Conventional footy wisdom says that games are won in the third quarter, and the Swans were thrilled with their performance in the premiership quarter on Saturday night.
Flashbacks to the Swans 23-point loss in round 2 against Port Adelaide were certainly at the forefront of most supporters’ minds, when the Giants booted the first two goals of the third quarter.
The Swans rallied and kicked the next seven goals unanswered, leading by 33 points early in the fourth quarter, clinching victory by 16 points at the SCG on Saturday night.
Speaking to the Sunday Footy Show on Sunday morning, Swans forward Tom Papley said that the third quarter turn-around started in the clearances.
“It was a really good game last night, the Giants really put it to us,” Papley said.
“That first half was a real grind and in that third quarter, we sort of won the centre clearance battle and they probably had it in the first half, and we made the most of that and kicked a few goals on them.”
In stark contrast to the game against Port Adelaide a week earlier, the Swans were clean with the ball, finishing with 74% disposal efficiency - 3% ahead of Greater Western Sydney, while they had the worst disposal efficiency of any team in round 2 with 61.5%.
Despite their first half dominance in round 2, skill errors were ultimately their undoing. The biggest different Papley said, was the way the Swans moved the ball.
“Our skill errors weren't great last week with Port,” Papley said.
“It was pretty slippery, and Port's pressure was really good, credit to them, and this week we were leading up at the ball carrier a lot more.
“Having Sam Reid - he's a handy player, with him in the side I think it's a really good look for us, and we can use Buddy and we can use Sinclair down forward.
“Pushing the ruckman down forward was really good and Will Hayward kicking a couple and Gary kicking a couple, it was good.”
The Swans had to dig-deep in the last quarter, with the Giants getting a run on and kicking four unanswered goals, bringing the margin back to 10 points.
Four-time Coleman medalist Lance unleashed a spectacular 65 metre bomb with just 5 minutes left in the game, and the scale of his performance was not lost on Papley.
“There's not many players in the league that can kick the goals that he did in the last quarter, and sometimes you just shake your head and think ‘how good is he’,” Papley said.
“I think the Giants players are doing that in the last quarter and it's certainly good to have that on our side.”
The biggest difference between rounds 2 and 3 was the ruck battle, with Callum Sinclair translating his first-half dominance into a near best afield performance.
In round 2, Charlie Dixon was shifted into the ruck in the third quarter and dominated the game, while Sinclair only managed an additional 11 hit outs in the second half.
With Rory Lobb hobbled and spending time at full forward, Sinclair went head-to-head with Jonathon Patton and dominated the ruck contests, booting three goals and collecting 45 hit outs.
“I think Lobb went down with a sore knee and he really took it to him,” Papley said.
“He ran hard and hit the scoreboard with three goals was really good for a ruckman.
“He's really improved his game; his marking has really improved and it’s good to see him playing well.”
One of the most important battles of the match was one of the most underrated ones, with Hewett shutting Giants half-back Lachie Whitfield out of the match.
“George Hewett did a really good job,” Papley said.
“I think Lachie’s (sic) a really good player, one of the best half-backs in the league at the moment.
“He's a really skillful player and George went to him and certainly did his job, and it's a credit to him.
“I think Horse sort of speaks to him, and Stevie (sic) spoke to George to see how he gets the ball. He gets a lot of handball receives and really drives their ball movement.
“We had to help George out as well, but I think Georgie (sic) did it really well on his own last night, as well as us helping him.
“It's a credit to him. If you give him a role he will certainly do it.”
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