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Plugger’s point added to Heritage List

Swans Media - Josh Berriman  March 18, 2013 8:20 PM

SwansTV: Swans Heritage list: Pluggers point Swans legend Tony Lockett kicked a winning point after the siren against Essendon in 1996 to earn the Swans a berth in the Grand Final
Tony Lockett reflects in the rooms after the 1996 preliminary final

Tony Lockett reflects in the rooms after the 1996 preliminary final

With three minutes remaining in the 1996 Preliminary Final, the Sydney Swans were staring down the barrel of a home finals exit excruciatingly close to their first Grand Final appearance in over 50 years.

A goal to Essendon’s Michael Symonds had extended the visitor’s lead to 12 points deep into time-on of the frantic final quarter, and the Bombers looked set to advance to the season decider against North Melbourne.

But as they did the previous week against Hawthorn in the qualifying final, the Swans fought back from the death, with Dale Lewis goaling from 10 metres out, followed up by Daryn Cresswell with a crucial goal from 40 metres out that tied the scores.

In the dying moments of the game, the Swans were able to sweep the ball from defence into their attacking 50, before a quick clearing kick from Essendon’s Symonds was marked by Wade Chapman on the western wing of the SCG. Rather than bomb the ball long into the forward line, Chapman spotted up leading Swans full-forward Tony Lockett with a perfect kick to advantage which he marked with 17 seconds on the clock.

The siren sounded as Lockett lined up for goal, and any score would see the Swans into the Grand Final. With his recent groin troubles that saw him miss the qualifying final win, it took Lockett’s best kick to send the ball 55 metres through for a famous point that booked the Swans first Grand Final appearance since being defeated by Carlton in 1945.

Tony Lockett’s 1996 preliminary final behind was one of four items added to the Sydney Swans Heritage List at Monday night’s Guernsey Presentation and Hall of Fame Dinner, presented by Volkswagen.

2013 Sydney Swans Heritage List additions:

The 1881 premiership, the Club’s first

The 1881 season was a momentous one for the fledgling South Melbourne Football Club. Not only did “those red and white beauties”, as they were known, play at the Lake Oval for the first time, they also won their first VFA premiership - just a year after the amalgamation with the Albert Park Club.

The VFA had been formed in 1877 and in 1880 South was runner-up to Geelong. There were no Grand Finals in that era, so the Club with the best record during the season was declared the premier. In September 1881, South faced a crunch match against Geelong at the Lake Oval, with the winner assured of the flag.

The match attracted more than 10,000 fans, including 500 who had arrived from Geelong by “special train”. The “home” crowd was hoping to see the star of the era, South’s Jimmy Young – known as “the Little Wonder” – perform his tricks. South, led by A.G. Major, won by four goals to one (behinds did not count until the VFL was formed for the 1897 season) and The Argus reported that “the match was the finest that has been played this season”. Young was named South’s best player.

South went on to win further VFA flags in 1885 and from 1888-90, as well as VFL/AFL flags in 1909, 1918, 1933, 2005 and 2012, giving the Club a total of 10 premierships.

In the Blood, by Jim Main

In preparation for the first Swans Hall of Fame event in 2009, the Club realised the need for a comprehensive history, to fill some of the voids and dispel myths about the Club’s past.

Club Chairman Richard Colless called on Club Historian, journalist and passionate Swans supporter Jim Main to take on this momentous task.

Only Jim’s passion could have achieved such a brilliant compilation of the seasons, champions and accolades across the Club’s history.

The book is now gifted to all new players at the Guernsey Presentation Ceremony to ensure that all players are familiar with the history of our Club, and carry its meaning with them.

In the Blood will continue to be the most complete record of the Bloods’ history and ensure that the challenges and triumphs of the past are forever remembered.

The Matthews family

The Swans have had numerous father-son and brother combinations, but no family has given the Club more service than the Matthews. The Matthews dynasty started with E. Herbert Matthews, who played 33 games with South in 1914 and 1923-24. His nickname of “Butcher” gives a clue as to how he played the game.

Son J. Herbert C. Matthews played 191 games in the red and white from 1932-45 and, apart from serving the Club as captain and coach, won a Brownlow Medal in 1940. Herbie Matthews was the champion centreman of his era, and was Brownlow runner-up in 1937 and 1941, as well as five-time Swans’ Best and Fairest. Brothers Norm (28 games from 1938-40) and Don (31 games from 1956-58) also played with the Swans.

Herbie Jnr’s son Herb started his VFL career with Melbourne in 1961 but after four seasons gravitated to the Swans and played 82 games with South from 1964-69. A reliable back pocket, young Herb was every bit as courageous as his father and grandfather. Three generations of Matthews, involving five family members, served the Club with enormous distinction.

Tony Lockett’s behind in the 1996 preliminary final

Would champion full-forward Tony Lockett take his place in the Swans line-up for their 1996 preliminary final against Essendon at the SCG? He had missed the qualifying final, against Hawthorn because of a groin strain and there were fears he would be sidelined again.

However, Lockett took his place in the side, and despite being restricted to one goal, became the Swans’ hero with the last kick of the match.

In a topsy-turvy match, scores were level with less than a minute to play. Swans midfielder Wade Chapman marked on a wing and saw Lockett, his injured groin painful, make a lead. The Chapman kick found its mark and Lockett went back for his kick with just a few seconds to play. Any score would put the Swans into a Grand Final for the first time since 1945.

Lockett, 55 metres from goal, put everything into his kick and, despite the ball slewing to the left, it tumbled through for a behind. Little wonder the red and white among the 41,000 fans at the SCG that night went wild with excitement.

Sydney Swans Heritage List


1880 Guernsey
Lake Oval
Our Emblem – the Swan
Club Song
QBE Insurance
Leo Barry’s mark
Sydney Cricket Ground
Bob Pratt’s 150 goals
Sydney Swans Guernsey
Nick Davis’ four last quarter goals
The 1881 premiership, the Club’s first
In the Blood, by Jim Main
The Matthews family
Tony Lockett’s behind in the 1996 preliminary final