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In the Blood: Castro pumped for 2018

Zachary Gates  April 6, 2018 9:30 AM

Swans member Emma Castro will once again be cheering on the Swans at the SCG this weekend.

Swans member Emma Castro will once again be cheering on the Swans at the SCG this weekend.

Swans member Emma Castro first watched Sydney play in 2010 and eight years later her passion burns as hot as ever.

Ms Castro was at her uncle’s place on a quiet Saturday afternoon as he carried out some repairs on her mum’s television.

She switched on the TV to pass time and saw the Swans were taking on the St Kilda Saints in their opening clash of the 2010 season.

Aged 16 at the time, she would not miss a Swans game for the remainder of the year and early in the pieces of the club’s 2018 premiership campaign cannot wait to see Sydney face GWS at the SCG on Saturday.

The 23-year-old says there is a feeling around the Swans that’s had her hooked from the beginning.

“I love the culture,” Ms Castro said.

“The Swans are so loyal to each other and so loyal to their members. Every time I’ve come to the Swans membership days the players are absolutely beautiful.”

She says the match-day experience is “absolutely electric” and can recall one of her favourite games like it happened yesterday.

It was the 2015 season-opener against the Bombers and the Swans claimed a 12-point victory at home.

“The Swans were losing terribly during the first three quarters and my friend Kate and I had gone to the game,” Castro said.

“But I was sitting there saying they can still do it because you always have that belief that they’re at least going to keep fighting until the end.

“We only had about 20,000 packed in but by the end of the game the whole crowd was on its feet and it was such an electric atmosphere that we made it feel full. It was beautiful to have everyone come together and cheer the boys home.

“It doesn’t matter if we have the stadium full with Collingwood fans because they always bring everyone – we’re still going to cheer louder than the opposition.”

Sydney trailed Essendon by 34 points at three-quarter time but put on the afterburners in the final term to slam home seven goals to zero and claim a 72 to 60 win.

Young gun Isaac Heeney (17 disposals, one goal) made his AFL debut and Ms Castro said at the time he would become an “absolute superstar”.

But while the Swans’ victory over the Bombers was a heart-stopping come-from-behind epic, the Australian Catholic University student said nothing compared to the 2012 grand final.

She bought her first membership in 2012 and said the 10-point premiership triumph over Hawthorn was “a testament to the Swans spirit”.

She says ahead of the Swans’ first home game of the season she is excited to see the side’s younger personnel find their feet at AFL level.

“We’ve had such a young team for the last couple of years and now those younger players are coming into their own,” Ms Castro said.

“It’s really nice to see the new leadership structure develop and watch the younger players grow.

“It’s also good to see the boys on that original team I was watching when I started following the Swans in 2010 come into their own.”

Josh Kennedy, Dan Hannebery and Sam Reid were just a number of fresh-faced Swans making early impressions when the club first captured the heart of the former Sydney University footballer.

Kennedy made his Swans debut in the first game Ms Castro watched and Reid in Round 22 that year, while Hannebery had his first senior outing in Round 16, 2009.

Eight years after she switched on the TV at her uncle’s place in 2010, Kennedy is captain, Hannebery vice-captain and Reid a towering key forward with 124 career goals. 

Ms Castro bought her boyfriend of four years a Swans membership of his own at Christmas and in 2018 they are cheering on the red and white together.

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