Superb day of pure football celebration
Perfect weather, big crowd, so many story-lines, Buddy’s 300th, Kieren, Jarryd, Nick and Heath all say goodbye, Hanna’s says “Hello Again” in different colours and the annual Pride game. So much to talk about. Favorite part of the game and probably one of the best highlights I’ve witnessed at the SCG was the roar from the crowd when Jarrad McVeigh and Kieren Jack kicked their goals in the final term. It couldn’t have been scripted any better. One thing about the Sydney crowd is they have always been knowledgeable, something the folks south of the border don’t acknowledge enough. They knew the significance of the occasion and those last couple of goals lit up the place big league. The Sydney Swans will never be able to replace the likes of these guys. They were responsible for bringing flags into the club. Whilst McVeigh didn’t play in the 2005 premiership team, he still played 13 games of that year and knew what success was all about. The Bloods culture was enhanced and no doubt enforced by Jarrad and it’s the likes of Luke Parker, Joey Kennedy and the younger brigade of Isaac Heeney, Tom Papley and even Nick Blakey who will carry this essential characteristic of the football club into the future.
Some memorabilia going Kieren Jack’s way
Amidst all of the back slapping and endless well-wishers, it was really, really cool to be able to catch up with Kieren Jack after the game for a brief moment. I was down in the Swans rooms and it was packed with players families and friends, Sydney staff. The word was that the players had headed off to the rooms for the obligatory end of season beers and it was unlikely any of them would be coming into the rooms soon. Anyhow, luckily Kieren Jack did emerge and I was able to track him down. I presented him with one of the best pics I have ever taken. It’s a shot of Kieren and Bobby Skilton in the Sydney rooms after a big win over Richmond at the MCG in 2017 (the year the Tigers would win the flag). The look of respect and admiration was captured in that shot and I thought it would be fitting to give Kieren a copy. Thank god for K-Mart (and no this isn’t an advert) photo printing service. Was able to put together a nice glossy print. Kieren really liked the photo and gesture and he remarked to me that he didn’t have too much memorabilia at home and that the photo would certainly be part of his collection, so I was really chuffed and taken aback by those words.If you’d like a free, high res copy, then please click on this link: https://adobe.ly/2PhykcS You’ll be able to save it!
The Pride round needs improvement
I don’t wish to sound like a killjoy, I think the annual Pride game is a great idea and has great potential. However, I found the Sydney Swans approach to be a little disappointing and it lacked input from the very people it wishes to embrace. It’s all fine and well to splash the rainbow colours around the place and have rainbow coloured cardboard corporate banners and megaphones plugging credit cards and gambling. Also where were the real stories of LGBT people who are involved in the industry? I found one article on the Sydney Swans website gob-smacking. In the article it was basically about a straight couple saying they have a sister “who’s a lesbian” they are proud to support. Great to hear that..but what about hearing from people from the LGBT community. The Swans on-field outfit kit really lacked a bold, proud LGBT statement. All the Swans had on was rainbow coloured socks which were barely visible. Full credit to the St-Kilda football club, whose rainbow numbers could be clearly seen. They’ve also had videos on their website of LGBT folks including trans woman Georgie Stone who is a massive St-Kilda supporter. One wonders if the Sydney club were worried about offending major team sponsor Qatar Airways, that nations major airline. Out and proud gay footy broadcaster Corbin Middlemas was quoted on Damien Barrett’s excellent podcast about his concerns about the Qatar deal. In Qatar they have strict anti-homosexual laws. It’s an unpleasant situation and it’s sending conflicting messages to the community. There is a massive potential to get more fans from the Sydney LGBT community which puts on the magnificent Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras. I think the Pride Game needs much improvement and needs to express a little more “soul” than simple tokenistic gestures..Remember the Sydney Swans crowd is knowledgeable!
No finals for the Swans
Coach Longmire immediately pointed out the fact at the post-game presser that the Swans for the first time in a long time weren’t going to be involved in September action. Natural attrition, combined with a tired football strategy are what I think are the key reasons behind missing the cut. Longmire’s game plan simply got sussed and had few tricks up his sleeve to counter it. Injuries didn’t help especially with Lance Franklin. The plus is the development of it’s youth. Tom McCartin, Tom Papley, Nick Blakey, Isaac Heeney, Lewis Melican,James Rowbottom, Ollie Florent. One wonders if Sydney are able to get back to it’s best days. We said all along that the re-appointment was the wrong move. Nothing against Longmire, but this is a new era and a new coach would have been the way to go. Time will tell I guess. The best win for Sydney this year was the 45 point belting of West Coast at the SCG in June. The best players for the year in our opinion were Josh Kennedy, Tom Papley, Luke Parker, Nick Blakey and Aliir Aliir. Most improved would be Tom McCartin. Sam Reid could also be thrown into that mix. Reid was able to play 22 games and booted 28 goals and took 114 marks. The final word on the Swans playing group has to go to Nick Blakey. What a sensational debut season. The kid is tough as. Lithe in stature, bit like Melbourne legend Robbie Flower, nothing on him, but incredible skill. Blakey ran into packs, dished out aggression when pushed around and attacked the ball like a madman.He appeared fearless and indestructible! I can’t wait to see how he progresses in the coming years.
