Traci Hodkinson has for 35 years called Janelle O’Gallagher her ‘chosen sister’, but even a friendship so dear is driven to the limit every time the Sydney Swans and GWS collide.
The Swans and Giants are set to butt heads in Sydney Derby XVII at the SCG in Round 6 next Saturday night – and the inseparable friends are a sure bet to exchange harrowing glares throughout the game.
Hodkinson will be entrenched in a sea of red and white behind the goals of the Paddington End, and O’Gallagher will be among a legion of GWS supporters in full voice in the lower tier of the Bradman Stand, but the distance between the die-hards won’t do anything to calm the tension.
“It’s scary because our rivalry is the only thing in our lives that tests our friendship,” Hodkinson told Swans Media.
“Our loyalty to our respective teams is just so fierce. I can’t imagine what would happen to our friendship if the Swans and Giants were to ever face off in a Grand Final. Deep down nothing will ever rock our friendship, but in football season we can really get on edge around each other.”
Hodkinson fell in love with the red and white midway through the Swans’ 1996 campaign, a season which saw Sydney square off with North Melbourne in the Grand Final.
Many moons later, the through-and-through Swans supporter and O’Gallagher – who’s followed the Giants since the beginning of season 2017 – are both Cheer Squad members of their respective clubs.
The Swans’ Cheer Squad totals 326 wholehearted Sydney supporters across the Harbour City and Melbourne, with their memberships saving them seats for all 11 home games of the season.
Many of them also play key roles in the making and raising of the banner – and Hodkinson says that win, lose or draw, being in the presence of her beloved Swans as they crash through the crepe will forever bring a smile to her match day.
The long-time conductor of the Swans’ victory song, Kenny Williams, joins Hodkinson behind the goals at the Paddington End at every home game – and Hodkinson believes there are few other fans who could challenge her passion for the red and white.
“I’m one-eyed. Everything in my life centres around the red and white, from nail polish to clothing and from pillows to my bookcase,” Hodkinson said.
“I’m quite simply just passionate. I fight to the death to will the boys over the line.”
The Sydney Swans will take on GWS at the SCG in Round 6 next Saturday night. Click HERE to secure your set now.