• Ch Ch Changes: Sydney Swans 2016 Season Preview

    Not since 1200 of the South Melbourne faithful made the return train journey to Geelong for the first match of the 1909 football season, have Swans supporters held such a sense of anticipation for the year ahead. Familiar faces have moved on to greener pastures, and some to opposition clubs. A fresh-faced brigade of youngsters are bracing to make their mark, and the club has never before in its proud history, enjoyed the position of off-field strength that it now holds. On Saturday, the Sydney Swans will begin their 2016 season, which means it�s high time I embark on my now annual ritual of compiling a season preview.

    On Field:
    To many observers, this season for the Swans may appear to be much like many others. However, looking beyond the surface creates a different impression. With father time once again proving to be the world�s most despised Dad, taking Goodes, Shaw and Pyke in one cynical foul swoop, some tweaking is called for. Opportunities will arise for many this season, and this is where the excitement lies. The likes of Hanners, Buddy, Parks, Smooch and Ramps have committed long-term, and in doing so, formed a rock-solid core. Youth and fervor will provide the red and white faithful with moments of exhilaration, and perhaps some moments of circumvention, but be sure to strap yourselves in for the ride. I�m convinced that this next wave is gaining momentum, with its occupants, paddling like mad.

    In light of the Swannies� current plight, recent political unrest, and the sadness surrounding the passing of the one and only Mr. D. Bowie, this year�s song for the season must be (ch, ch) Changes. The lyrics focus on the compulsive nature of artistic reinvention ("Strange fascination, fascinating me/Changes are taking the pace I'm going through") and distancing oneself from the mainstream ("Look out, you rock 'n' rollers"). The song has also been interpreted as touting "Modern Kids as a New Race". With reinvention, a new race of modern kids in the ranks and the attempt to surpass the mainstream of football philosophy, at the forefront for Longmire & Co., Bowie�s genius is a most comfortable bedfellow. Turn it up and belt it out!

    No More Mr. Nice Guy:
    Much to the dismay of Swans Australia-wide, we will have no A. Goodes in our team this year. For the first time in sixteen years, our indomitable champion will not fill the number thirty-seven Guernsey with his ample chest. Sorrow enveloped last year as our long-time favourite was subjected to the type of contemptible treatment usually reserved for the perpetrator of a heinous crime. His crime? Speaking out. Ever graceful, ever humble, Goodesy handled himself with aplomb as per usual. The whole sordid affair has left some with a scar created by the moronic in the game, which may never fully heal. Go well Adam Goodes. We support you, we will miss you and we applaud you.

    The current clutch of cygnets at the SCG is probably the most exciting we have seen. With a changing of the guard taking place before our very eyes, the younger brigade are turning this team into their own. Heeney, Mills, Jones, Cunningham, Lloyd, Parker, Hannebery, Mitchell, Hewett, B.Jack, Reid, Towers, Talia, Rampe & Rohan are all in the eighteen to twenty-four year old bracket, with others just below in the current pecking order. Much experience has left Moore Park in the summer, but this collection of tyros simply must elicit hope and comfort for future success. Keep an expectant eye on twenty-year-old Irishman Colin O�Riordan too. Wouldn�t another Tadgh-type be nice�

    What to Watch?
    The ever-growing list of football panel shows on the box can make life increasingly confusing. I�m sure I�m not alone in attempting to watch all at some stage. Be warned of overload, as this approach is fraught with danger. Most are filled with ex-players not afraid to exaggerate their own achievements while dismissing current day feats. As a Swan, you will only be left disappointed at Swan-related coverage; most speculative, most untrue. For your viewing satisfaction, try this combination to get your footy fix:
    Swans TV � hit the club�s website for regular updates.
    Marngrook � NITV�s weekly footy show. Unhinged, unbiased and delightful.
    The Offsiders � Sunday mornings on ABC. Intelligent, measured sports discussion. Rare.

    Welcome back to Sydney�s Buddy:
    Our superstar�s battle with mental health issues has been well documented. Welcome back, Buddy. From all reports, the sublimely skilled forward is impressing and here�s hoping that above all, he is happy. Mental health issues for young men in particular, are continuing on a most worrying trajectory. And, as we collectively work to reduce issues such as racism, domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse and street violence, the mental health of young men must also be actively fostered. Buddy�s call for help was unquestionably courageous and admirable, and just as importantly, set a crucial example for fellow young men to speak up and seek assistance.

    Footy Food:
    In the Moore household in 2015, it was all about the quesadilla. Mexican cuisine, a rigorously hopped Australian IPA and the footy on the tele was indeed a recipe for success. However, as a new season dawns and as the Swannies undertake a season of rejuvenation, so does the game day menu at our place. This year, I foresee Friday (and Thursday, Saturday or Sunday) nights filled with the tantalising aromas and taste of slow-cooked lamb shanks. Wintery Tasmanian evenings call for such a thing. Paired with a bold, malted and roasted stout, this year will see a return to the richness of good ol� fashioned hearty fare. Mmm�.delicious.

    Boom Recruits:
    Brett Kirk and Rhyce Shaw. Ever heard of them? Thought so. The ex-teammates and premiership Bloods have been recruited to bolster our coaching stocks. And with all due respect to Mills, Sinclair and Talia, these two may just provide the injection of innovation and inspiration that this team needs. Fresh ideas from club champions can administer a renewed focus that leads to an enhanced level of confidence. Both heart and soul Bloods when playing, their passion for the place will be infectious. And worst case scenario is, we�ve just got �em back in the red and white!

    Match of the Year:
    Easy. Round 22 v North Melbourne @ Blundstone Arena - For selfish reasons of course. The ground is a five-minute drive down the road, ten minutes when stopping en route at the local store for my favourite combination of a strong flat white and chicken salad roll. They know my order. The ground is nestled on the eastern shores of the Derwent River opposite Hobart�s CBD and apparently now officially qualifies as �boutique.� Last time the Swannies came to town, throngs of red and white filled the banks of the hill and we were treated to a third quarter exhibition as our boys piled on eleven goals to finish the day victorious. More of the same please.

    The Sydney Swans will be premiers.
    Buddy will win the Coleman.
    Hanners will win the Brownlow.
    Millsy will claim the Rising Star.
    Memberships will surpass the 50,000 mark.
    Heeney will surpass the Wiz as our all-time favourite blonde.
    Did I mention the Swannies will be premiers?
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. dimelb's Avatar
      dimelb -
      Great work Joe. And although it's more or less obligatory to predict a flag, I think this playing group with its mixture of old heads and young thrillers has the capacity to do it.

      Trivia: it's not 'foul swoop', it's more like 'swell foop'.
    1. CureTheSane's Avatar
      CureTheSane -
      Nothing surer than the Swans taking the flag this year
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