Good morning all it's Tuesday and it's time for the latest instalment of The Swans Blog's podcast, the SwansCast. This week I'm joined by Stephen Treloar and we dissect the weekend that was.
Unlike last week, which was slow, excruciating and unnecessarily cruel, this week is full of joy off the back of Sydney's punishing victory against the Bombers on Saturday evening.
Hopes were high of at least one pulsating final this week, with several block buster clashes before Saturday fizzing out as Adelaide flogged Greater Western Sydney and Richmond turned the screws on a poor Geelong outfit.
There were certainly nerves in the stadium before kick off with the traveling Bomber fans doing their best to turn it into a cauldron atmosphere. Joe Daniher kicked the first from a spectacular mark, but that was as good as it got.
The Swans worked their way into the game and by the midway point of the first quarter were starting to dominate. They annihilated the Bombers after the first break, with Buddy kicking three goals in five minutes, and seven in under seventeen minutes to effectively end the contest.
He finished with four for the quarter in one of the all-time great quarter performances, Kennedy with two and the Swans with a 10 goal half-time lead. [Rohan Connolly put it best in his match report].(http://www.footyology.com.au/match-of-the-day-sydney-tsunami-something-to-behold/)
This was the 634th final played in 121 seasons of VFL and AFL football. But Sydney’s second quarter 10.3 was the highest-scoring second term in any of them. Seven of them came in under 17 minutes. And seldom in memory has a final gone from competitive to an absolute rout in so short a period...
Seldom has finals football in the modern era seen as dominant a 15 minutes or so as the tsunami that was Sydney in the opening to the second term.
The traveling Bomber supporters went from raucous to dead silent in 15 minutes as they watched Franklin tear them apart. A fourth goal to Franklin and a second to Kennedy either side of Essendon goals left them shell shocked as the Swans marched on to victory.
The sting was gone from the game, with Essendon putting on a brave face and playing for pride, but still couldn't get over a Swans team clearly playing in 2nd gear with the cue well and truly in the rack.
While fast starts have been a hall mark of the Swans in recent times, seldom have they obliterated a team like they did against Essendon and left them with no chance of victory. Last year against the Crows and Cats they kicked 7 goals in the first quarter to end the contests early, but this was something else. This was a statement.
Fortunately the Swans finished the game injury free, the first time in a final for a very long time, even with Franklin suffering a badly corked thigh and Rohan going through a medial scare. Hannebery, Papley and Cunningham played well, despite playing one match in three weeks, while the usual suspects lead the Swans brilliantly.
Rampe had his colours lowered but that's nothing to shame him about, he played against the tallest key position forward left in the finals and kept him to three goals, before sitting out the majority of the last quarter, along with Franklin.
While the Swans senior side experienced victory, the NEAFL side fell three points short in the last minutes of their Grand Final. The players and supporters were shattered for the boys, who dominated the NEAFL competition, but lost both games to the Lions.
They were strong favourites coming into the game, but played like it might have seeped through the cracks, putting in party tricks every now and again, while playing selfishly and failing to do their jobs. It doesn't help when names are being tossed up in the air and playing where they land either, but their coach Rhyce Shaw kept changing things to see what worked.
In the end the Lions hung tough in the last quarter, withstood the Swans pressure, the barrage of points and won in the end. It was a disappointing end of the season for the Swans with several key players underperforming, some significantly.
Kurt Tippett failed to impress in his bid to return to the senior team, while Naismith was influential in the ruck and Sinclair gave Hurley a bath, kicking 3 goals. It's a long road back for Kurt and it looks as though injuries will be his only saviour, especially if Sinclair and Naismith continue to perform.
Dean Towers had a game to remember, arguably his career best game and not for the first time in the finals. He finished with three goals, fourteen disposals - ten of them contested, four hit outs including a towering hit out in the centre square over Bellchambers in the second quarter, five score involvements, five tackles and eighteen pressure acts.
Both coaches rated his performance so much that he finished equal with Callum Sinclair on 5. Our best guess it that Longmire went with Kennedy, Parker, Sinclair, Towers and Lloyd (5-4-3-2-1), while Worsfold went Kennedy, Parker, Towers, Sinclair, Franklin.
He's clearly earned the trust and respect of his team mates, so he's a lock for the finals series unless he does something ridiculous, or suffers an injury. His chop outs in the ruck are critical to the Swans maintaining structure, as they no longer have to vacate their forward line to maintain ruck presence.
With the engine room working the way it is especially smashing the Bombers in clearances, winning the hit outs is less important than having someone in there competing, and Dean Towers does it well. Watching him out-body a player that's 13cm taller and more than 20kg heavier is just amazing and a real credit to the hard work that he puts in.
In this weeks' episode I'm joined by Stephen Treloar from Over The Line Sports and we discuss Dean Towers, Callum Sinclair, Kurt Tippett, Buddy Franklin and more. It's another long one, so kick back, enjoy a coffee and listen to us discuss the Swans in the finals and more.
We'll be back every week of the finals regardless of the Swans progression, and we'll still be here after the grand final. We'll be taking it easy during the off-season, but we'll let you know before hand!
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