney guernsey, even though last Saturday night I promised it would sit in the cupboard until March 2011. Because after that night, I felt upset, embarrassed and disappointed for my departed Swans.

I was excited all week as Dad’s mate, Des, managed to get his hands on some Members Balcony tickets for the Dogs and the Swans Semi Final. Before the game on the ride up, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. I was talking up on how it was Kirk’s 200th consecutive game. How it might be the last time I ever see the captain and the coach that bought us that 2005 flag. How Bradshaw was ready to fire and how Benny McGlynn was going to be unstoppable. I made little effort to mention that it might have been Brad Johnson’s final game too.

We got there early and I decided to wander down to the player’s race. There I had a chat with pre-game chat to Josh Kennedy and Mark Seaby.  It was funny when I saw Craig Bolton and asked him where he was watching the game. He replied “Maybe in the coaches’ box. Why? Do you have any tips for me?” Then I said “Yeah, Put Bradshaw at full back! Haha!”

So we found our seats and about 5 minutes in the first quarter I almost died from shock when I saw Bradshaw mark the ball at full back. But that ball soon fell into Bazza’s hands as he kicked the game’s first goal. The first quarter was frustrating because the Swans had most of the play, but couldn’t find the goals. Goodes finally kicked the first and then Bradshaw takes a strong mark and goal. “He’s back Baby!”

The second quarter was just awesome. An awesome grab and goal from Shaw put me and Des on our feet. There was an awesome goal from Bradshaw as he kicked from fifty and ended up roving his own ball to put the Swans well in front. The Dogs seemed under siege at this point, as they couldn’t even get the ball in their 50. The “Slippery Swans” on the half back were awesome. But the Dogs bounced back by kicking two late goals thanks to Hall and their new rookie, Hooper. The Swans had dominated the half, but the Dogs were still in it.

At this point I was really confident. I truly thought the Swans had this all wrapped up. That was, until my dad created the turning point of the night. “Bring on St. Kilda!” NOOOOOOO!!!! DAD!!!

Since then, the Bulldogs had all the run. Skilled goals from Grant, Hall, Giansiracusa, left the game all square at three-quarter time. The Dogs dominated the clearances and the possessions. Griffen and Murphy are killing us while Boyd and Harbrow were unstoppable. It was this quarter I felt that the Swans had lost the game. They missed their shots in front of goal. I couldn’t believe it when Bradshaw hit the post from point blank.

Just before the last quarter, Kirk dived on the ball and copped a high tackle. There was blood. I felt like that just typified his entire career. I thought that might be the juice that would bring the Swans over the line.

Unfortunately that was not the case. The Dogs got up in the last quarter and won by less than a goal. Personally, I can only remember parts of the last term. It was all too tiring and too emotional. Goodes finally scored after 5 consecutive behinds. Bradshaw goaled then Murphy and Hall. Both teams were going hard at it. It was real finals footy. Jetta scored a goal and we were going nuts. At this point, I was a complete wreck. The amount of effort and energy put into this game was amazing.

But the siren rang too soon. The Dogs had won. And my team had lost. Roos had left the ground quickly amongst all the Dogs running and celebrating.

My heart was broken. I don’t think I spoke for an hour on the way home. I replayed the vision in my head of everyone standing and applauding Kirk, my favourite player, as he was chaired off the ground for the very last time. It was the day the swans lost, and the day I packed away my Sydney Guernsey until next year. “Bring on March 2011!”


About Jake "Cobba" Stevens

Cobba Stevens works in sports social media and content. A keen middle-distance runner in both the ammos and the pros, he's also one of the youngest 'old bloods' supporters in Melbourne.


  1. Great read Cobba, I enjoyed it.

    It wasn’t a bad game, I only watched the last quarter but it was good, tight stuff, typical Sydney. Too bad they couldn’t get over the line in the end.

    I think if Sydney had of won last week, there would be a lot more intrigue into tonight’s match, no disrespect to the Bulldogs of course.

    The Swans will be a force in 2011, I still can’t believe I tipped the Swans to make the top 4 this year, I was almost correct.

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