By CHARLIE GOODSIR
The Swans have made it eight wins in a row in a row after they defeated the GIANTS by 46 points in front of a strong crowd in Wollongong on Saturday afternoon.
The Swans kept the GIANTS to just the one goal in the second half and ended the GIANTS’ five-game winning streak in the low scoring 10.15 (75) to 4.5 (29) win.
The victory did come at a cost however, with star forward Sam Reid going off after 15 minutes into the game with a sore Achilles in a further setback to his recovery.
“He played the first quarter. He was a bit sore and we didn’t want to risk it as he is coming back from a major surgery,” Swans NEAFL coach Tadgh Kennelly told neafl.com.au.
“We decided not to push it with a player of his quality.”
Hundreds of fans from both sides attended to watch a fascinating game with the crowd bellowing and cheering all day long. Swans fans even sung the team song after the final siren.
The game began as an arm-wrestle with both sides having multiple chances to kick the first goal of the game. It took 15 minutes for Swans Academy player Bailey Stewart to kick the first major. Toby Pink then followed soon after with his first goal in his first game of the season.
The Swans began to assert their dominance on the game but a fabulous goal in the pocket by Lachlan Keeffe gave the GIANTS their first major, and with only a seven-point deficit at the first change.
The game was being played in the Swans’ forward 50 for much of the second quarter. However, GIANTS young gun Tom Banuelos kicked two goals in a row to give his side the unlikeliest of leads at the 16-minute mark.
As the wind began to pick up at North Dalton Park, the Swans went on a run of eight behinds in a row before heading into half-time to only lead by seven points.
The Swans were finally able to put their dominance onto the scoreboard after the main break, kicking three goals to none. The highlight being Colin O’Riordan’s soccer goal in the 25th minute mark to give the Swans a commanding 26-point lead at three-quarter time.
Any hopes of a comeback victory were dashed after James Bell kicked a super goal three minutes into the final quarter. Nic Newman made a brilliant play along the wing and gave a ‘don’t argue’ that Dustin Martin would’ve been proud of, and then handed it off to Bell who finished brilliantly from the 50-metre line.
Tom Banuelos then kicked the GIANTS first goal of the second half 11 minutes later, and also his third goal for the afternoon to break a long drought.
However, the Swans then kicked the last three goals of the game courtesy of Pink, O’Riordan and Darcy Cameron to run out comfortable winners.
It was a fantastic all-round performance from the Swans as they went inside 50 70 times during the match and held the GIANTS to only 38 inside 50s and just nine scoring shots.
Colin O’Riordan is “knocking on the door” for an AFL debut according to Kennelly after a standout performance with 37 disposals, 11 marks, five clearances, five inside 50s, three tackles and 2.1.
He was well supported by Newman (37 disposals, six inside 50s, five rebound 50s and four clearances) and Cameron (27 disposals, 32 hit-outs, seven inside 50s, eight marks, five clearances and 1.2).
Bell had his best game for the Swans, ending the day with 13 touches, three inside 50’s, two clearances, one tackle and two fantastic goals with his second goal in the final quarter setting the crowd alight.
Tom Banuelos did well, as he scored three of his teams four goals for the afternoon. Aiden Bonar was strong early, laying a remarkable nine tackles midway through the second quarter.
Matt Buntine continues to excel in the NEAFL with 28 disposals and 10 rebound 50s and Matthew Flynn played exceptionally well against Cameron, amassing a game-high 41 hit-outs.
The Swans went down to only two players on the bench early with Jordan Foote going down with concussion in the first quarter soon after Reid went off.
“We haven’t finished a game with our full list of players” Kennelly said. “It puts a lot of pressure on our (academy) players but our leaders performed well and they help our (academy) players”.
A plethora of Swans superstars came out to support their side including Luke Parker, Callum Mills and Tom Papley. Swans head coach John Longmire as well as assistant coaches Dean Cox, Rhyce Shaw and Steve Johnson were also in attendance.
Both players and coaches stayed all day to sign autographs and take photographs with fans both young and old.
“It was a great turnout” said Kennelly. “I’m very happy with the support from people for the game and for the Swans.”
The GIANTS will hope to get back to their winning ways when they face the Gold Coast SUNS at Spotless Stadium next week, whereas the Swans will seek to make it nine wins in a row when they travel up north to play the NT Thunder at TIO Stadium.
Sydney Swans v GIANTS at North Dalton Park
SYDNEY 2.3 3.11 6.13 10.15 (75)
GIANTS 1.2 3.4 3.5 4.5 (29)
GOALS – Sydney: J Bell 2 T Pink 2 C O’Riordan 2 M Rogers J Brown D Cameron B Stewart. Giants: T Banuelos 3 L Keeffe.
BEST – Sydney: C. O’Riordan H Marsh N Newman A Johnson D Cameron J Dawson. Giants: M Buntine J Stein J Peatling T Mohr T Banuelos A Kennedy.
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