After dropping 3 homes already this season, the Sydney Swans were in no mood to lose another as the squared off against the Fremantle Dockers. With the surprise inclusion of Lance Franklin and a welcome return from Dan Hannebery, Sydney ran out comfortable 59 point winners against a listless Freo side. The win has propelled the Swans from 7th to 5th on the AFL ladder and have three winnable games coming up in opponents Brisbane, Carlton and St-Kilda. This means Sydney can consolidate their chance of a top four spot which would make their 2018 flag prospects a lot easier than last year where they did not have the double chance.
Lance Franklin played well in his return game after a heel injury. He kicked 3 goals and looked his menacing self around the forward zone. There was some concern that Franklin could have been in trouble with the AFL match review. In the second quarter Franklin made contact with Fremantle’s Joel Hamling during a tackle play. Hamling had to leave the ground with concussion. The AFL match review deemed that Franklin’s contact was part of an evasive measure and had no charge to answer to.
Defensively Sydney were miserly in their response to any Fremantle attack. Freo added to their woes by applying zero forward 5o metre pressure. Incredulously Dockers coach Ross Lyon stated at the post-game press conference that he was of the belief that his side had a positive start. For the record Fremantle had zero tackles inside their own 50 metre area, they kicked no goals for the first quarter and had only laid 5 tackles. One wonders what game Mr Lyon was watching, as these stats were damning of the lack of offensive pressure shown by Fremantle. On the flip side again it was the old hands at the back for the Swans in Heath Grundy, Jarrad McVeigh and Dampe Rampe mopping up. McVeigh in particular was outstanding picking up 31 possessions and 6 marks. Overall, Jake Lloyd was Sydney’s best player with 41 possessions and an incredible tally of 15 marks. He also booted a goal.
It was difficult to find a good player for the Dockers. Nat Fyfe tried hard all night, Aaron Sandilands easily won the hit out department 51-14, whilst Lachie Neale and Ed Langdon also were good contributors. The worrying thing for Fremantle was they were able to win the stoppage and clearances count, but as soon as the ball was either cleared or won in the ruck, Sydney moved in and controlled the contest for the majority of the game and never look threatened.
The good thing about the Sydney win was the level of intensity at which they played the game. Right up until the last seconds, the Swans players threw themselves after the ball and chased and tackled as if it was the first quarter.Gary Rohan kept running, Ben Ronke was quieter this week after his “overnight sensation” game of 7 goals against Hawthorn last week. Whilst Ronke only kicked one goal, he presented himself well and provided some nice 1% touches and assists to other team mates.
Sydney (5th, 6 wins, 3 losses) now have the chance to really consolidate their season against lower rated opponents. This week they face an inform Brisbane Lions (17, 1 win, 8 losses) away at the Gabba next Saturday evening. Fremantle (12th, 4 wins, 5 losses) return home to play North Melbourne (7th, 5 wins, 4 losses) next Sunday afternoon
SYDNEY 3.3 7.4 11.6 17.9 (111)
FREMANTLE 0.4 1.7 2.9 7.10 (52)
Sydney: Kennedy 3, Franklin 3, Papley 2, McCartin 2, Hayward, Ronke, Lloyd, Heeney, Parker, Sinclair, Hewett
Fremantle: Walters 2, Sandilands 2, Langdon, Ballantyne, Fyfe,
Sydney: Lloyd, McVeigh Grundy, Franklin
Fremantle: Neale, Fyfe, Sandilands, Langdon
Sydney: Jones (head)
Fremantle: Hamling (concussion)
Umpires: Mathew Nicholls, Ray Chamberlain, Brent Wallace
Official crowd: 27,481 at the SCG