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- Geelong Cats beat Sydney Swans 15.8 (98) to 5.9 (39) at the MCG
- Cats move into preliminary final against Adelaide
What a performance. Defying the expectations of even their most passionate advocates, Geelong have made their way to the preliminary final. Their eighth time to the final four in 11 years. Sydney won 15 of 17, but couldn’t make that 16. They were as bad as Geelong good.
Six goals to one in an electric second quarter was enough to make the result a formality, confirmed with a further four majors in the third. Dangerfield’s four goals from the square in the first half will dominate the coverage. Brilliant move to pop him down there and he delivered in style when the game was on. Motlop was the talisman after half-time, lightning up the ‘G and burying the Swans.
4th quarter, 2.00 left: Geelong 15.8.98 v Sydney 5.9.39
Oh, hasn’t had a look all night really. But Hawkins has draaaaaained one from 50m where the arc meets the boundary. Drop punt, inswing like Waqar Younis. His 50th major of season 2018. “This has been their best finals win since the 2011 Grand Final,” says Bruce of Geelong. “Their most commanding performance since.”
Not pretty. Menegola, who has had a cracking night, picks out Stanley on the lead. Gorgeous footy. But then the Geelong no. 1 – who came into the side tonight for Lonergan – sprays the set shot badly. That’ll annoy him, knowng Lonergan is a certainty to come back next week. All told, a good problem to have.
That feeling. “I know it’s over,” says Cameron Ling of how Sydney are going about it now, the game reduced to a glorified kick-to-kick. No. Second. Invitation. Required.
Speaking of injuries. Tom Stewart is still sitting there looking a bit rough on the bench. Did his left pinger in the third term. Put in a mighty effort in the middle of the Geelong surge in the second quarter, executing a multi-part tackle. Acts like Stewart’s, alongside magic from Dangerfield and Lotlop, made Geelong’s night when it mattered most.
4th quarter, 12.20 left: Geelong 14.4.89 v Sydney 5.9.39
Well, it is not for nothing but it is not for much. Mills is there for Sydney to snaffle a tricky one off the ground. I remember Dermott Brereton once saying that as a park footballer the only time you could run out and compete is late in a final. Specifically, in a final term where a team has been thrashed, on the way to certain elimination. There is a bit of that here. No risk of injury for Geelong now. Sydney one foot on the plane.
4th quarter, 18.20 left: Geelong 14.4.88 v Sydney 4.9.33
Blicavs gets the first, pushing the lead into the 50s. Too easy. 55,555 the alleged attendance at the ‘G. I say alleged… surely someone at MCC HQ having a bit of a tweak there to get a quirky news line up? Fair play to them. Bit like the 2008 Grand Final with 100,008 there. Yeaaaah, sure.
More Buddy. “Never played a worse final has Buddy,” emails Richard Charles. “Thankfully in a Sydney jumper. No flag for Him. Beat it Sydney.” Can never remember the great man stinking it up in September at all, let alone like this.
Off to Adelaide for Geelong. Tom Stewart has gone off with a left hammy problem and won’t be back tonight. In other news, seems the TV commentary team have realised only tonight that professional sportspeople drink pickle juice. Keep up, gents.
Another goal on the cusp of the siren to finish off their term and push the lead back to 49 points as they stop for an orange. Menegola, who has been excellent, on the end of it. That’ll do nicely. Four goal to one quarter for the Cats. Dangerfield out of the game, but enter Motlop. One himself, set up a couple. Outstanding. After winning 15 of their last 17, Sydney have 30 minutes to go in their season. Who saw this coming?
3rd quarter, 1.00 left: Geelong 12.4.76 v Sydney 4.9.33
Sting completely out of this game. A quarter to go before Buddy has managed to do something helpful for his side, picking out Papley with a bullet pass. He kicks the set shot. Point made by the commentary team that Franklin has had quite a bit of it in this third term. But he’s having a shocker.
Buddy. Having a nightmare. Another set shot. “He’s gotta miss it,” predicts Bruce. He does. How about this…
STAT | Of Lance Franklin’s six kicks so far:
• 0 effective
• 4 ineffective
• 2 clangers#AFLCatsSwans
3rd quarter, 7.00 left: Geelong 12.4.76 v Sydney 3.9.27
Game over! Menzel has popped the goal through from point-blank-range, but it is Motlop again who made it happen with a relentless three-effort tackle. Once the Swans lost the ball, the goal was all but assured. He plays on to snap it through.
