SWANS CLAW PAST TIGERS
IT’S official, the Swans are back in finals contention.
An epic come-from-behind nine-point triumph over Richmond at the MCG lifted Sydney just one win outside the eight with nine matches left before the finals.
It was only the second time in the last 75 years the Swans have come back from 25 points or more down at halftime to win.
Six weeks ago they looked dead and buried at 0-6 but the Swans have won five of their last six to revive their season.
They also looked gone against the Tigers when they trailed by six goals midway through the second term and by 25 points at the main break. They kicked eight of the last nine goals of the match to swamp the Tigers, who have lost four matches this year after leading in the last quarter.
“We know we haven’t got much wriggle room,” Swans coach John Longmire said.
“The players know it, the coaches know it, and we know we have to bring our maximum effort every week. To our credit after not bringing it the first half we were able to turn that around which should give the players real confidence to be able to do that during the course of the game.”
Kieren Jack snapped the goal which put the Swans in front with six minutes left, before Gary Rohan booted the sealer with just seconds remaining.
Richmond had plenty of chances but poor kicking for goal cost them dearly. Former Swan Toby Nankervis missed a sitter from straight in front in the last quarter which would have settled the Tigers as they were running out of puff.
The only downside for Sydney was star forward Lance Franklin being reported for rough play during the second quarter.
In an act of frustration, he bumped Richmond’s Connor Menadue high. There appeared to be some contact with his head but the brunt of the force was taken on Menadue’s shoulder.
It was clearly a dangerous piece of play from Franklin but Menadue recovered quickly and didn’t require any treatment. “I didn’t even know he got reported,” Longmire said. “The bloke got up, didn’t he, just afterwards. I can’t comment if he got reported, I didn’t even know he got reported.”
The first Tiger to remonstrate with Franklin after the incident was Alex Rance, who had a host of tangles with Franklin during the match. Last year Buddy kicked 13 goals in two games against Richmond but Rance held sway yesterday, holding Franklin to one goal.
“Rance is a really good player,” Longmire said. “He very rarely loses one-on-one contests, he’s as good as there is going around at the moment as far as a key defender.”
Dan Hannebery and Josh Kennedy were quiet in the first half but were enormous in the second. Zac Jones was also lively for the whole match and continues to develop into a quality midfielder. Jake Lloyd found plenty of the ball as well.
Sam Reid continued his outstanding comeback season with 10 marks and young defender Nic Newman played his best game for the club.
Kieren Jack celebrates putting the Sydney Swans ahead. Picture: George Salpigtidis