Match report: Fast starting Swans hang on to steal victory from jaws of defeat

The Swans and Crows came together to put on another classic, with the Swans prevailing by three points on Friday night.

The Swans put the Crows to the sword early in the match, dominating the early clinches and setting up a game-high 29 point lead before the Crows fought back.

Sloane, Crouch and Laird started finding the ball, ably assisted by terrible umpiring, narrowing the gap at half time, scoring the last 21 points of the quarter.

The Swans hung tough in the third quarter, despite the avalanche of Adelaide possession and pressure to take an 11 point lead into the last quarter.

But the Crows weren't finished, leading 26-9 free kicks early in the fourth quarter before taking a 9 point lead midway through.

The Swans answered with two of their own and hung on by the skin of their teeth to win by 3 points on a cold, slippery night in Adelaide.

Pre-game

The Swans were unchanged from their team announcement on Thursday, with Kennedy coming in for injured Newman.

They arrived late on Thursday afternoon and managed just a short run out on Adelaide Oval before the match.

The game

The Swans burst out of the blocks early in the first quarter, scoring the first goal of the match through Franklin.

Nick Smith set the scoring chain up with an intercept possession out of the midfield, before Franklin marked and kicked straight over the man on the mark.

Gary Rohan had the Swans 2nd on the board not long after, and it was the Swans surging out of every contest, with the Crows struggling to keep up.

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The Red and White tsunami was paying off with Sam Reid having his first shot on goal inside 50, but could only push it wide, before Kurt Tippett marked his first inside 50 and converted.

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It was the third Swans mark inside 50 in the first ten minutes of the match.

Grundy intercepted a ball in midfield - fumbled by Jenkins - quickly dishing off Reid, who gave it off to Jones, who went long inside 50 to Tippett, who took a juggling mark 20 metres out.

It was an outstanding mark in difficult, greasy conditions, slotting it through the goals, with what he later described as a "warm reception".

Despite having a case of butter fingers, letting the ball slip right through his hands on several marking attempts, Franklin turned on the after burners against Keath when he booted his second goal.

He capped off another superb first quarter with his second goal of the match, a spilled mark from a Papley inside 50, turning his opponent before snapping a ridiculously good goal from the boundary.

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Despite the lead on the scoreboard, the Crows were slowly working their way into the game, and slowing the offensive play of the Swans.

Sydney's defence was certainly on top and the Crows, despite leading 7-1 free kicks with just 8 minutes left, saw almost all of their attacks repelled with ease.

Without sounding too bitter about it, because there certainly was a case to be so, especially at the ground, the Crows were getting anything and everything called by the umpires, despite trailing by more than 4 goals at one point.

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Mitch McGovern had his sides first just minutes later before former captain Kieren Jack kicked his first of the match, and the Swans fifth of the quarter.

He was lucky in the end, having a set shot and missing, before the umpire called 50 metres for encroaching on the mark.

He made no mistake from the square and the Swans extended their lead to four goals once again.

https://twitter.com/jmitchel85/status/898757956287647744

The Crows finally hit the scoreboard, dragging the margin back right before the end of the quarter, with just a minute remaining.

Kennedy and Franklin were superb for the Swans, and Hewett, Papley, Jones and McVeigh were great in the midfield.

The Swans started the 2nd quarter where they left off in the first, kicking the first goal through Zak Jones, taking a spectacularly bizarre mark in the forward 50.

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It wasn't long before skipper Josh Kennedy banged through his first goal, the sides seventh of the night, adding to another wonderful performance.

It was like he had never left the side, was never away for two weeks, shredding the Adelaide midfield at will.

He was set up superbly by Zak Jones, pushing Brad Crouch under a floating ball.

Despite trailing by 29 points, and a few die hard, boozed up, crazy fans in the stands screaming about winning $200 dollars if the Crows get up, they never looked like they were out of it, just on the brink.

For all their hard work in the first 40 minutes, the Swans inexplicably took their foot off the pedal and slowed the tempo, dropped off their work rate and forward line pressure.

Adelaide, as all great teams do, took advantage of the momentary lapse in Sydney's concentration, and within 10 minutes, not only capitalised, but had complete control of the momentum.

The only thing that kept the Swans in the lead was the Crows inaccuracy, as they not only piled the tackles on, but the inside 50s, free kicks and significantly ramped up the pressure.

Consecutive goals to Betts, McGovern and Crouch brought them within 9 points, while another behind to Betts, his 2nd of the quarter, narrowed the margin to 8 at half-time.

The Crows came out breathing fire in the third quarter, with McGovern kicking his 3rd of the match inside the first 22 seconds.

Tom Lynch put the Crows in front for the first time since the opening minutes of the first quarter, capping off a 5 goal run for the Crows.

The game was screaming for something from the Swans, anything, and Franklin stepped up to the plate with what will undoubtedly be the goal of the season.

The Swans backline was under all sorts of pressure with the ball almost permanently living inside their defensive 50, before Melican hacked it out towards Franklin.