There weren’t many… but they did happen when he was a Hawk as well.
Swans getting ‘bad’ Franklin tonight. I remember those days, gotta take the good with the bad with Buddy #AFLCatsSwans
You cannot have a bad night when you finish outside the top four. Cameron Ling’s observation, not mine. But he’s bang on. Buddy gathers on the wing, but cannot run as he’s taken it with flat feet. Turns it over to a waiting Geelong defender. Sums up their night. Nothing going right. The TV commentary have started their post-mortem on the Sydney season. Motlop up the other end nearly jags another screamer from 45m, but a banana doesn’t have the legs. And again Buddy responsible for a loose turnover the next time Sydney surge. Grim footy.
LAST 5 SCORES:
3rd quarter, 14.00 left: Geelong 11.4.70 v Sydney 3.8.26
Goal of the night! Beautiful string of handballs across half-forward, Guthrie involved with the final one, over to Motlop who executes the perfect snap over his left shoulder, sneaking over the pack and just inside the post. 45 points the margin, this is sure over. Super footy.
North. Thy cheque book openth. #motlop
Post again! Sydney’ second into the woodwork tonight. Score review confirms that McVeigh hasn’t quite split the big ones with a banana. Buddy gets another set shot that he cannot convert. Kicks from just inside the arc, but it fades. They need all of these to fall their way. Instead, alongside a couple of rushed behinds, it’s four consecutive minor scores for the Swans.
7 goals. This isn’t going to be a comeback, it’s going to be a miracle if they can do it #AFLSwansCats
3rd quarter, 19.00 left: Geelong 10.4.64 v Sydney 3.4.22
Juggling, composed mark Menzel. Lovely, swinging set shot from 50. Oh yes, the Cat Attack continues! “In the context of this game that is enormous,” observes BT. Not wrong. It’s taken just over a minute to get them on the board again. The lead out to an even seven goals. The biggest semi-final comeback ever was 37-points in 1933! That was also the Swans. Thanks, Bruce. Bet he knew that off the top of his head. He adds what I was about to say: 42 points the lead Adelaide had over the Baby Bombers Mk II in 1993’s first semi-final before that went wild.
Siren! The second half. It is here. Can Geelong hold on?
Wow. There is only one story from the MCG: Patrick Dangerfield. What a masterstroke sending him to the square. This is Leigh Matthews from the 1985 Prelim stuff. More contested possessions than anyone on the field. Four majors from his seven shots on goal. Sure, some luck along the way, but clever to create the final of those free kicks. Had a chance to pop Geelong out to a seven-goal lead as well before Sydney got their steadier. Freeeeeak.
The hosts have 20 more contested possessions, which won’t be lost upon the Sydney coaching staff at the break. Nor will Buddy’s sub-par opening half, three kicks for one behind so far. That shot would have put Sydney back to four goals behind with two majors inside 45 seconds. Instead, down the other end Danger, of course, to make it seven of the last eight in the half. Sydney in big, big trouble.
2nd quarter, 3.00 left: Geelong 9.4.58 v Sydney 3.4.22
“Danger, Danger! High voltage! When we touch… when we kiss!” Four goals in the opening half! Seven shots on goal from the square. What an individual hand. What a great decision to send a champion down to bolster a the hapless forward line of last weekend. The set shot made from a tight angle 30m out after another clutch grab.
Oi, Frankie. Expectations are such that when he’s having a pop from 55m that he’ll drain it. He doesn’t here, dragging it to the near side. Would have made two in 45 seconds for the Swans leading into the long break. “At least he’s had a couple of shots on goal now” the take of Bruce. Fair. Will need to have a massive second half to keep Sydney’s season alive.
2nd quarter, 3.00 left: Geelong 8.4.52 v Sydney 3.3.21
Big play from the 300-gamer, Jarrad McVeigh dragging one back with a set shot from 50m. “Some players in this moment want the ball in their hands,” Carey’s response on the telly.
