Newell’s Notes Round 8 Sydney Swans v Essendon 2019

“Shakergate”

Have to say I didn’t see Dane Rampe jump or shake the goalpost during David Myers last gasp attempt. And I had no idea of that heading to the post-game presser. Just to give you an idea of what it’s like post-game. You have to rush down to the rooms, beat the crowds, beat the ultra-slow Brewongle Stand lifts (definitely the slowest lifts in the world). Then you get into the mayhem that is the change rooms. No chance to see replays or synopsis. You might get a quick glance at stat sheets, the AFL app, Twitter etc, tap a club media official on the shoulder and ask for 90 seconds with a player, then head off to the coach post-game presser. I asked John Worsfold what he thought about the Myers shot, and like myself, John had no idea or did not mention the Rampe shake. Sydney coach John Longmire didn’t mention it either in his presser. But looking at the AFL 2019 Rules of the game, it’s clear, what Rampe did was an infringement and a free kick should have been awarded, and like so many decisions this season, the umpires got it totally wrong.

17.11.1 Free Kicks – Shaking Goal Post or Behind Post
Unless Law 17.11.3 applies, a Free Kick shall be awarded against a Player or Official who intentionally shakes a goal or behind post (either before or after a Player has disposed of the football).

17.11.2 Taking Free Kick
The following shall apply to a Free Kick awarded under Law 17.11.1:
(a) If a Free Kick is awarded against a Player or Official of the Defending
Team and a Goal is not scored, the Player from the Attacking Team
who was about to or who has Kicked for Goal, shall take the
Free Kick at the centre of the Goal Line.

– Laws of Australian Rules 2019

Coach Worsfold gave Myers a 1% chance of kicking a miracle post-siren goal. Photo: Jodie Newell

Cynthia Banham a proud member of the Sydney Swans footy family

Never mind what stupid Eddie McGuire said about Cynthia Banham, she’s a much loved and valued member of the Sydney Swans football club. There are so many diverse people associated with the club and each person has an amazing story. Cynthia’s story of how she survived the awful Garuda Indonesia Flight 200 in March of 2007 is an incredible, moving, inspirational tale. Unfortunately Cynthia lost both of her legs in the accident, and reading about her, she’s faced a tough, hard struggle to get some semblance of “normality”. Cynthia is a parent and continues to write and obviously loves watching the Swans win. She was in the Paul Kelly race along with her husband, Michael Harvey after the game to pat the boys on the back and listen to a rousing, roaring version of the Swans club theme song led by another Swans character, Kenny Williams. Just the simple act of seeing Cynthia there was really uplifting.The Sydney players stopped and acknowledged her as they headed into the sheds. After the post-match celebrations, I said g’day, shook her hand and she quietly said hello. The incredible people you meet at the footy. Cynthia Banham is a tough character, a winner, a tremendous person and an amazing woman.

Cynthia Banham & husband Michael Harvey in the Paul Kelly race saying g’day to the victorious Swans. Photo: Jodie Newell

Cynthia Banham and Michael Harvey check out the Swans singing their victory song. Photo: Jodie Newell

Happy Horse

The only way you could have removed the smile from John Longmire’s face on Friday night would have only been via surgery (as WWE colour commentator Jerry “The King Lawler” would quip) Horse was happy in the nature of the win, being many of his young charges stepped  up on Friday night. Jordan Dawson, Tom McCartin, Nick Blakey, Robbie Fox and Colin O’Riordan, so many “different names” as Longmire told us in the post-game presser, made significant contributions to the win. Dawson booted 2 goals, Blakey made some crucial tackles, the Irishman Colin O’Riordan kicked his first ever AFL goal after a crazy 100 metre penalty, Fox was hard in the contest. These guys are the future of the club and it will be interesting to see if this group can perform consistently. We spoke with Robbie Fox, who like many players in the team, have played only a handful of senior football.

