The Sydney Swans have re-established themselves as a genuine premiership contender with a hard fought 16-point victory against the Giants on Saturday night.
Two last quarter goals by the Swans superstar forward Lance Franklin, including a massive 70 metre bomb, was enough to see the Swans over the line.
Trailing by 33 points early in the fourth quarter, the Giants kicked four goals in a row to bring the margin back to 10 points with 6 minutes to go.
Then Buddy happened. Phil Davis had the better of the engrossing battle closer to goal, but Franklin was proving influential up the ground.
The reigning Coleman medalist - who booted 12 goals in the opening two rounds - was scoreless with 6 minutes to go, but turned the match on its head and kicked the Swans last two goals of the match, sealing the win.
Young defender Callum Mills was a star in defence and won the Brett Kirk medal for best afield. He was one of the best for the Swans, comprehensively shutting down his opposite number and racking up impressive rebound numbers.
Midfielders Josh Kennedy and Isaac Heeney provided plenty of grunt around the contest, but it was Swans ruckman Callum Sinclair that was arguably best afield, racking up 44 hit outs and 3 goals from 14 disposals.
It was the Giants who scored the first goal of the match, midway through the first quarter, but it was the Swans that took the first quarter lead.
Sam Reid's inclusion was proving important for the Swans, freeing Franklin up to play further up the ground, while allowing midfielders Kieren Jack and Isaac Heeney to attack the forward 50.
Swans captain Josh Kennedy said during the week that the Swans had to bring finals-like intensity to the match, and it's exactly what they did.
Both sides applied enormous pressure in the opening quarter, which saw the turn over count soar, until Giant Daniel Lloyd slotted the first of the match.
Gary Rohan had the first for the Swans, before goals to Isaac Heeney and Callum Sinclair gave the Swans breathing space.
In a see-sawing second quarter, the Giants kicked three goals in a row, including the last of the first quarter to lead by 10 points.
The Swans cleaned up their disposal and found an immediate outlet through Sam Reid, kicking two for the quarter, while Gary Rohan kicked his second for the match.
Swans forward George Hewett played another major role for the Swans, comprehensively shutting Giants midfielder Lachie Whitfield out of the match.
The half-back racked up 30 disposals in the first two rounds of the season for the Giants, but it took until half-way through the second quarter for him to register his first kick, finishing with 15 for the match.
The Giants suffered an injury set back with Lobb forced off with a jarred knee, forcing forward Jonathon Patton into the ruck.
Sinclair and Patton went head-to-head in an enthralling battle, with both rated as the best for both teams in the AFL Player Ratings.
The Giants bounced back after half-time, kicking the first two of the quarter through Cameron and Lobb.
The rest of the quarter belonged to the Swans, with Papley, Hayward and Sinclair booting five unanswered goals between them, leading the Giants by 22 points at the final change.
GWS looked certain to trim back the margin, but youngster Tim Taranto coughed up a certain chance with Dane Rampe laying a last-ditched tackle on the goal line.
The Swans kicked off the last quarter in bluster and had the first opportunity to hit the scoreboard through Papley, clear inside 50.
Instead of firing at goal, he miss kicked a pass and it was rebounded, but the Giants failed to punish the Swans, with Parker and Kennedy kicking the the next two goals, seven unanswered goals for the Swans.
Just as they had done all night, the Giants kept coming at the Swans, kicking four unanswered goals, before Franklin sealed the win for the Swans.
The Swans face the out-of-sorts Western Bulldogs, who're currently 18th on the ladder with 47.6%. The 2016 premiers are conceding an average of 127 points per game and face the red-hot Bombers on Sunday afternoon.
SYDNEY 3.4 7.4 12.5 16.7 (103)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 2.5 5.10 7.13 12.15 (87)
Sam Reid (thigh) left the field late in the last quarter.
Cunningham (leg) left the field for treatment in the second half.
Sinclair 3, Rohan 2, Reid 2, Papley 2, Hayward 2, Franklin 2, Heeney, Parker, Kennedy
Sinclair, Mills, Franklin, Heeney, Kennedy, Parker, Hayward, Hewett
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