Swans coach John Longmire hopes the respect Geelong fans showed Adam Goodes signals an end to the booing controversy.
Longmire said the crowd’s positive response was a fantastic result after a tough couple of weeks for Goodes, who was keen to have the focus back on his footy.
“I hope that the whole football world and community in general can just focus on the good things in footy,” Longmire said.
Longmire described the Geelong crowd as sensational, adding there had been terrific support for Goodes from everyone.
“The whole discussion and debate, whilst probably uncomfortable at times, it certainly turned and there was a great swell of support from the whole community particularly the football community.”
Goodes was like any Sydney Swan on the Cats’ home ground, or any opposition player at an away ground: booed sporadically but that was it.
It was nothing like the relentless booing from opposition supporters that prompted Goodes, distressed by treatment he believed was racist, to take a one-week break.
Longmire admitted Goodes wasn’t at his best in Sydney’s 32-point defeat, but said the booing controversy didn’t affect the dual Brownlow medallist’s state of mind before the game.
“He just wanted to put the focus back on to his footy,” he said.
“He didn’t play a very good game but I’m not going to single him out because he had plenty of mates.
“We didn’t have many players play very good games tonight.”
Geelong coach Chris Scott said the crowd was respectful but also got behind their home team.
“It seemed really positive to me, I mean positive towards the opposition.
“We want this to be a hostile place within the bounds of respect and fairness – when the opposition made a mistake I think our crowd got a bit excited about it.
“That level of respect was there but the crowd really got behind our boys which I think most footy people want to see – the crowd involved, really positive, focusing on the positives rather than dwelling on the negatives.”
Sydney chairman Andrew Pridham said it’s about respect, not diminishing the passion felt by fans.
“All players deserve respect. Paying $30 to come to the football does not give you the right to bully, harass, abuse anybody,” Pridham told a Geelong pre-game function.
“Treating anyone the way Adam Goodes has been treated for no good reason is totally unacceptable.”
Geelong president Colin Carter said Goodes, as an AFL champion, deserves better than how he has been treated by opposing fans for much of the season.
“We know that there are many reasons given to justify the booing but none justifies the extent of it.
“It became nasty and is nothing like the traditional booing at the footy which is like booing a pantomime villain.”