Well, it’s 0-3 for the Swans and our top 4 chances are pretty much done. Top 8, but not top 4.
A terrible first quarter looked almost terminal for the Swans, but they worked their way back into the game, only to fall short by 1 solitary point. Buddy playing his 250th game had little scoreboard impact, even when he worked hard up the field and delivered sizzling balls inside 50.
The loss to the Pies, who out tackled the Swans 113 to 88, leaves the Swans entrenched in the bottom 4. All is not lost for the boys in red and white. This is a young, developing square, younger and less experienced than Collingwood, with two 18 year olds playing, kicking 4 goals between them.
It was the youngest team for the Swans since 2006, and the 3rd youngest for the round.
The Swans welcomed back Sinclair and Foote, coming in for Tippett and Laidler, and handed a debut to Jordan Dawson, coming in for Cunningham. There was a lot of press during the week leading up to Franklins’ 250th game, interviews in news papers, Sydney Swans TV, press conferences, AFL360 amongst other media.
Lets get straight into it. The Swans had a torrid time in the 1st quarter, weren’t anywhere near the game and certainly didn’t deserve to be just 3 goals down. It should have been 7-8 goals, but only Collingwood kept it close.
Naismith started well for the Swans, taking the first 2 marks, but it was evident just 30 seconds in that something was off. The Swans were panicking under little to no pressure, dishing off ridiculous handballs and shanking almost every kick. The Pies controlled the ball across the field while the Swans tried to play a zonal defence, and worked it inside 50 at will.
Inside the first 5 minutes, the Pies had 5 inside 50s to the Swans none, as well as 40 disposals to 15, and 20 marks to 3. With 12 minutes left, the Swans added some respectability, pegging it back to 25-8, but they were still a long way off the pace of the game. When they had the ball, they panicked. When they had it in their hands, they dropped it, spilled it, just treated it like a wet bar of soap.
The torture was finally over, with the Swans trailing 28-7 at quarter time. The stats were telling, trailing the inside 50 count 23 – 2, disposals by 60 clearances by 6 and kicks by 47. Parker had 8 disposals, but was spraying them, and turning it over. Hannebery had 5 disposals, 100%DE, but put his team mates under ridiculous pressure with 3 absolute shocking handballs. That stat is always misleading. Lloyd racked up 13 disposals and 5 rebound 50s. Jordan Dawson had a few nice moments and Fox kicked his 1st AFL goal.
The 2nd quarter was like Dr Jeckle and Mr Hyde. Regular service resumed and the Swans stepped up their trade mark pressure. It was a tight, tough old game, with both sides having barely an inch of space. The umpires interpretation of holding, incorrect disposal, throws etc. was loosened significantly, with the commentators discussing the changes. It was a massive difference and resembled a real game of football, not that touch football garbage from the first 2 rounds.
Aliir Aliir stepped up and lead the back line with Marsh from the get-go. Aliir was taking his trade mark intercept marks, and Marsh was transitioning strongly from defence, even though his disposal let him down.The Swans playing man-on-man, locked the ball in the forward line, with the Pies barely having a chance to get it out. But like the Pies in the 1st, they didn’t capitalise on their supremacy, chipping away with points.
Reid was missing in action at quarter time, but lifted alongside Franklin in the 2nd. While neither could kick goals, they were leading up and causing problems for the Pies defenders. Even with the Swans’ pressure, the Pies always had a sucker punch, only scoring when they got the ball out the back. White slotted one from the boundary line and the Pies scored another 4 minutes later to push the margin back out to 20 points.
Hannebery was immense, with 5 tackles just after half-way through the 2nd quarter, finishing with 7 for the half. Even though the Swans had lifted, especially Kennedy, Hannebery, Naismith and Aliir, Fasolo kicked his 4th, dominating Nick Smith.
Kieren Jack kicked the last 2 goals of the half for the Swans to bring it back to 9 points, with the game in the balance. Lloyd racked up 19, followed by Kennedy on 17, Hanners 16 and Parker 14. Hayward and Jack finished the half with 2 goals a piece.
