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12's Melbourne Trip

Swanny Tigers 12’s Team

Match report v Cottesloe – Sat 28th May 2011-05-31

Etihad Stadium, Docklands, Victoria.



To do justice to this match report, it is necessary to go back to Friday morning, when 16 excited players and 20 bleary-eyed parents boarded a Qantas flight to Melbourne for a weekend of pure football indulgence. The flight across was memorable, only for the fact that the boys could not sit still, and narrowly missed being strangled by a rampaging Flight Attendant.


Upon arrival we encountered a much nicer bus driver, and headed into Southbank where a quick check-in awaited us at the Travelodge, and soon we were off to the Westpac Centre where an informative tour was kindly held by the Collingwood Football Club. This was followed by a short stroll to Gosch’s Paddock in Yarra Park for a light training run and some specific goal kicking practice. It was clear that the boys were in good form as Joey Johns, Josh McEvoy and Billy Reithmuller all won their respective sharp shooting competitions.  An ugly incident was averted when a security guard approached checking our faultless credentials to be on the oval but he was quickly sent on his way when elder statesmen Levy, Barwood and Woodford exercised some legal jargon.


Our subsequent jaunt then took us to the MCG for the Carlton/Melbourne clash, where the boys made the first of many raids on the AFL Superstore. Apparently the store has now closed for renovation and re-stocking after the Swanny Tigers spent 3 days in there. The most unusual purchase of the night was the Gold Coast Suns beanie, made popular by Jarrad Sheridan. A number of boys followed suit, much to the delight of the parents who now had a beacon of orange to follow around for the next few days.


The highlight of the game was the visit to the change-rooms, where Juddy was in action. The game itself was a slippery affair, where Carlton always had Melbourne’s measure. A 10.30pm walk back to Southbank was a fitting end to a busy day.
At the airport                            Training at Gosch's Paddock      Carlton changerooms



A leisurely breakfast was followed by a taxi convoy to the MCG, where we had a great tour, courtesy of an amateur comedian and friendly Victorian who was informative and most entertaining. We then moved down to the Sports Museum to partake of the many interactive sports on offer and of course another visit to the AFL Superstore.


Our absence from the Travelodge also enabled the catering staff to re-stock the Breakfast Bar with hash-browns!


Our MCG tour was followed by a virtual hijacking of a tram down Collins St to Docklands Stadium. Fortunately, no tram inspectors were in attendance as we struggled to decipher the ticketing system, and as a result travelled for free. On arrival at Etihad Stadium, the boys focus was clear for all to see. These were men on a mission, and they meant business. The actual AFL game between Sydney and North Melbourne was a tight tussle in the first half, highlighted by some inaccurate kicking for goal, but also a close contest.


The half-time siren meant the moment had arrived, and the Swanny Tigers, resplendent in their Kangaroos jumpers stormed onto the field for 14 minutes of frenzied football. Certain players after the game said they had never heard a more inspirational pre-game address from Coach Johns, and it showed as the boys threw themselves into the fray and played an absolute blinder. Swanny Tigers were first on the board but Cottesloe were not to be denied, and hit back. Both sides played some great football and as a shortened version of the game, was a genuine classic. It would not be fair to highlight any individual contributions given that this was the consummate team effort as the boys played for each other and to the coach’s expert instruction. In the grandstand, parents snapped away with their telephoto lenses, hoping to capture this golden moment


At the final siren, astute judges (the players) thought that the Kangaroos (Swanny) had just pipped the Swans (Cott) but regardless of the result this game was an unforgettable experience for the players and a terrific thrill for the parents to see their boys on such an occasion. As if to coincide with the incredible Little League game, the actual Sydney/Kangaroos game kicked up a notch or two, with an exciting last quarter where the Kangaroos hit the front, only to be denied in the dying seconds. The crowd reaction was deafening, and the whole trip to Etihad was superb.


Another stroll back to Southbank where we took over The Blue Train Restaurant for the team dinner was another highlight. Senior Stateswomen Johns and Sheridan had selected this restaurant which served up delicious food and warm hospitality as the whole touring group enjoyed each other’s company. After dinner, the boys ate their own body weight in ice-cream and retired back to the hotel for a quick game of corridor footy and couch jumping, while others watched the Gold Coast take on the Cats or devoured the many chips and chocolates in the vending machine.
MCG tour - interchange benches


Another quiet breakfast where record numbers of hash browns were again consumed followed by a few hours of relaxing free time. Many of the tour party converged on Victoria Markets where the parents delighted in buying good coffee and morning tea and the boys delighted in buying illegal tazers, lighters and other fun contraband.


Another FREE tram ride to the MCG saw us sitting fairly and squarely next to the Collingwood Cheer Squad who entertained us all day with shaved heads, impressive bum cracks and dodgy tattoos. The boys obviously took time to again visit the AFL superstore where many of them were on a first name basis with the staff.  Unfortunately, as far as the game went, the Eagles were never in the hunt, and Collingwood did as they pleased and won easily.


Such was the inability of the Eagles to apply any meaningful pressure, well respected football Broadcaster Dennis Cometti was moved to make mention of the Swanbourne Army in the crowd and wonder if their previous days heroics could be more effective against the Magpie Machine.


Another pleasant walk back to the hotel following the orange beanie beacons and we caught the bus to Tullamarine and hopped back onto our plane. It would be an understatement to say this weekend was a success. The behaviour of the boys representing their football club was first rate, and equally pleasing was the behaviour of the parents.

On behalf of all the players and parents, a huge thank-you to Keith Johns for all his pre-flight organising and easy-going co-ordination of the trip. This experience will stay with us and our sons for a long time. We are all also indebted to the generous sponsors who made this trip possible: Gwarda Sports, Watpac, Blake Dawson, Glenway Homes and Claremont Quarter.


A special mention to parents Carol Sheridan, Paul Riethmuller, Clayton Ryder and John Woodford as generous sponsors, our well organised Team Manager James Smith, Sharon Johns for organising the team dinner and also Helen Riethmuller for organising club visits and passes. We are very fortunate to belong to a club that provides such experiences for our kids, and makes us feel welcome and valued in the process.