You wouldn’t have wanted it in any other hands than McVeigh there. Cooly slotted. #aflcatsswans
Turn up the volume! Tom Stewart a superb tackle of Parker on the outer wing and the response from the Geelong fans in the Great Southern Stand is immense. Symbolic of the quarter. Danger gets it again inside range, but misses. Oh, should have done better. How’s he getting a loose ball inside the arc at this stage? Maybe what Sydney really need now is the siren more than a shot on goal.
2nd quarter, 6:00 left: Geelong 8.3.51 v Sydney 2.3.15
Make that a six goal lead! Zac Smith! Third man up, flying across the pack to take the contested mark. Another aerial effort from the Cats down that way. Slots it through with composure from 25m. Next goal vital for Sydney. Have to take something from this quarter. Running out of time.
2nd quarter, 8:00 left: Geelong 7.3.45 v Sydney 2.3.15
Motlop fantastic from half-back, a driving kick between the arcs setting up a forward entry, Hawkins hands to Duncan who kicks another! Geelong on fire! Five on the spin for the Cats. Lead is five straight kicks. “There’s a little of the 2014 Grand Final here,” observes Bruce. Big call, but not far from the mark. Sydney drowning.
Nearly! Buddy from 53 has his first shot at goal. It doesn’t quite get there, a snap from the Hewett just missing. Down the other end it is DANGER AGAIN! He’s giving Rampe a bath! Fantastic, clever grab. But he misses the set shot. Game not far from really breaking open here.
2nd quarter, 12:00 left: Geelong 6.2.38 v Sydney 2.2.14
Look out, internet! Dangerfield has another through a free kick against Rampe. He pops it through from 20m. The superstar has three. The violation was for a push in the back. Carey notes how clever Danger was to pull the tacklers’ arms with him after hitting the ground, to make it look bad as possible. “He got sucked in,” he adds of the umpire. Geelong four goals up! And all of a sudden, Sydney need a steadier. And they need Buddy.
2nd quarter, 13:00 left: Geelong 5.2.32 v Sydney 2.2.14
Stanley! Into the side for defender Lonergan at the last moment, now inside the forward 50 and taking a towering grab 20m out. Menzel’s delivery was spot on, and had to be with two defenders hanging off the Cat. The kick on goal isn’t the most compelling but it has snuck through. Geelong move to a three goal advantage. “Sydney are struggling,” says Bruce. “And we haven’t said that in a long while.”
2nd quarter, 16:30 left: Geelong 4.2.26 v Sydney 2.2.14
50 metres! Duncan has been taken all of 60 though, and kicks truly from 30m. It’s Buddy’s first influence on this game, for all the wrong reasons. It’s a technical one. Franklin stood on the side of the mark rather than directly behind it, prompting the umpire to blow his whistle and bring Duncan forward. Geelong’s lead ot to a couple of goals.
So we agree the umps got that right under the rules, yeah?
So sing a new tune please… #aflCatsSwans
Nearly brilliant from Dangerfield. Rapid exchange of handballs across half-forward, helped along by the steady head of Mackie. Lands with Danger, who snaps from the impossible angle and just misses. Shots from John Longmire at the break giving his Sydney charges a real spray. Old school.
I said no major stats… but TV tells us that Geelong haven’t lost a game when leading at quarter-time this season, 1o-and-zip from here. Bruce adds that they haven’t lost a match leading at any change in the season. Handy.
Cats close it down the term. Sydney twice come forward to have the surge stopped at the traditional CHF position. Taylor takes a strong mark, highlighting that his direct opponent Franklin hasn’t had a sniff in the opening stanza. Siren. Geelong will go into the break very happy with their early work. Dangerfield benefitted from some generous officiating, but two goals in the book to him after starting at full-forward the difference between the sides at the first change.
Not a lot to draw from the stats, much the same for both sides in the usual catagories. Kieran Jack has had it ten times though, kicking a goal himself along the way with a savvy bit of footwork close to the line. By finals standards, a relatively quiet start. Both sides know what they are doing.
Game being played between the arcs so far, with Cats intent on controlling possession where possible. Buddy frustrated by lack of supply.
