Swans continue winning ways with dominating display over Giants

Match report - Player ratings

The Swans have maintained their season-reviving winning form, with a dominating display over premiership favourites Greater Western Sydney on Saturday night.

Despite a sluggish and cagey start, with the Giants drawing first blood, the Swans willed themselves to victory, lead by the old firm Grundy, McVeigh and Jack, among the best players for the Swans.

The limelight however, was equally shared between Callan Ward of the Giants and Lance Franklin of the Swans, both adjudged to be equal best on ground and winning the Brett Kirk medal in the derby.

It's hard to argue either way, with Ward a stand out player and Franklin lifting the Swans on his shoulders once again with a superb 4 goal effort.

Longmire was full of praise for Franklin's efforts after the game.

"He kicked some important goals, there's no doubt about that," Longmire said.

"But some of his contests tonight, in an outnumbered situation, like bringing the ball to ground (were just as good).

"He was outnumbered in the air, flew at it really hard and brought the ball to ground. He's just a massive competitor and you saw that shine through as the game wore on."

As the game wore on, the physicality of the Swans midfield brigade was telling, with Hannebery, Papley, Hewett, Jones, and Jack all laying important tackles, and Jack finishing with 11 for the game.

While the Giants are still feeling the effects of an injury crisis, the midfield is almost the same as it was the last two times the teams met, with the distinct difference being how hard the Swans were willing to work to win, rather than meekly giving way.

Unfortunately, Sam Reid twanged his groin either in the warm up or first contests of the game, and Rohan twinged his hamstring late in the third quarter. Both played out the game, but Rohan was in discomfort in parts of the last quarter, while Reid could neither sprint, jump or turn for almost all of the match.

It's certainly not without expectation that both could miss the crunch match against the Saints, and if we had a choice on who to rest and when, I'd say the Saints next week, or Fremantle in three weeks time would be it, so they're a bit lucky in that regard, certainly with games against the Hawks, Cats and Crows yet to come.

Not to disrespect any team in the competition, as the Saints have looked like hot flashes in a pan throughout the season, their form is so erratic they're just as likely to win as get thrashed. Smaller match ups will exploit their slower, lumbering defence, while Carlisle would easily beat a semi-fit Reid.

It really depends on who's fit to face the Saints this week, and if Rohan is 100% and only 100% to go, then he plays, but if there's even 1%-2% doubt, he shouldn't play. Hayward was listed as a test last week, so he should be right to go this weekend, and given a win is required, I'd rather we go in with fit players.

This could also be the comeback that Aliir needs. He's missed out since the early part of the season, unfairly played when he wasn't near fit and harshly dealt with by the team when he missed an impromptu training session before the Lions game.

He's spent this season in the reserves playing as a ruck-forward as well as a defender, so he might get a gig down forward, with a possible swing to defence on the cards if the Swans are struggling.

I bumped into him at the Redback function against the Suns and asked him about playing the ruck-forward role, and he said that he played that through his junior years and he's only played defence since he came to the Swans.

It could also be the recall that Callum Sinclair needs, who's been smashing the door down in the reserves. Since getting the nod to ply his trade at the lower level, he's shone in the ruck-forward role in a way that Tippett has only teased, kicking bags and exploiting the oppositions defences.

It's another massive round of football this weekend, with significant ramifications for winners and losers. Adelaide and Geelong play for top of the table, while Essendon take on North, desperate to stay in touch of the top 8.

Melbourne can do both the Swans and Tigers a favour when they take on Port Adelaide, while the Swans have to beat the Saints to maintain their position. Richmond play the Giants at the MCG who'll be desperate for revenge, so please baby brothers, do us a favour, while Buckley will be doing his best rain dance against the Eagles, making sure the roof is closed.

This may well be one of the few times I ever cheer the Giants on, but given a win slides us into 5th, equal on points with the Tigers but ahead on percentage, go Giants!

It's the start of possibly the easiest three of the remaining six games for the home and away season, with home games against the Saints and Dockers, split by an away game to the MCG against the Hawks. Our recent records against all three teams at the respective venues is very good, and we'll need to win them all to stay in touch.

Top 4 is certainly in the equation, and if results fall our way this week, given we win of course, we could very well find ourselves equal on points with Port Adelaide and Richmond.

Given Port Adelaide haven't beaten any team inside the top 8 (at the time), they'll have to beat the odds to get past the Demons. Big weekend past and massive weekend to come, lots to think about and the team announcements will be significant.

There's also some MRP chatter coming out later today, so stay tuned on Twitter and Facebook, with Nick Smith potentially facing something for his trip on Devon Smith in the first quarter, while the Demons are likely to be short one or two players, with Lewis, Kent and Vince all under scrutiny.

https://twitter.com/7AFL/status/886752447464488963

The SwansCast crew will be recording tonight, so be sure to get your questions and comments into us by 8.30pm AEST. You can comment on this article, or drop us a line on social media (twitter, facebook, instagram), using our tag @theswansblog or using the hashtag #swanscast.

We're also working on adding more reserve news to the blog and will be welcoming aboard Brendan Weller, who'll be our resident reserves expert. He hails from Sydney and watches most of the reserve matches, so we're lucky to have him on board.

Until next time.

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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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