Sydney Swans: Carolyn Cummins remembers how the bloods legend was born

by admin on August 24th, 2018

filed under 南京夜网

Swans coach John Longmire speaks to the players at half time during the round 20 match against Port Adelaide Power. Photo: Brett Hemmings/AFL MediaEvery time I watch the Sydney Swans play, I think of my grandpop, Frank Cummins.
Nanjing Night Net

He was in the squad for the South Melbourne Football Club’s 1918 Premiership team and usually played centre half forward, as he was a very good runner.

I adored my grandpop and loved hearing some of his tales, like most young kids. He didn’t talk much about his short football career but I could see the passion in him, even in my young years.

In the days he was with the team the jumper was white with a red sash, the same as the current Richmond and Essendon jumpers.

But one story that stands out that grandma often told me was how the “bloods” legend was born.

According to her, it was a Catholic priest in South Melbourne who said at the mass the week before the Grand Final, “I bless you blood-stained angels to win next week”.

Being Australian, that has now been shortened to the bloods, which is now referred to by the Sydney Swans as the bloods culture: that never-give-up attitude.

In 1933 the grand final between South Melbourne and Carlton was ferocious and has also been called a bloodbath, adding to the bloods myth.

But in 1918, it was the team’s second grand final victory and as Grandma, Olive, once told me, cold and wet, “typical football weather”.

Souths played Collingwood at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 7, 1918, and beat the pies by five after trailing in the final minute of the Grand Final.

Grandpop ran on the field on the day, but was later on the bench with a niggle, as he used to say, and stayed there to cheer on his mates.

Back then, as now, football engaged all the family.

Grandma was a knitter and once told me that all the “girls” would meet and swap wool to knit the footy socks. That’s why in older photos the hoops are not even, as some people had more red or white wool. Pity a player running around on a wet field with drenched woollen socks.

I would have loved to go to the grand final with him to see how he liked the modern game: he died in 1971, and grandma in 1974, and I’m sure he would be proud to know his grand daughter is a Sydney Swans Ambassador and never misses a game.

We may be a split state team, but the red and white army are united once more and be warned we will take on the doggies with full force.

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