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PRICHARD: Covering the Sydney Swans during Cappermania

Warwick Capper of the Sydney Swans during a VFL match on August 1, 1990 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Getty Images)
Roar Guru
3rd August, 2017
7

The Sydney Swans are a success story for the AFL but it wasn’t always the case as Roar expert Greg Prichard remembers all too well.

Prichard is a rugby league tragic at heart but had to quickly brush up on his Australian Rules knowledge when he was given the task of writing about the Swans in the 1980s for the Daily Mirror.

“In 1984 the Swans were struggling. I did two years of covering the Swans and then Geoffrey Edelsten bought them, and then, of course, the publicity meter went through the roof,” Prichard said.

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.”

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“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.

More Prichard:
» The toughest person I’ve ever interviewed
» Super League memories two decades on