Player ratings: Sydney Swans vs Melbourne Demons, Round 21, 2018

A win doesn't get any more emotional than that. It's not like the Swans needed the rod they got, but they made the most of it. The Demons haven't beaten a top-9 team all year, but looked on track to break that record against the Swans. Consecutive 6-goal quarters by the Swans put an end to the Demons' hopes, despite a spirited comeback in the last quarter.

Our defence, down two players, were unbelievable all night. It's not as if they were up against a team of spuds either. Big thanks goes to Jesse Hogan for spraying his last set shot on the full.

B: Nick Smith, Aliir Aliir, Jake Lloyd
HB: Dane Rampe, Alex Johnson, Jarrad McVeigh
C: Isaac Heeney, Josh P. Kennedy, Harry Cunningham
HF: George Hewett, Lance Franklin, Tom Papley
F: Will Hayward, Tom McCartin, Ben Ronke
FOL: Callum Sinclair, Dan Hannebery, Luke Parker
I/C: Oliver Florent, Kieren Jack, Nic Newman, Jordan Dawson

2: Alex Johnson (R)
Really tragic end to his almost 6-year injury lay off from football. Really feel bad for the guy and I hope he knuckles down for another return. He's too good not too.
3: Jarrad McVeigh
What this guy does in the backline is just stunning. He's playing some of the best football of his career.
4: Dan Hannebery
Kicks aside, had a pretty good game, given his return from injury without any form. Commented after the match that he had really struggled through injury and had hardly trained, but had been able to train really hard in the two weeks leading up.
5: Isaac Heeney
Snagged two delicious majors, played about 12 different roles and then swung back into defence to save two certain goals. That mark, CAPPA! Should win mark of the year easy.
7: Harry Cunningham
Got himself a goal for good effort, showed quite a bit throughout the match and had some really good moments
9: Will Hayward
He's been down in recent weeks but no worries this week. Kicked a goal, looked lively. Spent most of the game on the wing with his only disposal inside 50, being the goal.
11: Tom Papley
3 majors, 8 score involvements and a ton of pressure inside the forward half, especially forward 50.
12: Josh Kennedy
His heavily strapped knee looks to be restricting him. Had a good game, kicked a goal and lead the midfield well, but still a fair way off his usual self.
13: Oliver Florent
Went from looking jaded and in desperate need of a rest, to looking like a genuine game breaker. Some of those contested marks (3) were beautiful and really saved our bacon at times, especially the one he took on Gawn.
15: Kieren Jack
His first half was really good. It's amazing what Hanners lets other players do when he's fit. Had several crucial moments and managed not to fluff it, with 7 scoring involvements.
18: Callum Sinclair
At one point early in the game, he was Sydney's leading clearance winner, but from then, Gawn really got on top. He tried his heart out, but was well and truly monstered in the ruck. 13 hit outs, 5 one percenters, 5 clearances and 13 disposals. Gawn had 46 but 7 possessions.
23: Lance Franklin
First half, didn't much look in the races, Frost easily had his number. Second half, he exploded. Finished with 2 goals, should have finished with 5, but was very selfish at times, calling for the ball in bad situations. 19 disposals, 10 score involvements, 9 marks - 4 contested and 2 inside forward 50, as well as 531 metres gained.
24: Dane Rampe
Did pretty well for most of the night. Gave away a couple of crappy free kicks, thanks Clarko and his doped up coffee. Otherwise, did well.
25: Ben Ronke (R)
Had some brilliant moments in the second half but looks like he's really struggling at the moment. Could do with a rest, but looks like it's going to be the post-season bye.
26: Luke Parker
It's hard to rate this game based off the stats. If you consider him a defensive mid, you'd give him a 10, with 2 goal assists, 29 pressure acts, 2 intercept possessions, 7 marks and 6 tackles. Finished with 19 disposals though.
28: Nic Newman
Definitely right up there among the best on ground. His poise in defence was crucial after Smith went down. There was that moment in the first when he refused to go his custard leg, but it seemed every time after, he nailed someone lace out on his right. Finished with 22 at 77%, 12 marks, 20 pressure acts, 491 metres gained, 5 tackles and 6 rebound 50s.
29: George Hewett
Was arguably best on ground between both teams. What he did for 4 quarters was incredible. He won the ball when it was there to be won, he got decapitated repeated for good measure, and he tackled like his life depended on it. Melbourne had to hide Oliver in the forward line to get away from Hewett. 24 disposals, 10 contested, 22 pressure acts, 6 clearances, 8 tackles, 4 inside 50s and 4 rebound 50s.
30: Tom McCartin
He's steadily improving, every week. That mark in front of Gawn and Sinclair in the last quarter was legendary, really saved us a goal. Some he should take he drops, some he has no right taking, he makes it look easy. Continues to hit the scoreboard too.
34: Jordan Dawson
He's really showing his flexibility and capacity to do the team thing, playing defence, forward, midfield and ruck in the last 3 games. Finished with 1 goal from 15 disposals, 9 marks - 3 contested and 2 inside 50, and laid 3 tackles.
36: Aliir Aliir
Would have lost without him. This guy is an absolute machine. He flew at a few contests and the ball got over the top, shit happens. He intercepted at crucial times and made his opponents look like mugs.
40: Nick Smith
Hamstring end of first quarter
44: Jake Lloyd
Another solid game by the mo. He's not really a McVeigh replacement and certainly plays a hell of a lot better when McVeigh is in the team. A real life version of "Newton's Cradle".

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Justin Mitchell

Justin is a passionate AFL and Sydney Swans supporter, and football blogger since 2016. All articles are of his own opinion. You can reach him by twitter and Facebook at @theswansblog

Melbourne, Australia

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