The Sydney Swans have defeated Essendon by 5 points in controversial circumstances at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday night. With the siren sounding, Essendon’s Mark Meyers had marked the ball some 60+ metres from goal on a slight angle and it was an almost impossible chance. During Myers approach to goal, inexplicably, Swans defender Dane Rampe leaped and latched himself onto a goalpost and appeared to slightly shake the goalposts. According to AFL game laws, it could have been deemed an illegal act and a resultant free kick awarded right in front of goal. The umpires did not think Rampe’s action was an infringement, Myers kick fell well short and the Swans won the game. It was Sydney first win at home since August 2018 and was a much needed boost to their flagging season. For Essendon it was a disappointing loss in a game they were expected to win.
Another game where two star performers we missing in action. Box office draw card Lance Franklin for Sydney still remains out due to a nagging hamstring injury, whilst Essendon key forward Joe Daniher was forced to sit out this week with a calf injury. It was a pretty evenly matched first half. The Bombers led early in the contested ball count and posted the first two goals of the game via Orazio Fantasia and Tom Bellchambers. Sydney struck back with goals to Robbie Fox and Jordan Dawson. Dawson (who has only played a dozen AFL games) in particular was impressive. He provided a much needed focal point up forward. With Franklin out and Sam Reid struggling for form, Dawson took 5 marks and booted 2 goals for the game, underlining the youth orientated future that coach John Longmire has recently been talking about.
Essendon took a one point lead into the sheds at half time and when the game resumed, both teams went goal for goal. Whilst the young guns for the Sydney Swans were stepping up when required, it was the experienced group of Josh Kennedy (24 disposals, 10 tackles), Luke Parker (33 disposals, 5 tackles) and Jake Lloyd (23 disposals) who were making a significant contribution around the contest. First year player Nick Blakey (17 disposals, 5 tackles, 1 goal) continued his excellent form including a game saving tackle on Essendon’s Mason Redman in the dying seconds of the game. It was also a much improved effort in the ruck department for Sydney with Callum Sinclair having the edge over Tom Bellchambers winning the hit-out count 34-30.
Essendon had plenty of Inside 50 metre opportunities (54-41) but were unable to convert on the scoreboard. Darcy Parish played a reasonable match and kicked two goals including the last for the game which kept Essendon’s chances alive. The speedy Adam Saad speared the ball forward in the dying seconds to David Myers who marked as the final siren rang out, the players and crowd holding their breath. Myers had to kick a goal from some 60+ metres, but his drop punt failed to make the distance and the Swans were home by 5 points.
Essendon coach John Worsfold didn’t thing David Myers had much of a chance to kick a miracle goal “I gave him (Myers) one per cent. He was a long way out and it was pretty blustery out there. It was going to be a miracle kick i think, yeah”. Sydney coach John Longmire was relieved to finally have a home victory and liked the form of his younger players such as Jordan Dawson “He’s another player that’s coming through, that’s been pretty good for us this year. There are some different names. He’s another one who’s making his mark. If those boys keep getting their opportunities and they keep on improving, then that’s what we’re after”.
Next week, Sydney travel to Tasmania to play North Melbourne next Saturday night, whilst Essendon play Fremantle on Saturday night at the Docklands.
SYDNEY 2.6 6.8 9.9 11.11 (77)
ESSENDON 2.3 7.3 8.6 10.12 (72)
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
Sydney: Reid (hip)
Essendon: Michael Hurley (ankle)
Umpires: Simon Meredith, Andre Gianfagna, Jacob Mollison
Official crowd: 26,502 at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Moore park, Paddington, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia