Newell’s Notes Round 20 Greater Western Sydney Giants vs Sydney Swans 2019

Swans blew it

As we wrote in our match day report, Sydney basically blew it with poor shots on goals, spilled marks and poor defensive errors. The old adage good or better teams make you pay for your mistakes was clearly on show on Saturday, but only by a whisker. The Giants were very lucky to come away with a win. Mind you the Giants had many youngsters on the park, so that was a positive, but in my opinion (despite the other two wins which I did not see) have a lot of work to do to get anywhere near the quality of West Coast, Richmond or the Brisbane Lions. For Sydney they played a better brand of consistent footy. Last week they simply fell away against Geelong, this time they hung in tough and almost won. Isaac Heeney would have had sleepless nights the past few days thinking about those two missed shots right in front of the goals. James Rose also had two footy moments he’d rather forget with a clumsy attempt and fumble of a mark in front of goal and then later a shot on goal that was shanked badly into a defender for a on the mark smother. Swans coach John Longmire’s disappointment at the loss was clearly visible during the post game press conference. This is new territory for him with Sydney missing out on the finals for the first time since 2009. One wonders how he’ll use the remaining games.

The dynamic duo

One of the heartening developments for the Giants this year has been the form of Brent Daniels and the latest inclusion of Bobby Hill. Daniels is one young tough hombre. The nuggety forward has plenty of speed and presence to snag the odd goal or two when required. He reminds us a little of a Hayden Ballantyne type. He’s played every game this season for the Giants and every game is an obvious learning lesson. He’s a keeper and one wonders if he will shine during the upcoming finals series. The other part of the equation is Bobby Hill. We saw his stunning debut at the MCG where his pace and skill stood out big league.  Hill kicked a superb goal on Saturday halfway through the second term and the Giants fans roared their approval. He could become a crowd favorite if he starts to bag goals. Again like Daniels he’s the type of forward that could kick a clutch, snap goal in a game of significance. We hope so. Both lads show tremendous promise for the Greater Western Sydney Giants.

Loved the “college football” band pre-game & the Sting was beaten!

Nice touch by the Giants to feature a cool percussive band pre-game complete with Giants flag twirlers. Had a  college football type feel about it. Good job by the St Agnes Parish band. The other cool matchday entertainment feature that has had Giants fans glued the past few months has been the “Beat the Sting” competition. A fan is pitted up against a mysterious man dressed head to toe in red lycra. (Many in the press box have speculated on just who is this mystery man?) Anyhow if the Sting is beaten, the prize is a brand new Kia Stinger car. Week after week the “Sting” has coolly and cruelly ran down several opponents and casually strutted away. Not this day. Competitor Sam Hughes got off to a belting start and hung on as the crowd urged him on as he broke the tape well ahead of the Sting. One wonders how the normally cocky Sting dealt with the loss. Did he sit alone somewhere in the bowels of Giants stadium shaking his head over a few coldies? Instead he was back slapping Sam Hughes with his new car. Great promo segment by the Giants, has plenty of hilarious angles to it (that cape reminds me of a certain notorious Aussie risque show that had puppets involved and is now a Las Vegas comedy fixture). The other plus is the competition is winnable, you just have to have good hamstrings and a talent to retain speed. Great job Sam! and the Giants marketing team.

Students from the St Agnes band did a great job before the game. Photo : Jodie Newell

Sam Hughes beats “The Sting” to win a brand new car. Image source: screen-grab from the Giants Official AFL website

VALE Steve Chisholm, Kudos to son Alex Chisholm who goal umpired at Saturdays match

Steve Chisholm Image source : Steve Chisolm Facebook page

Finally, We all get stuck into the umpires. A lot did on the weekend over the Sam Reid mark and possible free kick in the dying seconds. I’ve been guilty many times to of having a go at the umps we all do it wouldn’t be the footy if we didn’t! At the end of the day umpires are human and we all make mistakes we aren’t perfect.

On Saturday there was a story that not too many people would know about. A young bloke by the name of Alex Chisholm donned the grey and lime and walked up in between the goal posts to help ensure four premiership points were decided upon correctly.

No big deal you may think, just one or two hand signals or a gesture to a boundary umpire that the ball is out on the full. Fill in the scorecards, wave the flags at the scoreboard at games end and simply walk off the field and it’s an easy day. At Saturdays game, one Alex Chisholm had to goal umpire the day after he attended the funeral for his father Steve Chisholm who had passed away after a battle with cancer. I’ve also learnt that during the Giants v Collingwood game of a couple of weeks ago, Alex had to leave his father’s palliative care bedside to do his goal umpiring job. Again, Alex did his job, there were no bad decisions, no controversy, just a tremendous, professional goal umpiring job done by Alex on the day.

One wonders how tough a day it must have been for Alex, his family and his mates. Just looking at Steve’s Facebook pics and talking with some of his colleagues, it’s clearly obvious he had a deep passion for AFL and encouraged his son to take up umpiring. Steve also mentored current AFL score reviewer Andrew Scovell’s career. Steve was a goal umpire himself and was involved in Sydney AFL and the Lane Cove Cats encouraging others with their love of the game. There’s even a pic of Steve wearing an AFL umpiring top in his hospital bed that’s so unbelievably cool! and a massive statement of love and passion for the great game of Australian Rules Football.

How cool is this? Steve Chisholm wearing his NSW AFL umpiring top..brilliant Image source : Steve Chisolm Facebook page

Seeing Alex and his father together at a game of sport is so relatable.There are so many of us who attend this game or other sports due to their father’s encouragement and influence. Our Dad’s encourage us to take an interest, to talk about games, players, learn the history, the rules, get involved etc etc..

Steve & Alex Chisholm at an English Premier league game Image source : Steve Chisolm Facebook page

On Saturday, There were no “controversial” goal decisions and as per usual as we have always maintained (and not because we are NSW based) we have the BEST goal adjudicators in the country backed up by a magnificent goal line staff in people such as Andrew Scovell and John Curran.

It’s easy to laugh at the umps and make fun of them, but they perform an essential role in the game of football that is under appreciated and unfairly ridiculed. Sure it’s OK to poke fun and laugh at stuff but sometimes comedy goes too far and it reinforces unacceptable behavior directed at the umpires. I’m going to cite the Front Bar and their “satirical” attacks on the current AFL score review team and the continued use of footage of a baboon at a keyboard. My question to the “comedy” scribes at the Front Bar is this: If it wasn’t OK for a young girl and Eddie McGuire to refer to Adam Goodes in a similar fashion why is it OK to refer to the score reviewers of AFL in the same manner?

These people do a tremendous, professional job 90% of the time, name me a player, a CEO, a journo, anyone who hasn’t made a mistake?

The umpires have a deep passion for the game…and learning about the story of Steve and Alex Chisholm and how Alex did a tremendous job on Saturday was brave, admirable and inspiring. So next time when you watch a game of AFL think about those folks who run the boundary, wave the goal flags, blow the whistle, review the video for a score review who make sure a result is achieved in a fair and reasonable manner. They are people just like you and me.

– Many, many thanks to Andrew Scovell and John Curran for their info on Steve and Alex and our prayers and sincere sympathy go to Alex, his family and friends, especially those in the NSW AFL umpiring fraternity.


About the Author

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