SYDNEY: 4.4, 9.7, 11.9, 14.10 (94)
FREMANTLE: 2.2, 3.3, 9.4, 12.9 (81)
Sydney has fought out a gritty victory over the Fremantle Dockers at the SCG today, finishing winners by 13 points.
It was a tale of two halves, with the Swans dominating the first to be leading by as much as 45 points before the Dockers found some momentum.
The first half was played on the Swans terms and as a result they built a match-winning lead. The Swans constantly had superior numbers at the clearances, group tackled and pressured Fremantle into a kick-and-hope style strategy.
As a result, the Fremantle forwards were outnumbered whilst attempting to mark and the Sydney defenders ran the ball out of the back half with ease.
Aaron Sandilands was still monstrous in the ruck, finishing with 55 tap-outs, but the Swans midfield, lead by Josh Kennedy, Jarrad McVeigh and Adam Goodes were reading the ball off the Fremantle giant and as a result, Fremantle simply did not look likely to score at all.
The problem was so bad that Coach Ross Lyon was forced to introduce substitute Michael Barlow early in a search for a spark that Fremantle desperately needed.
The decision appeared to work as the third quarter saw the Dockers turn their gameplan around; suddenly they were full of run, hitting targets and finding options open inside their attacking half. Fremantle kicked six quick goals to bring the margin to 11 points, sending a scare throughout the Sydney camp. Suddenly, there was a game on our hands.
Nat Fyfe started to find first use of the ball, Barlow continued to collect disposals and Sydney found themselves needing a goal to steady the Purple onslaught. With the quarter dying down, Goodes stepped up and delivered, allowing the Swans a sigh of relief heading into the final break.
The opening minutes in the last saw Lewis Jetta, Ben McGlynn and Goodes kick three of the first four goals, and it appeared once more that Sydney had the game wrapped up. But once more Fremantle weren’t finished.
Maybe the Swans ran out of legs, maybe Fremantle lifted a gear, but the last 10 minutes the ball was entrenched in the Dockers’ forward 50. The game became one-sided to such an extent that the inside 50 count was 12 to one in Fremantle’s favour, but the Swans’ defence still managed to hold on.
The Dockers managed to grab two goals, but time and time again the tiring Swans outfit were able to clear the ball from the danger zone. Eventually, time simply ran out and Sydney can consider themselves somewhat lucky in their escape.
Votes: 3. Kennedy, 2. Sandilands, 1. Malceski
SYDNEY: Reid 3, Jetta 3, Goodes 2, McVeigh, O’Keefe, Rohan, Malceski, Roberts-Thomson, McGlynn
FREMANTLE: Mayne 4, Crowley 2, Anthony, Sandilands, Pearce, Mzungu, Bradley, Johnson
SYDNEY: Kennedy, Goodes, McVeigh, Reid, Malceski, Johnson
FREMANTLE: Sandilands, Fyfe, Barlow, Pearce
FREMANTLE: Paul Duffield (quad) was replaced in the second term by Michael Barlow
CHANGES: Shane Mumford (back) replaced in Sydney starting line-up by Mark Seaby
UMPIRES: Nicholls, Jennings, Mollison
CROWD: 22,242 at SCG