Match Report: Scrappy Swans heap more misery on Tigers

In an enthralling battle between two top teams, the Swans scrapped their way to victory, fighting back from a six goal deficit early in the second quarter to win a thriller by 9 points.

While it wasn't pretty football, the Swans eventually came out on top, with their lesser lights leading the way, heaping more misery and heartbreak on the luckless Tigers.


The Swans made the switch earlier in the week to recall speedster Gary Rohan for Lewis Melican, to counter the threat of the Tigers small forward line.

The game

The Swans started off well, moving the ball efficiently forward and Isaac Heeney had the first score on the board for the Swans.

The Tigers had the next goal of the game just a minute later as the sides battled well in midfield and the ball moved quickly up and down the field.

Kieren Jack kicked a goal, that was paid a goal, but then bizarrely overruled 30 seconds later after the players, and ball, had returned to the middle for the restart. Apparently it was touched.

The Tigers were fired up and were winning the ball across the field, with the Swans spending more time chasing their opponents than with the ball.

Shai Bolton had his first goal in AFL after roving a ball off the pack from Riewoldt, running into goal unchallenged.

The Tigers were well on top in their forward 50, recording four tackles and 5 inside fifties in the first 10 minutes, while the Swans rushed the ball out of defence.

Shai Bolton was involved in everything good for the Tigers, and had a score involvement when Cotchin popped up in the pocked and slotted another through.

The Swans were still threatening to get back in the contest, marking the ball regularly inside 50, but behinds to Papley and Reid could only drag the Swans back to 17 points behind.

The Tigers finished off the first quarter full of run and guts, with another goal to Shai Bolton and the first to Dustin Martin.

It was a forgettable quarter for the Swans, who were smashed in contested and uncontested possessions, inside 50s, and the scoreboard.

Richmond had their 6th goal early in the second quarter through Dustin Martin, kicking his 2nd goal, with the Swans turning over the ball, and their zonal defence being cut to pieces.

It was looking like another dog day for the Swans with their finals chances in tatters. Richmond were a long way ahead in contested possessions and dominating territory, heaping pressure on the beleaguered Swans defence.

Lance Franklin, well held all day by Rance, was having a bit of a shocker. He missed a gettable shot from 50, but backed up just moments later to bang one through on the run.

The game was in the balance with the Swans slowly working their way on top, but Shai Bolton popped up to kick his 2nd goal of the game, another one on the run.

The Swans started winning the contested ball and it stopped the Tigers easy run of possession and inside 50s, with Hewett capitalising when he won himself a free kick inside 50 and slotted one through.

Lance Franklin was reported for rough conduct after running through Connor Menadue late in the quarter, catching him on the shoulder.

The Tigers had chances to extend the lead leading up to half-time, but failed to convert, before Sam Reid banged one through from 50 on the siren.

It was a telling goal for the Swans, with the lead cut to just 4 goals, the momentum was with Sydney, with midfielder Jake Lloyd converting from a set shot on the arc just over a minute after the restart.

The Swans pressure was immense and they were well on top in contested possessions and pressure, but the Tigers answered back with two quick goals to Edwards and Lloyd 8 minutes later.

But great stoppage work by the Swans allowed Heeney to capitalise on a loose ball and reduce the margin to 4 goals again.

The Swans had evened up the contested possession stat for the match and were getting on top in the clearances, and smashing the Tigers for inside 50s and possessions for the quarter.

Gary Rohan, previously deployed as a defender in the first half, was deployed at the mid point of the third quarter as a forward and his pressure was telling.

Even though Franklin was doing well in one-on-one contests with Rance, he was having a dog day, capped off by a horrible shot on goal from 30 metres out.

Luke Parker capitalised minutes later to bring the Swans within three goals and Hayward joined in just 2 minutes later, with a spectacular mark over the top of his defender.

He duly slotted the goal and the Swans were just two goals down, after trailing by 31 points early in the quarter.

Once again, the Tigers had chances to increase the lead, but failed through poor kicking.

The Swans were well on top that quarter, leading 7-1 in one-on-one contests, 16-7 inside 50s and 51-34 contested possessions.

The Tigers came out breathing fire in the last quarter, with immense pressure around the ball and inside their forward half.

The tale of the day, they failed to capitalise and left the door open for the Swans, after Shane Edwards, Toby Nankervis and Jake Riewoldt all kicked behinds from gettable chances.

Sam Reid kicked his 2nd of the match against the run of play and Papley combined with Dean Towers to bring the margin back to three points.

The Tigers replied instantly through Jack Riewoldt, but the Swans just kept piling the pressure on and kept on coming.

Sloppy defending from the Tigers allowed Swans to answer back instantly through captain Josh Kennedy, kicking a ridiculous goal on the run from the bounce.

It looked destined for the square, with the commentators and film crew talking about Rance intercepting it, but it sailed over his head and the Swans were back to three points.

The pressure from the Swans was immense and it was certainly telling, with former captain Kieren Jack bobbing up in the pocket after several minutes of fantastic forward half pressure.

The Swans were in front for the first time since the opening minutes of the first quarter and the Tigers were visibly nervous.

The following five minutes of football was nothing short of thrilling, with almost no stoppages and the ball moving from end to end, Rance on his own killing every Swans attack, while the Swans desperately tackled in their defensive 50.

Shaun Grigg won a deliberate out of bounds free kick in the pocket, but could only kick a point, while the Swans moved the ball efficiently from end-to-end, but could only muster a rushed behind as the ball bounced terribly for Papley.

The ball moved from end to end, side to side, contest to contest, players desperately throwing themselves at the contest, until the Swans kicked the winner.

Nick Smith killed a counter-attack when he took an intercept mark on the wing, with just under two minutes left, and Newman took it to another level, beating Lloyd when the Tigers were well and truly out with just 30 seconds left.

The Swans moved the ball forward, and from the ensuing throw in, Rohan was in the right place at the right time to bang it through with 8 seconds left, sealing the win for the Swans.

Medical room

Tom Papley appeared to cramp in the third quarter and left the field to recover


Franklin was reported for rough conduct on Menadue in the second quarter.

Next up

The Swans face the improving, yet inconsistent Bombers outfit at the SCG. In recent years during the peptide saga, the Bombers have still proven a difficult opponent for the Swans, almost winning in 2015, while proving to be a difficult opponent for the first half in 2016.

Sydney Swans
Richmond Tigers

Reid 2, Franklin, Hewett, Lloyd, Heeney, Parker, Hayward, Papley, Kennedy, K.Jack, Rohan

Jones, Papley, Heeney, Lloyd, Newman, Mills, Parker

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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

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