Post! Newman from long range hits the top of the post, our first behind after five straight on the night. A second minor score for the Swans comes via Parker, who misses from 45m. He kicked through a chorus of boos, winning the shot after the Geelong defender Lachie Henderson was penalised for deliberate. But, it happened in the act of spoiling. Come on, get serious. The Cats by four points with a couple of minutes to go in the term.
David Parkin “In difficult conditions we not only have a contest, we have a good game of footy” #aflcatsswans
1st quarter, 8:20 left: Geelong 3.0.18 v Sydney 2.0.6
Menegola! The well-named cat marks inside 50 under no pressure at all. Turns around and keeps the clean sheet for both sides, splitting the middle.
Booooo! The Swans don’t like it when Dangerfield gets another free kick well inside range. Oh, that’s a shocker. Rampe barely touches his shoulder from behind. Had the rule been interpreted that way once upon a time, Jason Dunstall and Tony Lockett would have kicked 2000 each. Anyway, he misses! Out on the full. And the Sydney players race up to tell him all about it. That I like.
1st quarter, 11:00 left: Geelong 2.0.12 v Sydney 2.0.6
“Jack in the box!” says Bruce, with Kieran Jack having the nous to get his left boot to a ball off the ground from the goalsqure. He soccers straight and the Swans have their second. Carey says the defenders panicked as the ball slipped through the net. Goodness me, Sydney supporters singing ‘Ole, ole, ole, ole… Sydney, Sydney.’ No. Don’t do that.
Steady start. Geelong haven’t been blown away as they were the last couple of times these teams met. Doesn’t feel like a final quite yet. Both sides working into it, not many risks taken. So many experienced players out there, they know the drill.
Bruce declares it “colossal” five minutes in.
I’m going out to the shed. #AFLCatsSwans
1st quarter, 15:30 left: Geelong 2.0.0 v Sydney 1.0.6
Danger again! Infringed from the marking contest at the very place he grabbed and goaled a moment before. He ran around and snapped a behind, but the ball was brought back to allow him to take a shot. He makes no mistake from 20m.
1st quarter, 17:20 left: Geelong 1.0.0 v Sydney 1.0.6
Straight down the other end and Dangerfield, who has started forward tonight, marks over Rampe. Response within a minute. Wet all day, but no effect on the game so far. Some strong early grabs.
1st quarter, 18.30 left: Geelong 0.0.0 v Sydney 1.0.6
Papley perfect in traffic, getting free from the contest and chipping over the top to Reid who takes the grab running back and converts the set shot from 25m. They’re away.
Anthem! Craig Willis welcomes us formally to the MCG. That’s how you know it is a big deal. Do we have a live singer? Nup, it is play on the Julie Anthony tape. But no complaints. Moments like this I miss not being there in standing room watching Hawthorn go around. I know, I shouldn’t complain. But roaring over those last few bars? Phwoaaaar.
Toss. “What have we got? A dollar coin?” asks the umpire. Odd. Geelong to kick to the City End, Sydney to the Punt Road goals. Nearly there now!
Cheer, cheer the red and the white! Out come Sydney. McVeigh has his daughter in his arms as they run through the banner.
Ground looks fantastic given the torrential rain in Melbourne earlier today. Gone the days of the late-season bog.
Huge night at the People’s Ground and I have some BIG news with you off the top. Tom Lonergan, Geelong’s champion defender is out. Retiring at season’s end, he may have played his final game, withdrawn with food poisoning. But the more immediate issue here is the fantastic record he has playing on Lance Franklin, keeping him to under a couple of goals a game in their stoushes over the better part of a decade. Wow.
As for food poisoning?! What happened to fish and chips the night before a game like KB in his pomp? Or a big bowl of pasta like every 1990s gun? Some questions to be asked of this at Corio Bay if it all doesn’t go to plan over the next few hours and the Cats are bundled out in straight sets for the second time in the space of four years.
Adam will be along shortly. In the meantime, have a read of this beautiful story, about a pair of inseparable young Swans fans. Just make sure you have a box of tissues at the ready.
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- Sydney beat Adelaide 13.5 (83) to 11.14 (80)
- Swans move into fourth on ladder after frantic win
Buddy says it is one of the better wins he has been involved in. And there have been a few. A lot of criticism in the post-game on Adelaide bottling it, not least letting Sam Reid free for that goal out of nowhere to put the Swans within a kick. It was the moment, on reflection.
