AFL Round 1 – GWS v Sydney: Valiant E49 Chargers v Toyota Priuses

Greater Western Sydney Giants v Sydney Swans

Stooges Stadium

1640, Saturday 15 March 2014


There was a lot riding on this match.  Perky Girl and I had bought GWS memberships, I was wearing an orange T-shirt, my allegiance had been swinging westwards last season but this was the crunch test.  Was I really about to pass on over twenty years of Swans support for the upstart creation of Zeus’ fertile imagination?


Being Sydney, we were late.  Giants up by a goal when we came through the gate, by the time we took our seats the Swans had scored two.  Thick black clouds loomed ominously in the west.


West were sharp early, up three goals to the Swans sluggish two.  Late in the first, McGlynn kicked an eye of the needle goal, three more followed quickly.  Could this be the game?


And then the rain.  The teams left the field, the wind shoved the rain across the ground, the far side was deep in shadow.  A dozen adolescent girls with remarkably curly hair and sequinned outfits did an Irish jig in the race that was shown on the big screen, the crowd went “Ooohh!” and jumped in their seats with each flash of lightning and crack of thunder, then politely applauded as the rain eased and all but stopped.


The umpires emerged and performed a ritual dance of some kind.  Officials milled about the ground to a loop of the intro riff of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir.’  Ten minutes after the rain stopped, the players re-emerged, blinking in the sunlight.


The second term might as well have been played in the storm, it was dreary enough.  There was a lot of chipping amidst the rolling ruck that seemed cemented in Sydney’s forward line.  Lance spilled one for a behind.  Sydney couldn’t find the space for a clear shot at goal, but when West broke out, they had an open paddock and kicked three straight goals late in the term, two to JC, one to the General.  It might’ve been four but for Lance laying a great tackle on Hampton as he was about to drop the ball onto his boot.  Still, it was three straight to West, 1.6 to Sydney


Sydney kicked the first of the premiership quarter, a gift to Jetta from a terrible kick out of the backline.  During this term, with Sydney kicking toward my end, Lance did something I haven’t seen from a forward since Alistair Lynch or Fraser Gehrig.  He stayed in the forward 50.  Really!  He hung around about 45m out from the goal, occasionally trotting forward, but mostly just standing there.  It warmed my heart, it did, brought back memories of the days when forwards stood aloof from the scrapping maul.


Allasame, West had the better of the quarter but only outscored Sydney by 4 behinds.  My mate Jeff, a Swans fan, said at the last break “We can come back.”


“Huh,” said I, “you’d wanna pick up a bit.”


There was a lot of shuffling around in the last, spilled marks, poor kicks.  Ten minutes in, no goals, a few muffed chances, one straight kick in it.  Then Coniglio goaled, scores level, 10.7 to 9.13, and the floodgates opened.


West were sharper, harder, faster, won every quarter but the first.  Sydney were kinda clueless, lacking structure and grit.  They missed Jude Bolton’s warrior attitude.  More importantly, Mumford and Giles wore down Pyke in the ruck.  Here’s the real cost of Lance – Mumford and Pyke made an excellent ruck combination, but Pyke cannot carry the load by himself.  LRT is okay as a pinch-hitter, but he aint a solid second-ruckman.  Sydney need Tippett on the park and they need him to do a lot of ruckwork.  Not just throw-ins in the forward line, he’ll have to take centre bounces.  I suspected that was in the Swans thinking when they recruited him and if it isn’t, then it oughta be.


In the last term, I was yelling and whooping and punching the sky and leaping to my feet with each goal.  I haven’t been so demonstrative at a football match in years, it was wicked great fun!  Now all I have to do is find myself an orange T-shirt with a picture of a silver Valiant Charger E49 to go with my orange and grey motorcycle jacket.


Because I’m a fan of this Greater Western Sydney mob.