Evolving. John Longmire is enjoying the input of his youngsters. Photo: Jodie Newell

Essendon’s wing formation with Andrew McGrath

It is interesting seeing how coaches are approaching the new set ups at the bounce. With traditional field positions back in place, coaches are employing a variety of strategies. One thing I noticed at the SCG on Friday was how Essendon used Andrew McGrath. Consider the following centre bounce formation photo below. McGrath starts on the wing then instead of running towards the centre bounce-down contest, McGrath would slide down and across to around the centre-half back area and acted like a “sweeper” if a ball came down into the Sydney forward zone. McGrath picked up 3 rebound 50 metre possessions and laid 5 tackles and had 25 disposals for the game, so the ploy worked reasonably well. The changes have made the game more interesting and it’s a wild scramble at the bounce especially when a game is close, such as the Melbourne Gold Coast finish on Saturday night.

Essendon’s Andrew McGrath acted as a sweeper at times on Friday night at the SCG. Photo: Jodie Newell

The Greater Western Sydney Giants MCG abysmal record

I almost threw my phone in disgust at the TV screen yesterday regarding the Greater Western Sydney Giants performance against Hawthorn at the Melbourne Cricket Ground yesterday. They were heavy favorites to win and put in what could only be described as one of the worst performances in the clubs history. One goal four after half time? are you serious? Pundits were rolling out an ill-informed excuse of that the Giants had lost most of their MCG games in their early years, which to a point is true, but by crikey they have played some big games and logged a bucketload of big game experience at the ‘G. I cite the 2017 Preliminary final against Richmond. You could not have had more of a cauldron, pressure cooker atmosphere that day. The Giants were like deers in the headlights as a manic Richmond torched any hope of a grand final appearance. Did they learn from that? No. Fast forward to 2018, The Semi Final v Collingwood, a similar environment, similar size crowd 72, 000+ and hyper crazy Pie fans. Same result, they folded that night like banana lounges. Tears in the rooms, hurt, misery etc etc. Do you think the Giants remembered any of that regret and pain yesterday? did they show the football world that it DOES matter that you win at the MCG and the answer is a resounding No. I was astounded to hear Leon Cameron say before the game something along the lines of that he doesn’t think too much about the current MCG record. Maybe it’s time he and his staff make it an OBSESSION. That they know everything about this ground, about the breeze, about structures, set ups which surely they would have their heads around some of that. Why is important? It’s where premierships are won and legacies and history created. It’s the 18th hole. It’s AFL mecca.

How do we play this place? The Giants MCG win / loss record is abysmal  Photo: Jodie Newell

I’ve seen the Giants and Sydney over the past decade walk into this hallowed place and be absolutely blown away by the experience of teams who know this ground inside and out. Sure it’s a home ground for many teams, but West Coast went their last year and won the flag because they know what it takes to win there and have a historical legacy to back that up. The Sydney Swans learnt and won two flags in recent times (2005 and 2012). This current group of Giants player would have vivid memories of the 2017 and 2018 finals games and I’m astounded that they served up that type of performance yesterday. It was a damning indictment on how far this team can go in 2019 and going by what I saw, there’s a very good chance they wont go any deeper other than a semi final if they make it to the MCG at the end of the season. Happy to be proven wrong, but Sunday’s effort has to be called out due to the talent and finals experience they have.

For the record the Greater Western Sydney Giants have the WORST winning percentage at the Melbourne Cricket Ground of any CURRENT AFL team. The Giants are at 12.50 % winning percentage (16 games played 2 wins and 14 losses) The only teams below them are the Brisbane Bears 11.54% (26 games played 3 wins, 23 losses) (merged) and University 6.98% (43 played, 3 wins, 40 losses) (defunct) Even the Gold Coast Suns have a better winning percentage 23.08% (13 games played 3 wins, 10 losses)  Venue stats from AFL Tables

About the Author

Jodie Newell
Love reporting on sports, politics, history and music