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Proudly Sydney

Smith-Swans relationship works both ways

THE SYDNEY Swans pride themselves on looking after their own and that extends to the families of the young men who line up in the red and white.

Tradition has it that when a young Swan debuts, the club flies his proud parents to the game.

But when emerging midfielder Nick Smith lined up against Geelong at the Cattery in round five, flights weren't necessary for his proud Melbourne-based parents Kereen and Mal to be in the stands.

Women's Round isn’t featured by the AFL this year, yet the Swans maintained their recognition of their contribution to their club with Kereen a special guest at the club’s annual ladies’ lunch.
"It’s great to come over and see him because I miss him so much," she said.

Nineteen-year-old Nick noted that he enjoys having Mum over for a visit now that he lives away from home.

"I really miss her. And especially for all the cooking and washing and that side of things," he joked.

But, as he insists, Nick has the legacy of Kereen's cooking skills, revealing that "pumpkin and bacon risotto is a speciality of mine".

Formerly St Kilda supporters, the Smith family now flies Sydney Swans flags. Well, nearly all of them do.

"My husband played one game for St Kilda but he’s now an avid Swans supporter and I’m with the red and white too," Kereen said. "But my daughter Emma is still St Kilda."

Expect the Smiths to be regulars at Swans fixtures with membership provided to all players' parents. However, support at Nick's next senior outing may not reach the level it did in round five.

"We had 21 people at the game with friends and family and they were plying us with champagne and beer just so we would relax a little bit," Kereen said.

Nick was chuffed with the turn-out, too.

"It’s good to have their support," he said. "You’re always going to be nervous but having your good friends and family there to watch is great."