As excitement builds ahead of the Sydney Swans' season-opening clash with the Adelaide Crows at Adelaide Oval on March 21, Swans Media takes a look at some of the highlights of the club's 2020 fixture.
First home game
Two teams split by very little will collide in Sydney’s first home match of the 2020 season. Sydney held on to beat Essendon in a five-point thriller at the SCG in Round 8, 2019, before the Bombers struck back in a gripping 10-point win at the MCG in Round 16. When footy returns to the SCG in Round 2, fans will see star Swans Josh Kennedy, Luke Parker, Dane Rampe and – pending injury progress – Lance Franklin square off with gun Bombers Dylan Shiel, Orazio Fantasia, Adam Saad and Jake Stringer. The Swans’ first SCG game of the season over the last five years has drawn a 33,236-strong crowd on average, so those at the Moore Park venue for Round 2 can expect to feel the buzz. Sydney’s home clashes with Geelong, Collingwood and Hawthorn also promise to have the SCG rocking.
Sydney Derby clashes
The fight for Sydney supremacy will resume as the Swans and Giants descend on the SCG in Round 5. The Swans lead the cross-city head-to-head battle 11-7, but the Giants have claimed victory the last three times the fierce rivals have met, paving the way for mouth-watering Sydney Derby XIX and Sydney Derby XX (Round 19) encounters. The winning team receives the Sydney Derby Cup and the player judged best on ground is presented the Brett Kirk Medal, named in honour of 241-game Swans great Brett Kirk. Recently retired Sydney icon Kieren Jack has won a record-high three Brett Kirk medals, while GWS midfielders Tim Taranto (Round 6) and Jacob Hopper (Round 20) were awarded the revered honour in season 2019.
Marn Grook at the SCG
One of the most significant events on the Swans’ calendar will return to Moore Park as Sydney hosts the Geelong Cats in Marn Grook at the SCG in Round 10, opening the AFL’s Sir Doug Nicholls Round. The esteemed fixture, which will see the winning side presented the Marn Grook Trophy, honours the Indigenous roots of Australian rules football and recognises the outstanding impact of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players on the game. Marn Grook, which translates to ‘game ball’, is the name given to a traditional game played during a corroboree of the Djawurrung and Jardwadjali clans in Victoria’s Western District. It is believed this game played a central role in the development of Australian rules football. The game was played with a ball made from possum skin, about the size of an orange, filled with charcoal or grass. It was bound into a hard ball with kangaroo sinews and kicked and tossed by two opposing teams of up to 50 players each. Legend has it the founder of Australian rules football, Tom Wills, watched a game of Marn Grook in the 1840s and saw it as a perfect way for Australian cricketers to keep fit during winter. The player judged best afield in every Marn Grook at the SCG match is awarded the Goodes-O’Loughlin Medal, named in tribute to Bloods Legend Adam Goodes and former Sydney champion Michael O’Loughlin. Tom Mitchell won the inaugural Goodes-O’Loughlin Medal in 2016, Franklin collected the honour in 2017, Isaac Heeney was best afield in 2018 and Sam Reid claimed the 2019 medal after booting six goals. This year's Marn Grook at the SCG match will also see Sydney’s players don the club’s striking Indigenous guernsey featuring a beautiful black swan, designed by south coast artist Cheryl Davison.
Sydney and St Kilda will play the fifth Pride Game for premiership points in history at Marvel Stadium in Round 15. The Rainbow Swans are the club’s official LGBTI (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans Intersex) supporters group, while LGBTI Pride is one of the four pillars of the club’s Diversity Action Plan (DAP). The Swans will face the Saints in their Pride socks.