Match report: Swans clinch cliffhanger in 2012 repeat

There's always a little bit of magic when these two teams face off against one another, with a history of near misses, thrilling wins and unbelievable comebacks.

All the way back to Tony Lockett's 'famous point' in 1996, to Adam Goodes' wayward shot at goal in 2011, to Essendon's almost record-breaking come-from-behind win, and to Gary Rohan's infamous goal-line mark, these games typically require something out of the box.

Friday night was no different, as Sydney snapped a four game losing streak, as they grimly held on to a narrow 5-point lead in the frantic final moments on Friday night against the Essendon Bombers.

With little more than pride on the line and needing a win to keep their season alive, and to avoid the ignominy of equalling records set in 1994 for consecutive home-ground losses, the Swans survived a tsunami of Essendon forward-half pressure in the last quarter, and a repeat of their last gasp 2012 win.

While Courtney Dempsey played on after the final siren in 2012, Bomber David Myer had the chance to hand his side the win with a shot after the final siren from 65 metres out, but his kick fell well short, handing the Swans a crucial 11.11 (77) to 10.12 (72) victory - their second of the season.

It was a close game full of momentum swings and lead changes, with the Swans - without spearhead Lance Franklin for the third straight game - making the most of their opportunities in the final quarter, with Will Hayward's decisive goal clinching the win.

Senior coach John Longmire has been consistent in his messaging over the past fortnight, that this is a team in transition, and his youthful players Nick Blakey (1 goal, 17 disposals), Tom McCartin (1 goal, 5 marks), Jordan Dawson (2 goals, 15 disposals) and Colin O'Riordan (1 goal, 17 disposals) were all key contributors.

It was however the senior players that had the biggest impact, with captains Josh Kennedy (24 disposals, 10 tackles), Luke Parker (33 disposals) and Dane Rampe (9 intercept possessions) leading the way.

Midfielder George Hewett did an excellent shutdown job on Essendon gun Dylan Shiel, although the midfielder almost dragged his side over the line in the last quarter.

With Shiel locked down, Bomber Zach Merrett enjoyed the space he was afforded, with 28 disposals, 7 clearances and 9 tackles.

The game ebbed and flowed from the opening bounce, with the Bombers kicking the opening two goals, before Sydney countered right before the first break, finally converting their territory dominance.

There were five separate runs of three consecutive goals from each team, and five lead changes, but none in the last quarter.

Bomber Jake Stringer's goal at the 15-minute mark of the second quarter was their third straight goal, giving Essendon a 9-point lead.

Oliver Florent and Tom Papley's immediate replies handed the lead back to the Swans, before Isaac Heeney's mark and goal extended the Sydney's lead to 10 points.

Orazio Fantasia (4 goals) capped off an exciting first half with his third goal of the match, and kicked his fourth shortly after the half-time break.

The highlight of the match was undoubtedly Colin O'Riordan's redemption and subsequent goal, his first in AFL football, after receiving a 100m penalty in his favour, taking him from the back pocket to centre-half forward.

The last quarter was a desperate struggle, with Sydney barely hanging on, despite Essendon's dominance.

Dylan Shiel had the ball on a string, as his midfield won the clearance count 18-8 nd registered 20-8 inside 50s in the final quarter.

Dane Rampe was a persistent thorn in Essendon's side, repelling just about everything they threw at him - they weren't helped by the quality of their inside 50s either.

Nick Blakey's last-gasp chase down tackle on Mason Redman with 26 seconds left on the clock appeared to have sealed victory for the Swans, but his immediate turnover set up David Myer's dramatic set shot.


The Swans will welcome Lance Franklin back into the side as they travel to Hobart for face North Melbourne at Blundstone Arena on Saturday night.

SYDNEY 2.6  6.8  9.9  11.11 (77)
ESSENDON 2.3  7.3  8.6  10.12 (72)


Former captain Kieren Jack received treatment and a standard concussion test for a head knock sustained in the second quarter. He returned and played out the game, but is in doubt for the Swans Round 9 clash.

Forward Sam Reid received treatment to his hip in the last quarter, but is expected to be available for the Round 9 clash.




SYDNEY: Dawson (2), Fox, Blakey, Florent, Papley, Heeney, Reid, O'Riordan, McCartin, Hayward
ESSENDON: Fantasia (4), Parish (2), Bellchambers, Merrett, Stringer, McKenna


SYDNEY: Parker, Hewett, Kennedy, Sinclair, Rampe, Blakey
ESSENDON: Hurley, Heppell, Merrett, McGrath, Hooker

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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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