Just as they did back in 2005, the Swans will have the opportunity to show the people of Sydney their spoils, and the people in turn will have their chance to congratulate the players on their premiership success, with Premier Barry O’Farrell confirming this afternoon a street parade will be held on Friday.
Having already celebrated long and hard throughout the night on Saturday, and continued on Sunday and again through their Mad Monday celebrations, it’s possible by Friday some of the players will still be in the midst making the most of their stunning grand final win at the MCG on Saturday over Hawthorn. But all will be there on the back of vehicles to thank the people of Sydney for their support.
The Premier, NSW Sports Minister, and former rugby league executive and referee, Graham Annesley, and Minister for Major Events George Souris - all who attended the grand final in Melbourne - were on hand at the SCG today to make the announcement with the Swans.
The parade will start at 12.15pm at the northern end of George Street and continue to the Town Hall where the team will be presented to the crowd.
"Friday’s parade will give all Sydneysiders a chance to pay tribute to coach John Longmire, co-captains Jarrad McVeigh and Adam Goodes, all the Swans players,’’ O’Farrell said. ‘‘The match will go down as one of the greatest grand finals of all-time - and its testament to the Swans’ never say die attitude that they emerged victorious.’’
Back in 2005 the club was offered the opportunity to stage a ticker-tape parade down George Street after they not only won the club’s first premiership in 72 years, but also the first since the club migrated to Sydney back in 1982.
While the offer back then was graciously accepted, some of the players, including captain Barry Hall, were apprehensive, fearing very few people would attend, particularly as it was held on the Friday before the NRL grand final, a game which had the city buzzing with the Wests Tigers involved.
Hall said at the time he expected ‘‘maybe 5000’’ to attend, but there were many, many, more, with estimates varying between 30,000 and 150,000, and the streets covered in ticker tape.
It would not be surprising to see an even bigger turn out this week with the club now well and truly established as a part of the city, and with the NRL trophy heading south to Melbourne, the Waratahs failing to fire again, the GWS Giants still infants, and Sydney FC and the Western Wanderers yet to embark on their season, the city needs to celebrate their one and only winning football team.
Annesely was in fact asked if the Bulldogs were getting a parade, to which he replied: ‘‘They didn’t win.’’
Longmire admitted he has continued working since returning to Sydney on Sunday as the club prepares to work out who will be in their team for the 2013 season. He says he has been amazed by the support he and the team have received.
‘‘The support we have received throughout our finals campaign has been incredible,’’ said coach Longmire.
‘‘Nearly 60,000 fans turned out for our preliminary final against Collingwood, more than 2000 fans attended our training session in grand final week and more than 5,000 fans attended our welcome home celebrations at the SCG on Sunday.
‘‘It has been an amazing few weeks for our club and it is a great honour to have the opportunity to celebrate bringing the AFL premiership cup home, with the people of Sydney.’’
While they are still celebrating, Longmire said the players are all keen and eager to participate in the parade, with Jude Bolton telling him the 2005 parade was one of his most memorable memories.
AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou welcome the announcement of the parade, adding it will also benefit their Sydney rivals the GWS Giants.
‘‘We’re delighted Swans fans will have the chance to join the team and help celebrate the club’s fifth Premiership, as well as their 30th anniversary in Sydney,’’ he said. “I want to thank the NSW Government for honouring the Swans with a street parade - it will be a terrific opportunity for the people of Sydney to pay tribute to the Swans after a remarkable season.
“The Swans’ massive supporter base was again underlined by the huge number of fans who made the trip to Melbourne for the grand final and the many thousands more who watched the game from NSW.
‘‘The club has done an incredible job growing Australian football in NSW for over three decades now and I’ve no doubt this latest premiership will only fuel the growth of the game throughout the state the Swans’ grand final win will also ensure greater interest in football in NSW, which will benefit their crosstown rivals the Greater Western Sydney Giants.’’