The 3rd quarter kicked off, even more fierce, with Nick Smith turning around a dirty, dirty night, getting on top of Fasolo early. Kennedy dominated around the contests and Hannebery was immense throughout the midfield. But the Pies scored early to put it back out to 15 points, and the Swans struggled to peg it back with the immense pressure applied all over the ground. But they were able to spread it at times, exploiting Jones’s and Aliirs’ superb disposal and putting the ball into space.
Hannebery was on top and dragging the Swans towards the finish line, and the young players were stepping up. Hewett with 10 disposals at half-time, 9 in the 2nd quarter was kept quiet, but in his place stepped in Nic Newman, with 17 to 3 quarter time. Aliirs’ skills were on display, with goal saving marks, intercept marks, ridiculous marks and runs, great kicking etc. He kept the Swans in it when the Pies were pressing, and he absolutely dominated for a good 10-15 minute spell from the backline, keeping the Pies at bay. Mills stepped up as well, going back with the flight and getting wiped out for good measure.
A great passage of play involving Hewett and Aliir on the back flank, ended up with the ball moving to Zak Jones, who went long from the wing inside 50. Fox took it front and square, dished off the Kennedy in the goal square, slotting it through, bringing it back to 10 points. The game was tight and it was tough, with Florent missing out on a dead-set free kick 20m in front of goal, clearly dragged back.
Hannebery was enormous in the 3rd, with 10 disposals, 2 tackles and 1 goal. He was everywhere for the Swans and he was involved in almost every forward thrust. He wasn’t the highest accumulator at 3 quarter time, but he was by far the best player on the ground with 26 disposals, 9 tackles 5 clearances and 1 goal.
The Swans started the 4th quarter with an early goal through Sam Reid, his only goal of the game, after an accidental knee in the back of the head. It was a wobbly old kick that went left then right. The Pies took the ball forward from the ball up, only for Lloyd to take a goal saving mark running back with the flight. Then Matt Stevic had a moment he’d rather forget, calling play on as soon as Jones had marked the ball. The commentators during and after the game talked about the play on being called after Jones had stepped off, but that just isn’t true. He was called to play on before he stuck his hand up to indicate that he was stopping. Pies of course got another goal out the back. Thanks you pill.
Even with Matt Stevic making the game all about himself again, the Swans still competed hard. Reid drove his brother into the ground on the wing with a hard tackle and the ball stayed in. Florent and Reid worked the ball forward to Hayward, finishing off a fantastic team goal, built entirely on hard work. The Pies then scored several points in a row to lead by 7, keeping it in their forward line, the Swans riding their luck. Then Aliir with some magic, got the ball forward, along with Kennedy going beast mode.
Aliir took the ball from the back pocket with another spectacular mark and run and went long and wide to Franklin, who took it on the run in space. He was running into the forward 50 in his trade mark spot, before drilling the fastest 30m bullet I’ve ever seen. It went so hard and fast, that it somehow snuck under the arm of a Collingwood player, to hit Florent in the bread basket, 25m out directly in front. He converted, bring it back to 1 point with just over 7 minutes left.
Dawson showed a bit of strength to hold off a defender, only to snap a point over his shoulder, levelling the scores, before another point took the lead. But then the Swans were sucker punched with Hoskin-Elliot goaling from the boundary line with just 4 and half minutes remaining. The Pies had the ball in their forward line for the next 2 minutes, scoring 2 more points, leading by 7. Then Jones took lifted to another level, taking on Moore along the wing, spoiling the taller player, before dishing to a team mate, who went long to Franklin. He dished it off to Newman and he slotted his first of the game.
But there just wasn’t enough time, even thought the ball didn’t leave the Swans forward half for the remaining 1:25 on the clock.
No injuries to report. Hannebery and Aliir were both checked during the game, but returned to the field
Its not getting any easier for the Swans, facing West Coast Eagles in Perth. With an even younger and less experienced side than last season, it’s going to be a tough old slog. They can get the job done, it’s not like the Eagles have set the world on fire.
Collingwood 4.4 7.4 9.8 11.14 (80)
Sydney 1.1 5.7 7.11 11.13 (79)
Hayward (3), K. Jack (2), Hannebery, Newman, Kennedy, Fox, Reid, Florent
Hannebery, Kennedy, Aliir, Lloyd, Naismith