The Goulburn Swans’ final game of the season, played on Sunday, was not their most spectacular this season, but there was no lack of spirit.
Not only did the gale-force wind blowing across the field make playing conditions challenging, it was difficult for spectators in the dozens of cars that surrounded the field to keep track of the score as the numbers kept blowing off the board.
The Cooma Southern Cats had brought plenty of supporters, determined to see their team move one step closer to a guaranteed finals spot.
While Goulburn’s chances of making the finals were slim, there were plenty of enthusiastic players keen to put on a jersey and join in the scrapping.
The day was touted as sponsors day and plenty of the Swans’ loyal supporters attended to watch the hard-fought tussles between the two ACTAFL teams take place.
The Astor Hotel, which has supported the club well all season, provided sandwiches and liquid refreshments for the sponsors and other invited guests.
It was the Cats who got the early lead with a combination of well-placed kicks and determined scrapping for the ball. That early lead was never overtaken, though the scores remained in contact throughout the match.
The way players and those who have essentially retired form playing support each other is a notable feature of the Swans.
Throughout the year, when players were injured or unavailable through unavoidable commitment clashes, others got the boots out of mothballs to ensure a team ran onto the paddock.
Heath Russell, who announced his retirement to spend more time with family, played several games, including the one on Sunday. Adam Wilson, the current treasurer, also played a couple of games when numbers were short. Even Steve Armstrong had a go.
Several new players have joined the Swans this season and made an on-field impact.
New coaches Brody Willis and Scott Fleming brought their own enthusiasm for the game to training sessions, adding a new dimension and encouraging team spirit.
Most of Sunday’s game was played on the far side of the field. Mat Paton and Toby Barton found themselves out-muscled in the midfield by the Cats’ pack.
In the backs, David Nell had his work cut out, while Rory Heffernan did a fair portion of the clearing kicking.
Glenn Currie seemed to play a very similar game to Steve Armstrong, who was watching from the boundary. Armstrong used to be all over the field, never stopping, looking to grab any loose ball.
Goulburn ended with 13-6-84 to Cooma’s 15-11-101.