GWS    4.1  7.1  9.5  15.9 (99)

SYDNEY 6.2  7.8  9.8  9.13 (67)



GWS: Cameron 4, Patton 3, Smith, Greene, Scully, Ward, Coniglio, Frost, Kennedy, Whitfield

Sydney: McGlynn 2, Reid, Franklin, Cunningham, Rohan, Bird, Jetta, Mitchell



GWS: Ward, Treloar, Mumford, Davis, Greene

Sydney: Mitchell, Parker, Kennedy, McGlynn



3 – Ward; 2 – Mumford; 1 – Mitchell


Crowd – 17102

About Earl O'Neill

Freelance gardener, I've thousands of books, thousands of records, one fast motorcycle and one gorgeous smart funny sexy woman. Life's pretty darn neat.


  1. Great report Earl. I enjoyed the tension and then the explosion of the last quarter myself, just listening on the radio in Perth.
    Watching TV I can yell at the screen, but this was just yelling at the setting sun.
    Coniglio is a class act. I’ve watched him since he was 15 with Swan Districts colts. Terrific work rate and has the footy smarts.
    What were the factors in shifting your support to the Giants? Was it the progressive corporatisation of the Swans and erosion of the Bloods culture, or other stuff?

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Earl enjoyable summary I too would love to no why you have swapped to GWS
    GWS forward line will be awesome they are going to end up a super power .Whitfield is going to be a gun and we haven’t seen Kelly yet etc . !
    Will Franklins recruiting end up to be the biggest mistake ever , have in picking up
    Tippett and Buddy Syney lost the bloods culture and in the stupidity of paying him for the next decade they will lose other players it reminds me of when Essendon picking up
    Raines and Richardson they lost there soul

  3. Just trying to work out the metaphors here. Zeus, in the form of a Swan, ravished Leda who then bore Helen, the cause of a 10-year war ended only by Odysseus’ nefarious trickery with the horse.

    Is Leda the mid-table clubs (Richmond, North) screwed by losing decent picks in the compromised drafts?

    Is Buddy’s 10-year contract the futile war of attrition? Or is John Longmire the horse? Is SOS the trickster planting the horse behind Sydney’s walls?

    signed, Confused Of Northcote.

  4. Earl O'Neill says

    Dear Confused
    I’ve no idea but you’ve given me a great angle for a column – once I scrub up on my Greek mythology.
    Elllipsis of Camperdown

    Second sentence of last full paragraph would better read “I haven’t enjoyed an AFL match so much since the ’05 Grand Final.” Following Sydney wasn’t quite the same after they’d won a flag. The main reason for shifting to the Giants (despite the Eli Manning connection) was simple – they’re a young, developing team and it’s great to watch that unfold. A lot like the Swans in ’03.
    They’ve rekindled my enthusiasm for Australian Football.

  5. Earl, that’s all so rational and sensible. Love it. Would have no currency in Richmond, St Kilda, Footscray et al though, where the one-in-my-lifetime-please mindset prevails. I love how different motifs are at work.

  6. Earl O'Neill says

    John, I’d cause to wonder what would become of my St Kilda mates if they won a flag. They’d lose their identity.
    Tigger mates can at least remember being cock o’ the hoop in primary school. Footscray just aint the kinda place to get too het up one way or another. They’d be my second team but for that being patronising and that aint Bulldoggish.
    Best we bear in mind that there will be no more utterly unbearable a premiership fan group than Richmond. Give Brendan Gale Zeus’ job NOW.

  7. Paul Thitchener says


    great summary, gritty writing and i suspect that ‘confused of northcote’ is closer to the truth than even you suspect. The entry of greek tragedy into your writing and coupled with current events and the retirement of Zeus Demetriou, the hird mentality, the corporate dollars of souless stadiums makes me romanticise for the glory days of Moorabbin (if they ever existed) and yes as a saints fan, i probably wouldnt know what to do with a lifetime fantasy actually coming true…. still i gonna hope for it just as you start the giants journey.

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