The Swans are back in the top four for the second time this season and will finish the round in the top four for the first time since Round 23, 2016. That’s a bloody long time!
It would be a lie, complete fabrication of truth, if I were to tell you the game was a free-flowing, open game, full of verve, skill and flamboyant play. It was dour, wet, dull and occasionally dreadful.
The difference between the two teams was clearly the gulf in class difference, with the Swans youngsters leading the way. Incredibly, the only goal kicker over the age of 22 was Lance Franklin, despite Buddy being the Swans number one inside 50 target for the match.
The Lions threw their weight around, but it made no difference, despite Robinson’s pearler of a bump early in the game. Hannebery got straight up and dished off a goal assist handball four minutes later while Robbo ran around like a headless chook.
B: Nick Smith, Heath Grundy, Jake Lloyd
HB: Zak Jones, Dane Rampe, Harry Marsh
C: Isaac Heeney, Josh P. Kennedy, Harry Cunningham
HF: Oliver Florent, Tom McCartin, George Hewett
F: Will Hayward, Lance Franklin, Ben Ronke
FOL: Callum Sinclair, Luke Parker, Kieren Jack
I/C: Jarrad McVeigh, Dan Hannebery, Tom Papley, Ryley Stoddart
|3: Jarrad McVeigh||How good is he playing at the moment?! He's arguably in the best form he's had this decade, certainly since 2012-2014. Last week, he set best figures for almost two seasons and he's looking like he's going to figure prominently in the clubs' best and fairest.|
|4: Dan Hannebery||Not as bad as some would suggest. Did some really good things, bounced back after a bone crunching hit from Mitch Robinson to put Ronke into space for a goal.|
|5: Isaac Heeney||Dominant first half, easily the best player on the ground, faded away significantly in the second half as the Lions applied the clamps, but did the damage when the game was up for grabs.|
|7: Harry Cunningham||Another great game. This is the sort of game that Cunningham needs to play with Newman, O'Riordan and others dominating in the NEAFL.|
|9: Will Hayward||Two goals and looked genuinely threatening on the ground or in the air. On a night when marking in the forward line was a challenge, he made a mockery of the conditions. His pressure was red-hot all match.|
|10: Zak Jones||Moved back into defence and looked to be back to his rebounding best. Didn't have a single disposal ahead of the centre circle, but still managed a goal assist, 7 intercept possessions, 7 rebound 50s and 332 metres gained.|
|11: Tom Papley||Spent a lot of time inside the forward 50, but still wandered down the field every now and again. Finished with 11 contested possessions, 1.1 and 3 score assists.|
|12: Josh Kennedy||A massive game by the captain, 34 disposals with 23 contested, recording 21 pressure acts and 270 metres gained. Collected 7 clearances and 7 tackles, but wasn't clean with the ball, going at 44 percent.|
|13: Oliver Florent||Whatever it was he showed in his TAC years and the draft combine, it's coming through in spades. 20 disposals at 45% isn't great, but his ability to inside and outside at the flick of a switch is proving invaluable for the Swans. Finished with a phenomenal 592 metres gained, 4 rebound 50s and 4 inside 50s.|
|15: Kieren Jack||He's copped a bit of criticism lately and it's probably been fair and due. His kicking is occasionally atrocious, but he still plays at a very high level, and does a lot of the grunt work that others Swans aren't capable of. If he could just clean up his kicking...|
|18: Callum Sinclair||Well beaten on the night by Stefan Martin, who's arguably the best, or second best ruck in the league. He was always going to get beaten, but perhaps he could have done more around the ground. It's not as though Martin had a massive say on the game himself, with the Swans sharking more than half his hit outs.|
|23: Lance Franklin||Kicked a goal, set up a beauty for Hayward in the first and looked busy throughout. Conditions were not conducive to good forward craft and he did what he had to do. Could have finished with 3 goals and we would be talking about this entirely differently.|
|24: Dane Rampe||Almost as good as it gets. The 'General' is playing as good as any defender in the league, taking on and dominating his opponents, regardless of size. Hipwood didn't even get a look in, neither did Cameron or Christensen when he lined up on them. Finished with 6 intercept possessions, but his pressure in defence, body work and intercept marks were crucial.|
|25: Ben Ronke (R)||Finished with 2 goals, finally broke his goal streak (11 straight) and put down another 21 pressure acts. He's a great small forward that can play a bit of mid too.|
|26: Luke Parker||His heat map shows a lot of ground coverage, with 9 of his 22 possessions contested. 5 turnovers isn't great, but given the conditions, you'd have to have super glue on your hands to not fumble. Only managed the 22 clearances, but laid down 24 pressure acts. Downer was the four free kicks against.|
|29: George Hewett||This kid was massive. Completely dominated Dayne Zorko to the point that Zorko started panicking at contests and gave away free kicks. Heeney was influential in the first half, but Hewett had arguably the bigger impact throughout the match. Finished with 28 possessions, 21 contested and 10 clearances, 3 of them centre, to go with his 22 pressure acts and 424 metres gained.|
|30: Tom McCartin||Not a night for forwards, so we'll give him a pass. Not going to have a crack at the third gamer.|
|31: Harry Marsh||His stats don't speak much, even his AFL Fantasy suggests he stunk it up, with 4 turnovers, but what it doesn't tell you is just how crucial he was in the backline. He stepped up brilliantly in Mills' absence, registered 6 1-percenters for spoils and smothers, to go with his 6 intercept possessions.|
|33: Ryley Stoddart||Kicked a goal and looked lively. Like McCartin, no point bashing him on debut in atrocious conditions.|
|39: Heath Grundy||He can shake and bake it as good as anyone else in the competition. Couldn't maintain his streak of 20+ disposals with 400m+ gained, finishing with 18 and 198m. Playing more as the second tall than the key full back, he's found a new lease on life.|
|40: Nick Smith||Very, very solid. Christensen and Cameron were spotted hiding in Row ZZ on the top tier, waiting for Smith to rotate off the field. He's never been the greatest ball user, but his opponents never get the ball, so it works out in his favour - most of the time.|
|44: Jake Lloyd||Another very solid display in defence. His closing speed is as surprising an asset as any that he has. He did a number on Christensen and Cameron in defence when running with them, and his ball use was very tidy. He won plenty of contested ball (10) as well, something he's not renowned for.|
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