The implicatons on the ladder… if the Swans finish fifth, the loser of 1v4 will play the Swans. G’luck with that! They go to bed fourth tonight, mind. Adelaide, meanwhile, will still probably finish top. But will need to win next week against WCE in Perth.
Moment of the night.
You will see this a few times on highlights packages over the years, long after it has been forgotten who won tonight. It’s even better on the replay.
The scoreline tells it all, the Crows having every chance to win this but throwing it away with their kicking. Through the second half the home side controlled the ball out of the guts, but Sydney are the best defence in the comp for a reason. In the end, the losing side won the inside 50s by a margin of 62 to 42. Remarkable.
Of course, their win was set up by the jump they got early taking a 29-point lead early in the second quarter. But Adelaide hung on then pounced. The last quarter they were flying, three brisk goals giving them their biggest lead of the night, nine points. But goals to Reid and Papley – a gem to win it – shifted the dial to the Swans at the perfect time. All their vast experience was on display in the final moments, slowing the game to a crawl. What a game.
Precious seconds tick down. Adelaide aren’t able to penetrate, Sydney have thrown the proverbial kitchen sink here, numbers behind the ball to turn the last few minutes into a slog. Nothing doing at all for the hosts. Exhausted. Crouch can’t take it away clearly at the end, securing the Sydney Swans a famous victory! Sydney by three points!
Q4 4:30 remaining. Crows 11.14.80 v Swans 13.5.83. Sydney back in front! Two in a minute as Papley gets the ball at ground level and does what he does best. Kept composure when he could have gone to the deck as well, wasn’t expecting the ball as it landed with him. Adelaide crowd stunned into silence. They need at least one more, probably two.
Q4 5:10 remaining. Crows 11.14.80 v Swans 12.5.77. Sam Reid! Just as he did at the end of the third, the big man has popped up at a crtitical time for Sydney to keep them in the game. Surely this ends within a kick either way. That kind of night, that kind of season.
Q4 8:45 remaining. Crows 11.13.79 v Swans 11.4.70. Held! I was calling it from here, the umpire agreeing. McGovern at the traditional CHF position went long to the hot spot, the outnumbered Swans’ defence got all grabby, Jenkins pulled down in the contest. The experienced hand wasn’t going to allow another mistake from a set shot, slotting it straight through the middle from 25m. Adelaide extend their lead to nine, the most they have been in front by all night.
Buddy ferocious. Creates half a chance up the other end, but nothing comes from it. He’s in the game, winning another free at crntre half-forward. Inside 50, Heeney centres put cannot find hands. Nor can Papley, Betts for Adelaide engineering the clearance instead. Composed footy from Adelaide, Sydney should have scored in that surge. TALIA DOWN AGAIN BEHIND PLAY! It isn’t the ankle that he hurt before, reaching for his head as the trainers take a look. He’s pushing them away; wants to stay on. All happening!
Q4 12:00 remaining. Crows 10.13.73 v Swans 11.3.69. Walker has done it! McGovern puts him into space after a turnover, the big man playing his 150th has all the time in the world running towards the goal mouth, but bangs it on the boot. Goes along the ground but thankfully for the home side it doesn’t matter, just sneaking in. The Crows, at last, are in front!
Peppering the 50, but not the board. The Crows have it permanently in their arc. Must find a way through the big sticks. Kennedy sprays a clearance out on the full from the side of his boot, giving them another chance to go inside. Riley Knight has the chance to bring it back but elects to go himself from 52 where the arc meets the boundary. It’s a bold attempt, and he misses. In keeping with the theme. Two points the difference, 12 minutes left.
Adelaide dominating the clearances now. Jacobs the most important man on the field, giving fantastic service. They have won every clearance this quarter. And via one of those Jacobs hit outs, Sloane has got it out and an uncontested mark to Cameron! He has a set shot and… MISSES! It’s happened again! Hits the post. Oh what a mess for the Crows, that would have put them into the lead. Still a quarter of an hour to go, and three points behind, but they should be ahead times over by now. The crowd’s frustration palpable.
Q4 17:00 remaining. Crows 9.11.65 v Swans 11.3.69. Banged forward by Jacobs, McGovern finds the footy, snaps it true! He has four! Adelaide within a kick despite having kicked two fewer goals. That kind of night. And Talia is back on as well – that’s MASSIVE in the context of this game.
Rough and tumble opening minutes. Zak Jones can’t help himself, giving away a 50 to Brad Crouch but the Crow cannot convert. 1.5 from set shots! The Swans 7.2. Says it all.
In the Talia move, I missed a goal. That was via Sam Reid, who extended the margin to double-digits by the final change for the Swans. And at the end of that wild old quarter, we’re more or less where we started. Adelaide went bang-bang, Sydney did likewise, there were long chunks where neither side could get a clear shot on goal. Adelaide created more chances on the whole but struggled to convert. Sydney were precise when their opportunities came. That last major a real steadier. But we have a grandstand finish, that’s for sure. Don’t go anywhere!
Push/pull. Jerka Jenkins on the lead the old-fashioned way, found laces out. But he can’t slot it either. The lead narrows by one to four, just over three minutes remaining in the frenetic term. Oh, now Talia is in strife. He’s taken off straight away. In pain. A groin? Huge in the context of the game as it means Buddy could be let loose. Alternatively, Alex Keath: go make a name for yourself.
Post! Second time Sydney have hit the post – the only two behinds they have recorded. In stark contrast to the aforementioned problems of the hosts in kicking straight. As their former premiership coach Malcolm Blight might say at this time if he were on the commentary: Footy Gods. Don’t tempt them by missing your chances. Has there ever been a game where a team hasn’t actually kicked a non-post behind? Could we be heading towards one of the more obscure records in footy history? Is it even possible to find out such a thing?
Adelaide set shots. They’re within a kick after Douglas misses to the left, that’s the second they’re missed from a standing stard this term, Cameron having a chance earlier. Sprayed three in the second quarter as well. Should be in front, really. Sydney by five, now time-on, in the old speak.
Q3 9:00 remaining. Crows 8.6.54 v Swans 10.1.61. McVeigh, the champion, gets free inside 50 for an uncontested mark. Goes back with the Adelaide crowd doing their best to put him off, but they can’t, the Swan veteran going back and drilling it. Big response. Every twist and turn vital from here.
Q3 12:00 remaining. Crows 8.6.54 v Swans 9.1.55. Eddie’s turn! Was bound to influence this game again with all that is going on. It’s back to a point the difference when he bangs it home from point blank range in the old D-Com parlance. Cameron won the free, put him into space, and that was that. Goal for goal on the goal by goal!
Q3 13:00 remaining. Crows 7.6.48 v Swans 9.1.55. Two in a hurry for Sydney against the play. Rohan cops a whack from Lever but doesn’t miss.
Q3 16:00 remaining. Crows 7.6.48 v Swans 8.1.49. BUDDDDDDDYYYYYYYY!!! Sydney needed a Buddy special and he’s kicked one of the very best you will see! On the gallop from half back (!), he had the time to bounce and fumble and all the rest, then bounce again. Talia nearly reaching him with a Hooker-esque chase and dive, but Franklin was never missing once he set his eyes on the target from range. What a gem! What a game!
Q3 17:00 remaining. Crows 7.6.48 v Swans 7.1.43. What has happened to this game of footy?! 29 down half way through the second quarter, and within a couple of mintues in this new quarter the Crows have hit the front! “The Swans just can’t keep up,” says Bruce. Five in a row. McGovern gets the first after a Matt Crouch centre break within 30 seconds. Tom Lynch, after another crisp clearance, snaps around his body after Eddie put it on a plate for him.
That was a quarter befitting the blockbuster tag. Sydney had all the play to begin, two goals in a hurry extending their lead to five goals. Adelaide looked ready to roll over. Then, after missing a couple of set shots, their window to get back into it looked to be closing. From nowhere, they turned it around.
Well, not nowhere – from immense pressure and tackling. Already mentioned Sloane’s 11 grapples. Betts too inside the 50, throwing himself around and getting into the game. McGovern showed his class in the air and on the ground, involved in two of the three Adelaide majors registered in their burst of energy to narrow the margin to single digits. They were unlucky not to score again in the final minutes before the long break.
