I don’t usually watch much AFL. I quite like it, but you know – if you’re not raised on it, it’s hard to care all that much, really. I certainly don’t like it as much as football. (You know, soccer.) But now’s not the time for the traditional Sydney indifference in the game they play to our south and west. Especially when Melbourne are in our rugby league grand final instead of us. So, for the first of many times over the next 24 hours, let me just say – SWAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNIIIIIIEEEEESSSSS!!!!!! Yep, the red and white bandwagon’s back in town for a limited time only. Here’s how you get on it.
In honour of last year’s grand final, I published a beginners’ guide to AFL terminology. This year, assuming we all know slightly more, here’s a few things I, and probably you, didn’t know about the Swans that you can master before tomorrow. Be the envy of everyone at your pub! (Who doesn’t actually follow the Swans. Don’t worry, you’ll be safe.)
AFL teams have so many players , there’s no way you’ll learn them all. Just remember:
- Barry Hall: Big guy, no hair, tattoo, kicks goals
- Adam Goodes: just won his second Brownlow. That’s a medal thingy. It means he’s good.
- Michael O’Loughlin: Been around for ages. Doesn’t look like James O’Loughlin
- Jude Bolton: Good midfielder, bad haircut
- Adam Schneider: Think cross between Adam Sandler and Rob Schneider, and you’re there
- Tadgh Kennelly: Name looks like a typo, but he’s just Irish
Constantly remind people that the team used to be called South Melbourne, and nicknamed the Bloods. You might want to point out that the “SMFC” on the back of the jerseys stands for South Melbourne Football Club. You might even like to say “Go South!” if you really want to show off. See Richard Hinds’ article for more on this.
Take the quiz here over and over again until you get it right. Then you can learn such gems as:
Before superstar Tony Lockett joined the Swans in 1995, he was full-forward for St. Kilda. What funny incident occurred at the Sydney Cricket Ground when the Saints and the Swans played there in 1993?
I don’t know the answer. Anyone? I’m sure it’s hilarious.
Did you know that minor celebrity and co-host of Big Brother Friday Night Live Ryan Fitzgerald played for the Sydney Swans in 2000, scoring 15 goals in his 10 games? I didn’t either.
Former Sydney star, now hero coach. Here’s some Wikipedia trivia about him to throw offhandedly into a conversation.
- He played mainly for Fitzroy – now amalgamated with Brisbane.
- Roos has played more AFL/VFL games wearing the number 1 jumper than any other player – every one of his 356 games at Fitzroy and Sydney.
- He has now guided Sydney to four consecutive finals appearances.
- Was criticised by AFL Chief Executive Andrew Demetriou for his team’s negative, choking style of play. Look at the scoreboard, Demetriou.
- He used to coach the little-known USA national AFL side. And despite this, he’s actually a good coach, apparently.
If you meet one of those rare Sydneysiders who actually knows quite a lot about the Swans, you can beat them by quoting random passages of the Club’s Constitution.
- It takes a vote of more than 75% of the Board to change the Swans’ Home Ground.
- If the Swans go broke, the members must chip in for its debts. But not more than $2.
- 21 days’ notice must be given for an Annual General Meeting
- Any Director may call a Board meeting.
- To the extent of any inconsistency between the constitution and the Licence Agreement between the Club and the AFL and any replacement agreement, the terms of the Licence Agreement prevail.
Note I didn’t say the trivia was actually interesting. Find your own here.
Want to impress others with the extent of your bogus commitment? As the website says: “Want to show your passion for the Sydney Swans? If so, consider becoming a member of the Sydney Swans Cheer Squad – it’s a lot of fun and is the best way to show your support for your team.”
Join up this afternoon by calling the Cheer Squad Manager on 0405 124 929.
Learn more about the Swans’ funniest-ever player here! Including how he used to drive a pink Ferrari, take speed before games, posed for Playboy with his wife, and is now a male stripper. (Kind of like what he did for Kimberley Cooper for free.) Seriously, read that last link. Would you pay $1200 to see Wazza nude? He’s doing a few Christmas parties, so watch out.
This is a really good way to show off, and also seem a bit like Rain Man. Just learn a few of the numbers here, or even just make them up, and everyone at your pub will be in awe of your knowledge. (And think you’re a bit of a loser)
Did you know Sydney is:
- Ranked 5th in Points Scored Per Game
- Ranked 1st in Tackles Per Game
- Ranked 1st in Hitouts Per Game
- Ranked 1st in least Opponent Kicks Per Game
- Ranked 1st in least Opponent Handballs Per Game
- Ranked 1st in least Opponent Disposals Per Game
- Ranked 1st in least Opponent Marks Per Game
- Ranked 2nd in least Opponent Points Scored Per Game
- Ranked 2nd in Team to Opponent Kicks Per Game Diff.
- Ranked 2nd in Team to Opponent Disposals Per Game Diff.
- Ranked 2nd in Team to Opponent Marks Per Game Diff.
- Ranked 2nd in Team to Opponent Points Scored Per Game Diff.
- Ranked 14th in Kicks Per Game
- Ranked 16th in Handballs Per Game
- Ranked 16th in Disposals Per Game
- Ranked 16th in Marks Per Game
Incomprehensible. But don’t worry, no-one will ask you to explain it. Their eyes will glaze over as soon as you say ‘disposals’. Mine always do.
Every AFL team has a ‘traditional’, or ‘lame’, team song. The grand old Melbourne clubs’ ones are hilarious, with kitsch arrangements involving horns and a banjo solo. It’s played incessantly in the event of a victory. I was out at Telstra Stadium last week to feign interest in the Swans while they clobbered the Dockers (who have by far the worst song in the league, as we heard), and they helpfully put the lyrics up on the big screen. But nothing makes you look like a legitimate Swans fan more than actually knowing the lyrics.
Cheer, Cheer the Red and the White
Honour the name by day and by night
Lift that noble banner high
Shake down the thunder from the sky
Whether the odds be great or small
Swans will go in and win over all
While her loyal sons are marching
Onwards to victory
Check out the awkward rhyme on “over all”, and how on earth do you shake down thunder from the sky? Oh, and you can listen here.
Photo: Tony Nolan