The Saints where to now?
St-Kilda had 50-50 year. Tore out of the gate well at the start of the season. When we saw them play against the Giants in Canberra we thought they showed enough to think that they would challenge for a finals berth. Sadly the Saints were unable to gain any traction. It’s shame about Alan Richardson leaving, but that’s the football business. Nice guys don’t stay if they aren’t winning. Bit like Brendon Bolton. But it’s the AFL football business. Jack Steven’s absence didn’t help nor did Dan Hannebery’s injuries either. Hannebery gave glimpses of his importance to the future of the Saints in the past couple of games. Jack Steele has added spine to the midfield and Rowan Marshall posted some good numbers in the ruck. As caretaker coach Brett Ratten alluded to at the post-game presser, the club needs to recruit well to address it’s lack of consistent, winning football culture.As for Brett Ratten, I don’t think he’ll be named as coach with all due respect. General Manager Simon Lethlean accompanied Ratten to the post-game presser and he closely watched Ratten’s responses. Maybe Brad Scott will get the call. Again heaven help any team who appoints Ross Lyon. It would be a regressive move. For all of Lyon’s bluster and carry on, the fact is, his premiership winning ledger as a head coach of an AFL senior side is one big duck egg on the page. His use-by date has come and gone. Please Saints don’t go back to the future!
Congratulations to Jeremy Cameron & the Greater Western Sydney Giants
Well at least New South Wales football has one team in the finals. Better than South Australia and that’s saying something. Mind you the Giants fell in towards the end and it’s not going to be a long campaign in our opinion. They don’t or aren’t playing with an intensity that I’m seeing from Richmond, Brisbane, Collingwood, Geelong and the West Coast Eagles. Their first opponent in the second elimination final will be the Western Bulldogs who ARE playing with massive confidence and passion akin to their 2016 flag win. This upcoming final gives the Giants a big chance to make a stand and proclaim what they are really about. There are a few whose hearts were broken by the infamous 2016 Preliminary final loss to the Dogs that night. Let’s see how much it still hurts the Giants and how much desire for payback there is because there isn’t a better time than in the finals to put your opponent to the sword. Congratulations to Jeremy Cameron for booting clear on Saturday night against a woeful, sub-par Gold Coast Suns for the Coleman Medal. Cameron’s final tally of 67 goals were helped along with a 9 goal haul on Saturday. He deserves the medal, a lovely bloke and a real asset to the Giants. Let’s hope those trade whispers are snuffed out. He’s a Giant champion!
Congratulations to Werribee Centrals Western Region Football League Division 3 Under 16 PREMIERS
Well it’s finals time for many footy leagues around Australia. I know former Sydney Swans defender and now radio special comments man Troy Luff is playing next week in a grand final for the East Sydney football Club. Luffy loves his footy and it’s so cool to ask him about how his current on-field fortunes are going. On the weekend I had a personal interest in one team who was playing in a Grand Final on Sunday in Melbourne. The Werribee Centrals Under 16 team is coached by my cousin’s (Janine Mizzi) son, Scott Mizzi. The Centrals play in Division 3 in the Western Region Football league. The WRFL sees many players go through to the Western Jets Under 18 squad and has close ties to the Western Bulldogs football club. Anyhow Werribee Centrals went through season 2019 undefeated and faced Tarneit in the Grand Final. Centrals won the match by an impressive 70 points (Werribee Centrals 15-13-103 def Tarneit 4-9-33). Max Logan was best on ground with 4 goals, with Jye Davis and Jacob Knight (2 goals) also playing well for the Centurions. I spoke with Coach Mizzi earlier today and it had been a big weekend for him and his family with his son playing in another winning grand final team earlier in the day. Scott told me “It was all the about the boys, they were the ones who did the work, I’m really proud of them”. We all planned for this after a disappointing finish last year, so yeah it was a fantastic result. They are a great bunch of kids” I’m so proud of Scott because he dearly wanted to be part of a premiership side as player. Unfortunately he hasn’t been able to do that, but as a coach he has. His young team closed the deal, they executed the plan, they sunk the putt and THAT’s what you do to be a winner. You never gave up Cuz, So pleased to see you and your boys in the winners circle. Tremendous job by all at Werribee Centrals! Thanks for the photos Janine!