Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - MATT HARRIS

SYD­NEY re­main firmly en­trenched in the top four af­ter es­cap­ing with a 21- point win over a spir­ited Lions yesterday in Bris­bane.

The Swans were out­played in patches by the Lions dur­ing their 10.10 ( 70) to 7.7 ( 49) vic­tory in front of a Gabba crowd of 16,936, but did enough to re­main in third place on the lad­der.

Lance Franklin and Kurt Tip­pett re­turned to the Swans’ line- up from sus­pen- sion and kicked three goals each, while Dayne Zorko booted three for the Lions in a lively dis­play.

Ir­ish­man Pearce Han­ley fin­ished with 33 touches and a goal in his 100th game.

The Lions matched the Swans in con­tested pos­ses­sions ( 140 each), clear­ances ( 40 to 42) and in­side 50s ( 54 to 55), although Syd­ney’s ex­pe­ri­ence told in the end as the Lions failed to kick a goal in the fi­nal term.

Bris­bane were at full strength with the re­turn of Han­ley, Daniel Mer­rett and cap­tain Tom Rock­liff, tak­ing a de­served seven- point lead into quar­ter- time from goals to Dayne Beams and Zorko.

But they were dealt a blow late in the first term when de­fender Darcy Gar­diner dis­lo­cated his shoul­der af­ter land­ing awk­wardly while try­ing to spoil a mark.

The quar­ter- time siren didn’t as­sist the hosts, with Bris­bane’s mid­field dom­i­nance fad­ing dur­ing the sec­ond term, as Syd­ney’s Josh Kennedy ( 40 dis­pos­als) and Dan Han­neb­ury ( 34) be­gan to ex­ert their in­flu­ence over the gallant Lions.

Four goals with­out re­ply took the Swans out to a 17point lead late in the sec­ond quar­ter be­fore Zorko slot­ted another ma­jor to re­duce the deficit to two straight kicks.

Jar­rad McVeigh’s goal two min­utes af­ter the main break seemed to lull the Swans into a false sense of se­cu­rity and the Lions pounced with the next four ma­jors.

Jed Ad­cock’s goal at the 16- minute mark of the third term had Bris­bane in front by five points, although their lead could have been greater had Brent Staker con­verted two golden goal- scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Two quick goals to Franklin re­stored the Swans’ lead as they took a seven- point ad­van­tage head­ing into the fi­nal quar­ter.

Franklin and Tip­pett both booted their third goals in the last quar­ter as Syd­ney held on for a scrappy 21point vic­tory.

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