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From the Outer: Recognise and reward

Buddy brilliant in Swans' big win Sydney's Lance Franklin kicked four goals and assisted in two others in his side's 71-point win over St Kilda

Learning the importance of gratitude is very much in-vogue at the moment. It can be an important practice for many, so for this long weekend spent in Melbourne, this will be my mantra. The French word for gratitude is reconnaissance – meaning ‘recognition’. They believe that when we express gratitude to someone, we are bringing about a certain kind of recognition that connects us to a greater sense of who we are as human beings.

While pondering this theoretical belief, I reflect on what I’m thankful for. I consider myself to be an extremely lucky man, so my reasons for my sense of gratitude are wide and varied. I’m incredibly thankful that my parents relocated the family from Woy Woy when I was about to embark on a junior Rugby League career – ol’ chicken legs Moore may just not have been built for that game. I also owe a debt of gratitude to my childhood friend Vernon who taught me the value of providing an outstanding lolly bag at the culmination of a party. I could go on…

It’s a rare occasion when you have the opportunity to thank the football club that you belong to, however it’s clear to those of us of the red and white persuasion that our Bloods deserve our most devoted recognition.

The prodigious scientist and theorist, Mr. Albert Einstein famously proclaimed that if he had one hour to solve a problem and his life depended upon it, he would spend the first fifty-five minutes pondering the right question. It’s hard not to think that this is very much the Swans’ way. Considered, systematic, intelligent. As many footy clubs remain focused on rebuilding, we simply endure. Well, it’s far from simple, but we just do.

Most appropriately, tonight is the Pride Game between the Swans and the Saints – a wonderful initiative that promotes inclusion. Seeing kids stroll the stands waving their rainbow flags gives hope. The LGBTQI community created this flag and to see children celebrating the importance of life (red), healing (orange), sunlight (yellow), nature (green), harmony/peace (blue), and spirit (purple) at the football is enlightening; that’s the kind of world I want my son to grow up in.

I forgot to express my gratitude to the great Phil Narkle earlier. A St Kilda champion who proudly adorned a bicycle helmet on the footy field, Narkle displayed terrific foresight and individuality in his imaginative headwear. Bravo. As our government keeps telling us, we need more innovation.

If the true meaning of gratitude is to give reconnaissance, then these Swans could write a thesis on the topic. Often criticised for a defensive mindset, we burst out the blocks with flamboyance and flair. Much like I did at my Year 6 eisteddfod, charming the capacity audience as Snow White (I’ve heard the Orange Civic Theatre have not seen anything of its kind since). It’s not the flair that impresses most tonight though - reconnaissance lives in these boys. Their game is bound by selflessness.

From the first minute, when Ollie Florent ran defensively to leap and thwart a bigger opponent, to when Benny Ronke sacrificed his own shot on goal to find another in a better position, to every time that George Hewett kept Jack Steven from finding the footy, these Bloods thanked each other for their work. From the outset, the mindset was clear – recognise and reward.

Gratitude update: a big thank you to the great Sam Backo, who taught me the impact of using profanities. While Sam did it on national television after a Rugby League State of Origin battle, I chose to use them more discreetly. Mostly.

With our nine-goal-to-one first quarter, I’m comfortably reclining among the Etihad expanses and contemplating what is quite possibly now the third best day of my life. In Melbourne for our cygnet Ollie’s second birthday, we’ve had an invitation to the cockpit of our aircraft with two of the most endearing pilots you’ll meet, an afternoon spent at this city’s marvelous museum, an Italian meal in Carlton together and now this. How can you not be bloody well grateful? 

One Blood that deserves special recognition this year is Callum Sinclair. Unheralded and understated at the beginning of the campaign, big Cal has exceeded expectations and then some (I’d like to say that’s what happened as Snow White, but I can’t). He epitomises what this team is all about: competitiveness and courage.

As half time arrives, the Sydney Swans/Footy Almanac crew adjourns to the EJ Whitten bar for some revelry, rejoicing and refreshment. The common theme among us is that this is just the beginning. Something’s building here and the hardness of this team, both young and old, will carry us a long way. We see it in Ronke’s attack on the ball, in Heeney’s tackling, in Florent’s tackle breaking and in Kennedy just being Kennedy.

As the match wears on, I grow even more grateful for Buddy. He truly is one of the greats. Not only because when I ask Ollie who his favourite team is, he says ‘Buddy’, but because of the way he’s leading these young Bloods in our forward line. Being one of the first to offer support and encouragement of anything done in his area, so obviously provides these boys with such confidence. 

The ongoing success of our club is no fluke, but as we all know there are many ways to skin a cat. ‘Equalisation’ measures imposed by the league appear from the outside to only skew that very ideal, but the one ‘equal opportunity’ in this game is list management. We are truly blessed to have this crucial aspect in such capable hands.

Others take a very different approach, but I feel ours is akin to the Americans taking on the Russians for space agency supremacy. NASA spent millions to develop a pen that would write in space, whereas the Soviet Cosmonauts used a pencil.

I’m so glad we’re using pencils.

The Moore clan come from far and wide to meet every year in Sydney. Joe Moore and family travel from their home in Hobart. Joe writes for footyalmanac.com.au