• Round 22 - St Kilda v Sydney: The Craic

    Beidh ceol, caint agus craic againn
    – We’ll have music, chat and craic.

    Having spent three years living in Dublin, I’m well versed in the joys of ‘having the craic.’ It’s how my friends from the Emerald Isle describe a good time. Let the good times roll…


    Pre-game:

    Once completing my penultimate teaching degree on Friday, the Swanette and I boarded a most familiar flight from Hobart to Melbourne. It just makes sense to do so – my brother lives there, my Swans are playing there.

    My brother Tully is a Melbourne-based artist. Saturday signifies the final day of his latest exhibition. I’m going. I couldn’t be a prouder older brother. I’m just annoyed that he’s a Blue and not a Swan! Their questionable taste in footy clubs aside, a weekend spent in Seddon with one of my favourite little families is just what the doctor ordered.

    My brother-from-another-mother, Fergal is flying from Brisbane to join in the festivities with his lovely little lady, Sarah. They’re Dubliners. They’re dear, dear friends. This weekend will be the last time we spend together before they return to their beautiful homeland. Fergal has a monkey on his back. Literally. It’s a tattoo. Fergal and Sarah have never been to the footy. They will soon be Swans.

    Pre-game hoopla revolves around the craic. This weekend the pre-game starts on Saturday. In a cosy Fitzroy pub, on a glacial winter’s afternoon, we all meet, greet and take a seat. The sad news of my friends soon returning home is tempered by an afternoon of laughs. These laughs continue into the evening, and ultimately into the early morning. And after writing our very own chapter of the Rum Diaries, we shimmy to a live band in a jungle-themed club. Do they shimmy in the jungle?

    On Sunday, we’re all going to the footy. Tully, Bee and their three adorable kids will be too. I’m planning on prying Olive and Pat from the Blues’ grasp, and imposing an uncle’s influence, heavily favoured towards the superior Red & White breed. The last time I went to the footy with Tully, his Blues were thrashed by the Giants, four-year-old Olive warned him to settle down, and we all stormed out at three-quarter time. The last time I took a Celtic friend to the footy for the first time, his team beat mine when the Bloods missed a goal after the siren, at the very ground we’ll occupy on Sunday. Wish me luck.


    The game:

    This match is significant. Critical to our top-four aspirations. After a couple of weeks of improved performance, our Swannies will be looking to consolidate. It won’t be easy though, as the young Saints are using each and every match as it’s very own developmental stage. Richardson, like Pavlov, will ensure that the opposition will look to learn new behaviours from our boys, via the process of association.

    Our younger brigade of Cygnets are beginning to flourish. Heeney, BJ, Rosey, Lloydy, Harry, Tommy and Zak are flying as a flock and providing Horse with headaches at selection. Long may this continue. Like any great team, we’re all about rejuvenation and this group are ready. Ready and willing. I’m looking forward to further progress today.

    The much anticipated USA v Canada face-off at the opening bounce fails to eventuate as Horse spoils the party and sends Tippo in. There’s no sentiment in football. From the get-go the Swans look focused, determined and slick. Jets high-steps his way through the Saints defence and slams through the first. Fergal mistakingly assumes the Saints couple in front of us are Swans and gives them a ‘yesssss’, accompanied by a fist-pump. This was not well received. Unperturbed, the support for our boys continues from our top-level vantage point.

    We Bloods already know this, but I. Heeney is a rare commodity. Strong hands, quick hands, great leap, beautiful kick and impressive composure. There’s years of craic ahead for all of us watching this beaut. Tippo and Reidy are continuing their exciting form, looking robust, athletic and forceful up forward and around the ground. Tommy joins Joey and Hanners in their usual accumulation of the footy, and the great man bags another three goals. Teddy’s in vintage touch for game 250, and I like the looks of Z. Jones. Tough and uncompromising, much like his brother.

    Unfortunately, I have failed in my endeavours to convert my niece and nephew from the dark (blue) side. Two-year old Pat is enjoying the open spaces of the Etihad Stadium top deck and keeping his old man on his toes. Olive’s taking in the game, but her heart lies with the lads from Lygon St. Four-month old Violet is snuggled up to Mum, and embracing the chance for rest. They’re all pseudo-Swans today and just to have them all here is blissful.

    Buddy’s subbed off, raising some doubts. But, it’s all part of the plan, and the big-game-big-man will be right when the whips are cracking. All in all, this has been an imposing Swannies win. I introduce our two new Irish Swans to the satisfaction of belting out our mighty song after such a win, much to their amusement. I have some work to do yet, before these two are ready to open the Blackrock branch of the Swans supporters club!


    The verdict:

    How far can we go this year? Who knows. We will have our work cut out, but I believe in our Bloods. We’re entering the business end and it’s arguably the best we’ve looked all year. Believe, Bloods fans, and recall that famous moment when Bruce bellowed on that famous September day in 2012 – ‘It’s that culture, the Bloods. That’s what it’s all about’.

    Bravo, Schneiderman. Swans and Saints remained after the final siren, win or lose, to salute a club great. Adam Schneider deserved to depart our magnificent game in fine style, and he has.

    Long may Ted’s Excellent Adventure continue. A terrific team man and another favourite with the faithful, Teddy Richards is a great Blood, and triumphantly chaired off after career game 250. Premiership player, All-Australian and esteemed host of ‘Ask a Swan’. Teddy’s done it all. And to think a few years ago, he almost left for the Nordic delights of Sweden! Thanks for staying, and well played Ted.

    Great craic! – A weekend spent in fine style. I will miss my Irish friends. Missing my family is a constant. But this is what life’s all about: The good times. A Bloods win, watched on with such a crew, is just the icing on the cake.

    Slainte mhath.
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. snajik's Avatar
      snajik -
      Thanks for posting this Joe. A great read. Always good to have some context around what a day at the footy means to all of us. Good luck with the conversion/s. Maybe the frustration of following the evil Blues provides the fuel for your brother's art. Angst and anxiety are always reliable sources of inspiration.
    1. Rod_'s Avatar
      Rod_ -
      Thanks for the share!!
    1. stevoswan's Avatar
      stevoswan -
      Well done again Joe. Always an enjoyable read.
    1. joemoore12's Avatar
      joemoore12 -
      Thanks guys. Snajik - Hadn't thought about the angst and anxiety linked with my brother's art... Makes perfect sense!
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