A minute to go. It’s end to end. Adelaide running their guts out. Douglas pumps it long inside 50 again but it ends up out of bounds. Betts brilliant roving from the throw in, but the kick is smothered. Rory Sloane has ELEVEN tackles to half-time. Enjoy that, fantasy footballers. Huge points. Buddy has it on the wing with 15 seconds to go, but Adelaide tidy up at half-back and that’s the SIREN. Phew.
Q2 3:00 remaining. Crows 5.5.35 v Swans 7.1.43. And another! Matt Crouch on the end of some rapid ball movement inside the arc, Betts involved in that too. He’s the outside man, able to settle and steer from 30. Game on. “All of a sudden Sydney are on the back foot,” says Bruce. Moments later Betts has another shot on goal, which would have been four majors in as many minutes. But he misses. What Sydney need is the siren. Adelaide have had 37 tackles in the quarter, Cameron Ling reports – they average 18 this season per term.
Here is the McGovern goal, the middle of the three. How about the pace?
Q2 7:00 remaining. Crows 4.4.28 v Swans 7.1.43. Two goals in a heartbeat for the hosts! Where that come from? Well, Eddie converts a set shot at close range. McGovern did the spade work there with a towering mark at half-forward. He’s having a decent time of it. Then, down to McGovern again from the restart who bananas Adelaide back into the game!
Why is Brian Taylor calling McGovern a gecko? “He has the most gecko hands I have ever seen!” Well, whatever the case, he has missed a straightforward set shot here. That hurts, given how few opportiunities they have had to score in this quarter, as it hits half-way. Betts gets a rare sniff shortly thereafter, but his snap just misses as well. Eddie and Walker have five kicks between them.
Structure. “The Swans have set up beautifully tonight,” says Cameron Ling. As Adelaide once again find Swans jumper coming out from the defensive 50. Has happened routinely.
Q2 15:30 remaining. Crows 2.2.14 v Swans 7.1.43. Sydney are blowing this game right open. Any momentum Adelaide clawed back in the final moments of the opening term goes with Sydney’s second goal of the first five minutes in the second. Here, it is Zak Jones again. Two kicks, two goals. Easy business this. It required going upstairs for a review, but it is all clear.
Spud: Every disposal Adelaide get is under extreme pressure. #AFLCrowsSwans
Q2 18:10 remaining. Crows 2.2.14 v Swans 6.1.37. Zak Jones kicks Sydney’s first of the quarter inside two minutes, Sydney able to rebound after a sloppy exit from Adelaide’s defensive 50. Jones coverts the set from from 35 and gives it the big ones with the celebration as well. Big fan of that.
Siren. We’re back in the city of churches.
The Swans kicked the first four in a burst, Franklin involved with a precise set shot from long-range then a brilliant bit of body work to engineer a snap for his second. The old firm are driving their early advantage, Kennedy with plenty of it, McVeigh instrumental in two majors as well from half-back. Adelaide took the better part of quarter of an hour to find their feet, but were far more competitive thereafter. Sloane’s goal inside the last minute, a clever take and bomb from outside the 50, has the margin about where it should be at the end of the term.
Q1 0:40 remaining. Crows 2.2.14 v Swans 5.1.31. Rory Sloane finds the the best through is over the top of them all. In the nick of time before the siren, runs around the back for a little handball receive from 52, kicks the journey and it is true. He’s been their best. They earned that one.
Bad misses. The big man Jacobs the beneficiary of an inside 50 that does a leg-break and goes through everyone, but turning around from 20m he misses. Indeed, he hasn’t scored. Talia, the TV tells us, has been now moved back to Franklin. Meanwhile, Kennedy has ten touches already, fuelling Sydney with his work in the guts. The ball has been in Sydney’s half 63% of the time to date, but Adelaide should have done more to bridge the gap over the last five minutes. Another shot missed by close range as I say that, Jerka Jenkins snapping over his shoulder from the kick-off line but it is off-target. Under more pressure than Jacobs was, but should have done better. 23 points the margin, two minutes to go in the term.
