Swans narrowly escape high JLT Series expectations, young players shine

The Swans were narrowly beaten by the Roos on a cool, blustery afternoon on the Coffs Harbour. After opening the scoring and leading for most of the game, the Roos worked their way back into the contest, much like round 22 last season.

The Swans started most of their recruits and rookie players from last season, with Florent starting strongly and kicking 2 of the first 3 Swans goals. The first quarter was especially impressive, with Isaac Heeney leading the way, laying the first tackle of the game, racking up good numbers and being involved in almost everything.

Dan Hannebery played like a man possessed at times, his knee strapping belying expectations and running unrestricted. His midfield work rate, forward and back was important, laying tackles and breaking up attacks.

Darcy Cameron followed up his impressive intra club performance providing great pressure around the ground and taking marks. He laced out Fox with a delightful pass, but Fox was unable to convert from 40 out. But it didn't stop him, almost drilling the first Swans super goal of the game, hitting the post from outside 50.

The 2nd quarter started off with the Roos well on top. The trademark run and carry that the Swans exhibited throughout the first quarter was gone, with Melican making mistakes and Hannebery dropping the ball like a bar of soap. However, the Roos failed to capitalise, scoring 1.6 midway through the 2nd to still train the Swans. Edwards inserted himself into the game, attacking the ball with reckless abandon at times and impacting the contests.

Half-time came around with the Swans leading by 2 goals, Mills and Hewett dominating the disposal counts, and Heeney uncharacteristically quiet in the 2nd. Darcy Cameron was beaten in the ruck, not by much (11-16), but by scoring a goal and moving around the ground well and taking marks, was proving to be a bigger influence than his direct opponent Pruess.

The 3rd quarter started the same was as the 2nd, with the Roos immediately on top but this time converting. Edwards got stuck in and threw his skinny frame about, distinctly recognisable with that short haircut. His attack on the ball was critical to the Swans regaining ascendency, but couldn't convert his set shot after the siren.

Zak Jones was moved into the midfield at the start of the 3rd quarter and looked like a man on a mission. He linked up with Hannebery in defence, Parker in the midfield, set up Foote and Newman and fiercely attacked the ball, as well as the man. With Kennedy off, Parker playing a forward role and Hannebery rotating and resting, it was left up to Mills, Jones and Hewett, and they played well.

Even with Jones's and Mills's endeavour, the Swans could only muster 6 behinds for the 3rd quarter and the Roos closed in, just 4 points down at the last change.

The Roos pounced early, cleared it from the centre square and scored almost immediately. They backed it up with another goal in minutes, but the Swans wouldn't go away quietly, and lead by the irrepressible Jones, levelled straight away. A tight tussle ensued, an arm wrestle to give Sylvester Stallone a run for his money, but it was the Roos that broke the dead lock.

But again, the Swans wouldn't go away with Fox playing an important role in the forward line, snagging a goal to bring it back after Hannebery levelled the scores. Jordan Foote had a chance with 6 seconds left after amazing pressure from the Swans forced the ball up the field. Instead of having a ping from 60m, he put it 25m out but the Swans couldn't take a mark. In the end, the Roos won by 2 points.

North Melbourne def. Sydney Swans
Q1: 0.3.4 - 0.0.2
Q2: 0.5.6 - 0.3.6
Q3: 0.5.12 - 0.5.8
Q4: 0.8.15 - 0.9.11

Goals:
Florent 2, Fox, Hannebery, Kennedy, Robinson, Cameron, Foote

Best:
Jones, Mills, Heeney, Hannebery, Parker, Edwards, Foote, Cameron

Main image courtesy of AFL Photos

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Justin Mitchell

Justin is a passionate AFL and Sydney Swans supporter, and football blogger since 2016. All articles are of his own opinion. You can reach him by twitter and Facebook at @theswansblog

Melbourne, Australia http://theswansblog.com

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