Franklin shook off Talia on the wing before taking two bounces, having enough time to fumble it, look inside, look to the goal square, before doing it all on his own from 40 out.

What a goal from a sensational player.

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Despite stealing the win back and kicking a ridiculous goal, Franklin wasn't finished turning the match back into Sydney's favour, just minutes later providing a superb assist for an incredible Rohan goal.

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The Crows replied instantly through Eddie Betts and brought the margin to a point once again, with possibly one of the most baffling free kicks of recent history.

https://twitter.com/theswansblog/status/899063384938758144

Of course Brad Crouch gave Betts a cheapie over the top, who had zero influence in the game until that point and continued the trend.

The game settled into an arm wrestle once again, with the Swans struggling to move the ball up the wing, one contest at a time, while Adelaide moved the ball quickly and directly.

McVeigh had his first of the match with just over 8 minutes left in the third quarter, started off by Hewett on the back flank, before using Parker and Towers, and then dishing to Papley on the run who hit McVeigh on the chest just 30m out.

Macca put the goal through and extended the Swans lead to 7 crucial points, and gave the Swans a glimmer of hope under the Adelaide tsunami.

The Crows really ramped up the pressure and ferocity for the rest of the quarter, hitting the scoreboard and keeping the ball locked inside their attacking half.

The Swans struggled to move the ball with any fluency, often reverting to dump kicks to try to clear.

Had the Crows been accurate in front of goal, they may well have held a two goal lead at the final change, instead it was Sam Reid who punished their prolificacy.

It all started in the midfield with Kennedy laying an important tackle and winning a holding-the-ball free kick, and going long inside 50, where Franklin was ushered under the ball by his opponent, but Reid was right behind to butter up.

A big time goal and Reid looked as cool as a cucumber.

The Swans could have extended the lead to almost three goals just before the siren, had McVeigh nailed his shot from the boundary.

Play deep inside the forward pocket lead to another rare opportunity, and smart play from Papley slapping the ball back in play, ricocheted out of bounds on the full off Levers leg.

He dragged his shot near side and the Swans went into the last change 11 points up, winning the quarter by 3 points, despite Adelaide's pressure, limiting the Swans to 8 fewer inside 50s, and taking the lead.

The Crows didn't let their heads drop and their pressure to start the fourth was immense.

Zak Jones went into the umpires book for rough conduct just two minutes into the quarter, but it'll most likely get thrown out at the MRP.

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Goals to Mitch McGovern, Taylor Walker and Josh Jenkins put the Crows 9 points up, half-way through the quarter.

Sam Reid took another great mark in the forward line and dished to Franklin, but all he could do was spray it wide, punctuating the Crows scoring.

Eddie Betts almost had another moment, but fortunately it dribbled wide, and left the Swans with a chance to bring the game back, and they did.

With 7 minutes left on the clock it looked like Adelaide had all the momentum, and moments later Hannebery limped off with a knock.

Unbelievably, they didn't score again for the rest of the quarter, dropped off their pressure and let the Swans back in.

Mills took two crucial intercept marks, along with Rampe, and suddenly the Swans were on top.

Eddie Betts slung Mills to the ground after his second intercept mark and gave away a 50m penalty for holding, since Pannell hadn't blown his whistle yet; talk about good fortune.

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Mills drilled the pass inside 50 to sam Reid, who stepped up and put it through the big sticks to give the Swans a chance with just over 5 minutes left.

Suddenly the Swans were ferocious once again, going in first, low and hard, winning free kicks, even Rohan went back in defence to help out.

Rampe's intercepted mark was immediately launched forward to Franklin and Papley, with the ball spurting out the back in Papley's arms.

With no one in front of him, and his opponent 5 metres on his heels, he took two bounces before smashing home the game-winning goal.

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Neither team scored for the remainder of the match and the Swans controlled the ball well, locking it inside their attacking half.

What a win, what a club!

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Reports

Zak Jones was reported for rough conduct early in the last quarter. May receive a fine, although throwing it out would be justice after the umpiring debacle.

https://twitter.com/AFL/status/898515172372865024

Medical room

Hannebery copped a knock in the last quarter but returned to the field.

Next up

The Swans take on Carlton in the final round of the season in the 4.40pm time slot.

The Swans are in a rich vein of form, having dealt blows to both Geelong and Adelaide on the road, as well as smashing Fremantle at home.

Carlton are also in form, narrowly losing to Essendon and beating the Hawks in recent matches.

In what's undoubtedly boiling down to a shoot-out for top 4, with the Tigers still yet to play Fremantle this round, and St Kilda next round, while Port take on the Suns, the Swans will need to win big to give themselves a red-hot shot at finishing top 4.

Sydney Swans
5.17.111.313.583
Adelaide Crows
2.25.58.1011.1480

Goals: Franklin 3, Rohan 2, Reid 2, Tippett, Kennedy, Jack, Jones, McVeigh, Papley

Best: Rampe, Kennedy, Franklin, McVeigh, Smith, Hannebery

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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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