Why I love the Swans

Good evening all, it's wet, windy and freezing here in Melbourne. The Swans have announced their teams ahead of the Saints Pride match on Saturday night and as expected, Sam Reid makes way with a groin complaint, with Callum Sinclair making his return.

The coaching panel gave Sam every chance to prove his fitness, but despite the fact he pulled up OK after the match, his limited amount of training during the week worked against him.

“Sam tightened up early in the first quarter last week and actually pulled up ok during the week,” Longmire said.

“Unfortunately he couldn’t do a lot at training today so that means he is out.”

It's a big blow for Sam, as he's shown a fair bit of form this season, racking up career best averages in disposals and goals, with 2 hauls of three goals and equal career best 6 goal haul.

But when injuries strike, it creates opportunities for those waiting in the wings, and the first in line was definitely Callum Sinclair.

He's been maligned at times throughout his Swans career, struggling for fitness and endurance in his first season, before showing drastic signs of improvement this season.

Perhaps a true showing of his potential was the Eagles game earlier this season, when he rucked the match solo. The first quarter was as impressive a quarter as you'll see from the big man, as he rucked up possessions, marks and tackles, and was a valuable target for the Swans.

Recently though, he's found himself on the outside as the Swans have adopted a single ruckman game style, and while some would argue that its paid dividends, it has created structural issues.

Fortunately though, the best form of the Swans coincided with two ruckman in the team, despite the shocking performance against the Hawks. While he wasn't necessarily racking up huge numbers, he has certainly played better than Tippett in the ruck, while providing a decent clearance player too.

Despite the four goals from 11 games this season, he's rarely found himself in the forward 50, typically sitting on the bench after he's done rucking around the ground. In the NEAFL though, he's been in very impressive form, and was particularly impressive against the Suns two weeks ago, kicking four goals and playing well around the ground.

All the best to Callum, and hopefully he takes this new opportunity and makes the position his own. The best thing about this team is that there's a lot of options in style and structure, and the coaching panel has shown a lot of faith in flexibility.

Kurt Tippett is returning from injury and will play in the NEAFL this weekend, and is expected to be available for senior selection next week, given he makes it through without injury. He'll certainly make a second choice for the 2nd ruck player, and he'll be competing with Reid and Sinclair in a fortnights' time.

There's a reason why I love the Swans, and this week they've once again proven why. You can love an organisation for many reasons, products, purpose, community engagement, entertainment value and so on.

Often one thing that appeals to people when they align themselves with an organisation are company values, what they stand for in the community, how they engage with it, their morales and values, and overall stance. Even colours can have an impact, as well as employees that are charismatic and respectable.

This week the Swans have once again proven why they're the club for me, and the club for hundreds of thousands of Football followers across the country. The way they've adopted the Pride match is commendable, and the interview with the Newman's on AFL360 during the week, was just another example of the progressive nature of the club.

Swans Chairman Andrew Pridham said the match was an important fixture for the club.

“One of the core reasons we have a Pride Match is that there’s an element in our society that doesn’t accept people for their differences, and the views of a lot of those people are outdated,” Pridham told the Star Observer.

“I can’t list all the statistics but 75 per cent of LGBTI people believe it wouldn’t be safe to be openly gay in sport.

“The Swans’ view is that football is for everybody and we don’t want to judge anybody. We’re not taking a political stance, but we do want to provide a safe environment.”

“The fans do take it quite seriously,” he said.

“I know from when we played the first game for points last year, I had a significant number of gay friends and some people I don’t even know call or write to me to say they were incredibly emotional and appreciative.

“They said to have an organisation like the Swans tell them they were welcome and could be themselves meant a lot.

“I think often people in the LGBTI community can feel isolated and have a mainstream organisation like the Swans say it’s fine, you’re part of us, is so important.”

Unfortunately, there's always been a section of the community that's always struggled to accept people for their differences. Given the success of the AFLW and the openly gay footballers that competed, it's still shocking that there hasn't been an openly gay AFL footballer yet.

It's something that we discussed in this weeks podcast with Steven Park and Stephen Treloar, and while it's a wide ranging social issue that's seeing change from the government all the way through to the lowest reaches of society, there's still significant progress to be made.

But for the Swans to be leading the charge, amongst many other initiatives they run, it makes me immensely proud to have supported the club most of my life.

Sometimes you're spoiled for success and that resonates with people, sometimes there's community and culture, and it's passed on down through the family. But I'm glad I had the option to choose, and I'm glad I chose well.

I'm proud of the club I follow, and if I didn't love them, I wouldn't have the motivation and desire to blog about it.

In any case, the first Pride game in Sydney for premiership points will be another superb occasion and the only way to truly celebrate it is for the natives to get out in force, get the colours going and make lots of noise.

Speaking of future events, make sure you tune in for the next episode of The Swans Blog podcast SwansCast, as we're lucky to have 2012 premiership hero Ted Richards as our special guest.

He's forged himself a very successful career as a stock analyst and is currently the Director of Business Development at Six Park.

He's a very smart cookie, having finished his Bachelor and Masters by 2010, and retired just 9 months ago. We'll be talking to him about his time with Six Park, a bit of his history, the Swans of course, and we'll be taking questions from our listeners.

As always, you can hit us up on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, using the hashtag #SwansCast, or drop us a line directly, and we'll do our best to answer the questions.

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Justin Mitchell

Justin is a passionate AFL and Sydney Swans supporter, and football blogger since 2016. All articles are of his own opinion. You can reach him by twitter and Facebook at @theswansblog

Melbourne, Australia https://theswansblog.com

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