Tom Hickey chokes back tears in moving AFL finals message to family

·6-min read
Pictured right, Swans veteran Tom Hickey delivers an emotional message to his family after Sydney's AFL finals victory over Melbourne.
Tom Hickey fought back tears in an emotional message to his family after Sydney's AFL finals victory over Melbourne at the MCG. Pic: Fox Sports

Veteran Sydney ruckman Tom Hickey fought back tears after delivering a heartfelt message to his wife and young kids in the wake of the Swans' impressive finals win over reigning premiers Melbourne on Friday night.

The Swans surged through to their first preliminary final since 2016 after shocking the Demons by 22 points at the MCG.

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Sydney's 14.7 (91) to 10.9 (69) win means they now have a week off and will host a preliminary final at the SCG on September 14 or 15 to be in reach of their first flag since 2012.

Hickey was enormous for the Swans as the underdogs executed their game plan to perfection to stun the reigning premiers.

In a moving post-game interview after Friday night's win, Tom Hickey was on the verge of tears as his thoughts quickly turned to his 10-month-old twin girls.

“Both my twins have been in hospital this week so um,” Hickey said as tears welled up in his eyes.

“I’m coming home. I’m coming home girls.”

Hickey took on the unenviable task of trying to limit the effectiveness of Melbourne's Max Gawn and Luke Jackson, but the veteran did it with aplomb in what was one of the finest performances of his 12-year career.

The Swans ruckman has played at four different clubs in the AFL and knows about doing it tough, balancing footy and travel with helping his partner Chloe look after their three kids.

Hickey admitted that the addition of his twins Olive and Delma at the end of last year have added "pure chaos with moments of bliss" to the family schedule.

“It’s awesome. We were lucky to have them early in the off-season, so we had a fair bit of time to get our feet on the ground,” he said.

“It was harder earlier in the year – so hard on my wife, and hard on us – just with the lack of sleep and obviously being in Sydney and not having a heap of family support with the day-to-day stuff.

“The footy club’s been sensational through it and our friends and family have been awesome. Generally when I go away, my parents or Chloe’s parents or some friends come down and spend the night, just so Chloe’s not on her own.

“We feel like we’re coming out of the trenches now, at 10 months. They’re starting to crawl and laugh at each other and entertain each other. I think I described it as pure chaos with moments of bliss.”

Footy fans watching Hickey's interview on TV couldn't help but be moved by the Sydney star's show of emotion.

Swans 'really stood up' in the game's big moments

In the first final at the MCG since the 2019 decider, the Swans ruined Melbourne's coming home party on Friday with some scintillating run-and-gun football to dismantle the Demons' much-vaunted defence.

Melbourne entered the qualifying final as hot favourites after humiliating the Brisbane Lions in the final round of the home-and-away season but the Swans completely outclassed the Demons after halftime in front of 78,377 fans.

"Big moments, our boys really stood up in and they did a really good job so it was a super win," Swans coach John Longmire said.

"The pressure was enormous, it kept getting greater the longer the game went on."

The Demons, who are looking to back up last year's drought-breaking grand final win in Perth with a flag back in Victoria, will now host Brisbane in a sudden-death semi-final at the MCG after the Lions eliminated Richmond.

But Melbourne's premiership defence is suddenly in tatters, with utility James Harmes placed on report for making late contact against Swans defender Jake Lloyd early in the final quarter.

In a moment of madness, Harmes crashed into Lloyd, giving away a 50-metre penalty to allow the Swans to kick the first goal of the final term and build an 18-point lead.

Melbourne fluffed several opportunities to get back into the contest, before the Swans took the ball up the other end and Isaac Heeney all but sealed a famous victory for Sydney midway through the last quarter.

Making the win all the more impressive for the Swans was Lance Franklin had virtually no impact as All-Australian defender Steven May held the star veteran scoreless.

Seen here, Lance Franklin celebrates with teammates after Sydney's AFL finals win over Melbourne.
Sydney's AFL finals win over Melbourne came despite a quiet game for Swans superstar Lance Franklin. Pic: Getty

"Our situation hasn't changed, any team in the competition's got to win three games in a row to win it," Demons coach Simon Goodwin said.

"Our challenge is to do it next week and get that first win away against Brisbane, who played a fantastic game. We need to learn from what we did and execute better when we get our chances."

It was an even performance from Sydney, with Lloyd, James Rowbottom and co-captain Luke Parker the leading possession winners and Hickey, Tom Papley and Sam Reid all playing crucial roles.

with AAP

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