Q1 5:30 remaining. Crows 1.1.7 v Swans 5.1.31. Jack gets a gimme! He misses his initial set shot from 45m but Lever has overstepped the mark. 50m penalty paid, taking him to point blank range. Sydney have hit straight back.
Q1 6:45 remaining. Crows 1.1.7 v Swans 4.1.25. Lever to Betts out of the back half, who gets the burners on finding a target at half-forward, that’s McGovern who pumps it into the hot spot, Smith running onto the loose ball and having the composure under pressure to convert. Taken a while, but Adelaide are on the board. The crowd roar, in relief as much as anything.
Q1 9:20 remaining. Crows 0.1.1 v Swans 4.1.25. FRANKLIN! He swerves and grooves his way at ground level, just shoves Keath out of the way, swings around to snap on his left from 30 and drills it! That’s the best of the genius, strength and style.
Sydney are on. After conmceding 50m penalty, unclear for what. Cameron bangs it deep for the Crows. Eight times in ten they would find a way to score, but it is an avalanche of red and white jumpers then some classy hands again from McVeigh before Hannery finds Franklin by foot with a precise chip. 62-39 the possession count to Sydney. All over them.
Q1 12:00 remaining. Crows 0.1.1 v Swans 3.1.19. Tippett! You know from the boos, it can only be him. Takes the strong overhead grab after smooth ball movement set up by McVeigh. Pops it through. “Adelaide are getting destroyed around the footy,” says Cameron Ling. 23 to 14 the contested possession count at this early stage in favour of the Swans.
Excellent from Alex Keath. Sticking with Franklin who looked ready to run, executing the tackle and winning the free. The young man made the transition from professional cricket to footy and on the early evidence looks the goods. But moments later, Sam Reid gets a set shot form long range anyway. He misses, hitting the post. “A fast start here,” says Bruce. That it is. “Adelaide need an earlier steadier here.”
Q1 15:30 remaining. Crows 0.1.1 v Swans 2.0.12. Kelly fumbles on the last line for Adelaide going with one hand instead of two, Rohan is there to collect the crumbs, taking two goes at it but soccering through for Sydney’s second in a couple of minutes.
Q1 17:00 remaining. Crows 0.1.1 v Swans 1.0.6. Rapid couple of minutes to begin, bodies flying everywhere. Tippett from half-forward gets it into Buddy who does as he has for a dozen years or more, using his body to position defender Keath under the ball. Kicking from the arc, he drills it with a penetrative kick, straight through the middle. The visitors are away.
Neglected to mention. It is Taylor Walker’s 150th tonight. Looks a packed house at Adelaide. A bit of rain there this afternoon, the telly tells me, but dry enough now for a clean game. “The Crows have more to lose,” the assessment of Paul Roos. A bit of nonsense push and shove before the bounce, as is the custom. And with that, we’re away. SIREN.
You know what…
Not always a bad thing to drop the second last round if you want to win the flag, Richmond stunning Hawthorn in 2008 comes to mind. But really, this is an excuse to post some of the best footy of my lifetime, Chris Grant ending Essendon’s perfect season in Rd 21, 2000. But they still went and won it all five weeks later.
Stats and facts and all the rest.
I don’t feel like I talked enough about Adelaide in that opener. They’re pretty good at footy. Six of the last seven at the business end confirm as much. They cannot finish lower than second, so we’re back at the mighty Adelaide Oval in a fortnight no matter what. I was writing about that joint from Edgbaston the day-night Test at Edgbaston last night. What a place. But I digress. They kick a league-high 113 points a game. Have more inside 50s than anyone. More marks in the arc. All the stuff that makes it a joy to watch.
Hello everyone. Welcome to the penultimate round of AFL season 2017, kicking off with a proper blockbuster at the Adelaide Oval between the Crows and Sydney. The Crows on top, the Swans the form team of the comp for the better part of three months, we could very well have ourselves the Grand Final preview over the next few hours.
Adam Collins with you here from the mean streets of Peckham in South London to give you the good oil over the next few hours. And there should be plenty of that, as this is a corker.
Adam will be here shortly. In the meantime, why not have a read of this heartfelt tribute to the soon-to-be-departed Bob Murphy, written by Kate O’Halloran:
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/aug/18/adelaide-crows-v-sydney-swans-friday-night-afl-live