Round 5 POTY - Franklin five-goal haul lit up the SCG

Each round we'll be posting our votes for The Swans Blog's Player of the Year award.

The players will be voted on their performance on the day regardless of the previous form. The player with the highest number of votes at the end of the season wins. Simple.

Round 5 saw the Swans renew their rivalry with the Greater Western Sydney Giants, the 20th game between the two sides, in Josh Kennedy's 250th match.

Despite leading for the majority of the match, the Giants' ferocity prevailed in the end, with a heartbreaking result for the Swans, their first loss of the season by two points.

Compounding the loss was a suspected PCL rupture to ruckman Tom Hickey, and injury concerns to star players, Jordan Dawson and Lance Franklin.

Franklin in particular was a menace in the Swans' forward line, finishing with his first five-goal haul since Round 12, 2019 against the Eagles, and almost single-handedly dragged the flagging Swans over the line.

His forward-half pressure was a particular highlight, laying 4 tackles, applying 12 pressure acts, registering over 400 metres gained, taking 8 marks - 5 contested, and finishing with 14 disposals - 8 contested.

Sam Reid did his best and even bested Mumford on occasion, but with Hickey ruled out before the end of the third quarter, Sydney lost their best marking weapon.

Despite not troubling the scoreboard, this was one of Sam Reid's best career games, collecting 16 disposals - 11 contested, 4 intercept possessions, 5 tackles, 6 clearances and 15 hit-outs.

It's telling that as soon as Reid left the field with a cut above his right eye, the Giants dominated general play and almost snatched the lead before Reid's fateful hit-out to Josh Kelly sealed the deal.

Ruckman Tom Hickey will be sorely missed, his influence in the first three quarters was telling, as the Swans established a 21-point lead in the third quarter.

While Shane Mumford got off the chain in the last quarter and was influential in the Giants' comeback, Hickey was the primary instigator in Sydney's early dominance, recording 16 disposals - 10 contested, 3 marks, 4 clearances, 23 hit outs and 3 tackles.

Callum Mills' progression from defender to midfielder took another giant leap on Saturday, among the best midfielders for the first three quarters, before his hard work in the last quarter registered four tackles to go with his four disposals.

His defensive grunt work was astonishing, finishing with game-high tackles (9) and pressure acts (33), and setting up a goal.

Luke Parker was once again superb and benefited strongly from Hickey's ruck influence, but like many others, flagged in the last quarter as Sydney struggled to find a match-up for Mumford.

His 6 tackles and 23 pressure acts were the second-highest for the Swans, while he finished with 21 disposals - 8 contested.

5 - Lance Franklin
4 - Sam Reid
3 - Tom Hickey
2 - Callum Mills
1 - Luke Parker

14 - Tom Hickey
12 - Callum Mills
8 - Errol Gulden
7 - Sam Reid
5 - Luke Parker
5 - Chad Warner

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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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