Six goals from Sydney’s superstar forward Lance Franklin and an inspired defensive performance by Alex Johnson, lead the Swans to a remarkable two-point victory at the SCG on Saturday night.
The Pies kicked three goals in a row to grab the lead after Franklin booted his sixth goal just 17 seconds into the final quarter, before a freakish goal by Swans’ forward Tom McCartin gave the home side victory.
The young forward threw his boot at the ball while he was being tackled to the ground, somehow making contact and managing to dribble it through the goal.
It was a remarkable end to the match that questioned Sydney’s reliance on their defence, under extreme pressure all night, but Alex Johnson, Aliir Aliir, Dane Rampe and Jarrad McVeigh stood firm in the 11.7 (73) to 10.11 (71) victory.
The Swans – and their finals chances – looked shot late in the fourth quarter, after Collingwood snatched the lead with Travis Varcoe’s fourth goal of the night.
Lance Franklin’s long-range point capped off a remarkable night for the forward in a virtuoso performance, involved in 13 of the Swans’ 18 scores, as well as taking six forward 50 marks.
While Pies’ ruckman Brodie Grundy (24 disposals, 57 hit-outs) dominated the ruck battle with Callum Sinclair (16 hit-outs), it was the Swans ruckman who finally got on top and slapped the ball forward.
Swans forward Tom Papley roved Sinclair’s hit-out and booted the ball deep into the Swans forward line, setting up the game winning goal.
Franklin finished with 6.4 from 17 possessions and nine marks, while Dane Rampe, Aliir Aliir and Alex Johnson combined for 34 marks and 67 possessions.
The opening quarter was a shoot-out between Lance Franklin and Travis Varcoe, with both players kicking their sides first three goals, the first six goals of the match.
While Jordan Dawson chipped in for the Swans’ only major in the second quarter, four of the next five goals gave the Pies a 17-point half time lead.
Collingwood defender Darcy Moore left the field early in the second quarter and failed to return to the field, ruled out of the match with a hamstring injury, and with the debutant Jack Madgen shifted to Franklin in the third quarter, the Pies’ backline looked vulnerable.
Sydney quickly gained the ascendency in the third quarter, booting all five goals, with Franklin adding another two and Dawson kicking his second of the match.
Sinclair and Franklin were influential in the Swans’ comeback, turning their 17-point deficit into an 18-point lead early in the last quarter.
Lead brilliantly by Taylor Adams and Brodie Grundy all night, the Pies hit the front through Varcoe, well held after his blistering opening quarter, before Franklin hit the post with just over four minutes left on the clock.
Two clutch marks by youngsters Jordan Dawson and Isaac Heeney ensure the Swans kept their season alive.
The Swans return to Melbourne to face the Demons at the SCG on Sunday afternoon at 3.20pm. While their form hasn’t been great, winning just two of their last six matches, they could move as high as third by the end of the round if results go their way.
SYDNEY 3.2 4.4 9.6 11.7 (73)
COLLINGWOOD 4.1 7.3 7.6 10.11 (71)
Franklin 6, Dawson 2, Kennedy, Ronke, McCartin
Franklin, Aliir, Rampe, Johnson, Hewett, McVeigh, Parker
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