I love the AFL (Australian Football League). I rarely get to see my own team play. I am based in Melbourne and follow a team based in Sydney.
I get asked a lot why do I follow an interstate team? It wasn’t always the case. I swapped teams when I was 7 or 8 years old. I use to be a Carlton supporter following after my Dad but for whatever reason I decided to change teams. I ended up picking a team which at the time was very close to the bottom of the ladder.
I remember tossing up between whether to follow Sydney Swans or West Coast Eagles because both teams had players I admired. From the West Coast Eagles it was Peter Matera and from Sydney Swans it was Paul Kelly and Tony Lockett.
The exact moment I decided to go for Sydney was when I was watching a West Coast game and Peter Matera got reported for a very unsportsmanlike action. Even at the young age I was I understood the difference between fair play and dirty play and this really put me off West Coast which made the decision a lot easier.
One I got that Sydney Swans indoor branded football that was the end of it. Discussions done I was now a Sydney Swans supporter.
It was a long time before I saw any success from the Swans, and my old team Carlton was doing quite well. They were like a second team to me at the time. I still went to the football with my Dad but if it was a Sydney vs Carlton game I would be in there in my Red and White cheering on the boys.
In 2005 I got the chance to go to my first Grand Final. I was very lucky. I was a restricted MCC Member which didn’t give me guaranteed access to the Grand Final but because there were two interstate teams playing that year. Sydney and West Coast ironically they opened the MCC tickets up to restricted members and at the time they were about $110 a ticket so me and my Dad both bought a ticket and got up super early to go to the game as the seats were not allocated in certain areas it was first in best dressed.
We were in row D, 4 rows back from the fence on the 50 metre arc in the members. They were fantastic seats and the noise at the game was like nothing I had ever heard before. I thought ANZAC Day was loud but the Grand Final it was clear that no supporter was leaving anything in the bag in terms of bringing the passion and volume.
The game came down to the wire. I remember Luke Ablett kicking the ball across the goal face and it was intercepted by Ben Cousins and I thought that could be the game. Somehow we came back and managed to get in front. Then I was fortunate enough to be sitting right in front of football history. I saw Leo Barry take a saving mark in defence, the one that is replayed over and over again. I know for the rest of my life I will be saying I was at that game. There is nothing quite like winning a Premiership.
I have been fortunate enough to be at the 2005, 2006 and 2012 Grand Final. 2005 and 2012 were winning years. 2006 we fell just short and although we made it to the 2014 Grand Final no restricted member tickets were released that day so I was unable to get into the ground, which turned out to be a fortunate thing because Sydney Swans got absolutely belted by a far superior Hawthorn on the Day.
2012 I have fond memories of. I had arrived in the country 2 weeks before Grand Final. I went to the Grand Final parade and I got picked out of the crowd to enter a painting competition thanks to British Paints. The little master himself Boomer Havery picked me as the winner and I had to make a speech in front of a couple of thousand people.
The Day of the Grand Final I wasn’t going to the game, I didn’t have tickets or money for that matter after just coming back from a 4 month trip around America. I was on twitter when I saw that they were going releasing tickets to restricted members there would be about 3,000 tickets up for grabs. The only problem was they were $300. I was in debt at the time already and but my family offered to loan me the money if I really wanted to go. I stewed on it for about 10 minutes and then decided bugger it I’m going I’ll regret it if I don’t. So I forked out $300 for a Grand Final ticket and made my way to the game.
It was a much different experience from the 2005 Grand Final. I was in the nose bleed sections 2 rows back from the last row on the 4th level. But regardless I was just happy to be there. I managed to capture the moment on camera just as the final siren went. Warning… it always makes people laugh.
My Swannies are taking on the Fremantle Dockers today, a loss would mean playing the winner of Richmond Vs North Melbourne and a win would mean we are straight into an elimination final.
CHEER CHEER THE RED AND THE WHITE!!