In a way, Prichard’s initial lack of knowledge about the code actually worked in his favour as the rugby league obsessed Sydney market was far more interested in the players than the on-field results.
“Not being an AFL aficionado myself, I just decided I’m not going to be too technical about you know, write about the personalities rather than getting caught up in the technical stuff because you’ll probably make a mistake.”
There was no bigger personality than Warwick Capper. The legendary boastful figure was a media sensation and Prichard felt like he was on a movie set every time he interviewed him.
“He was a great bloke, I mean you know he’s mad, you can tell but he’s mad in the right way. He got a pretty long life out of just being Warwick Cappper there for a long time.”
Prichard remembers one particular occasion when Capper was getting offers to go and play for the Brisbane Bears and it looked like he was going to reject them and stay in Sydney.
“We were down at his place at about 6:30-7 in the morning on a Friday morning. Out the back next to his pool with a glass of champagne for photos. Ended up being a front page story on the Mirror that day – That Capper’s re-signing with the Swans, and is going to knock back the Brisbane Bears.”
“And it was all 100 per cent true but then something changed in the coming days and he ended up not staying with the Swans and ended up going back to the Bears anyway.”
While Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin is a completely different character to Capper, he and other Swans players have Capper to thank for putting AFL on the map in the harbour city.
The 7AFL Instagram page has been running polls this week to see who the public think is the greatest player from 2010 until now. These polls got me thinking about some of the great individual players this decade such as Garry Ablett, Nathan Fyfe and Trent Cotchin.
For much of Sydney defender Nick Smith’s 12-year AFL career, his name was put on the magnet board next to the opposition’s most dangerous small forward without hesitation by coaches Paul Roos and John Longmire.