Despite looking gone at three quarter time, Sydney defied the odds and toughed out a fantastic win at Kardinia Park .
Without stars, Lance Franklin and Dan Hannebery, the Swans were able to overcome a goalless second quarter to power home over the Cats by 17 points.
Here’s The Mongrel’s good, bad and ugly.
Welcome back Kennedy
After two very quiet games for a midfielder of his stature, Josh Kennedy burst back into form, with 33 touches and a dominant last quarter to carry his team to the win.
Kennedy’s work at stoppages in the last quarter was exceptional. He finished with 13 clearances for the game, and refused to be dragged down. JK stood up in tackles and dished the ball off, and showed his teammates what it required to win.
We’ve had a bit of egg on our face since we published an article about Kennedy being the player Jobe Watson should’ve been. Since then, Josh has had just 13 and 16 disposals in consecutive games. A bit of redemption for Kennedy this week, and a little bit of relief for us, too.
Zak Jones’ last quarter
Though he’s had better games, I’m not sure Jones has had better quarters than his last in this one.
He ran hard, made contests and pushed the ball forward for the rampaging Swans at every chance. Kennedy will get the plaudits, and rightfully so, but Jones played no small part in the Swans’ resurgence.
His goal brought the Swans within two goals in the last quarter, and they went on with the job. When the chips were down at the conclusion of the third quarter, Jones was one of the players who refused to roll over.
Can someone please inform me why this guy wasn’t in the league before this season?
Kelly joined a pretty exclusive club this afternoon. He became only the ninth player in history to have 15 or more disposals and a goal in each of his first six games.
Kelly adds a bit of zip, and some class to the Cats’ midfield and was instrumental in the Cats establishing their lead. It was a bit of a pity he had little influence in the last quarter.
Three contested marks in a row – it was like the 80s!
The ball came out to Jake Kolodjasnhnij on the half back flank. He leaped into the air and took a beautiful one grab mark under pressure.
He turned and wheeled, looking down the line and there was Esava Ratugolea. Under pressure, the big man took a ripping one-grab mark. He went back over his mark and pumped the ball long as well, where Tom Hawkins led hard and clunked a mark of his own. It was good to see the contested mark on display so vividly under pressure in the last quarter.
Callum Sinclair exposes the lack of Geelong rucks
The return of the dominant ruckman continues.
Sinclair had 14 contested possession amongst his 18 touches, and a couple of big contested marks as well.
His tap work early in the game made the combination of Rhys Stanley and Ratugolea look a little ordinary, and would make Chris Scott wonder whether a genuine ruck in the coming years should be pursued.
To go along with his disposals, Sinclair had 39 hit outs, with plenty of them going straight to mids like Kennedy, Heeney and Hewett in the last quarter. His deft taps to those players was vitally important to the swans’ run.
Point blank misses
You’ll often hear people lament the goalkicking in the modern game. It’s something that hasn’t improved as the level other skills have.
Tom Hawkin’s miss, and Luke Parker’s kick into the man on the mark, both within twenty metres of goal, are unforgivable mistakes.
Parker’s miss came at a point when the Swans were struggling greatly. It was a lazy kick by a player who is anything but lazy. And Hawkins… well, we’ll get to that in a minute.
The Cats miss their opportunity
Six goals in a row is usually enough to snuff out the sense of hope in an opponent, and over the course of the second and third quarter, the Cats did just that against Sydney. Whilst watching, I got the sense that the Cats were a goal away from completely icing the game.
It never came.
Sydney were ripe for the picking, but Geelong failed to capitalise on the situation. Hawkins missed two goals, one very similar to the one Charlie Curnow missed last night that would’ve kept the Blues in the game. Hawkins’ miss may have put the game out of reach. It was a missed opportunity, and one that cost the Cats.
Really didn’t like Tom Hawkins’ staging for a holding free kick in the first quarter against Grundy. He is a big, strong dude, as he proved with four contested marks over the course of the day. He doesn’t need to do that garbage.
The Swans’ defensive set up early on looked water tight. Every time the Cats went forward, it seemed that Grundy or Rampe were waiting there in a two-on-one situation.
The deft toe tap from Rampe as the Swans surged forward in the first quarter was a great move. Bending down would’ve seen a contest take place, but he managed to get a toe on it, which allowed the ball to keep flowing Sydney’s way. It resulted in a scoring shot.
Kieran Jack’s effort to track down a ball that look destined to go through for a point, turn and find Oliver Florent was excellent, but there was a beautiful shepherd from Will Hayward that allowed Jack the space that wasn’t spoken about much. Hayward had a very quiet start, and won’t get a stat for that action, but it was very important.
Clearance work from Sinclair and Kennedy allows first gamer, Ben Ronke run onto the ball for his first goal.
James Parson’s effort allowed him to take the advantage from a free kick to Dangerfield. Parsons was the one who kicked to danger, and when the whistle blew, he was still running. He picked it up, ran on and kicked across his body for the goal.
Not a great statistical game, but I really loved the effort of Gary Rohan. He won a huge ball on the boundary in the fourth quarter, but was also tackling hard and involved all over the ground. I particularly liked his tackle on James Henry. Legal and hard. Sounds like a name for a certain sort of movie…
I remember hearing at the start of the third quarter that John Longmire wanted to turn the game into a scrap. After the first quarter, it was mission accomplished.
Heeney was unlucky to be called for a push when marking in the goal square. I’ve seen plenty worse let go.
Dane Rampe showed the best understanding of the deliberate behind rule. He had no hesitation knocking it through under pressure when a lot of other defenders would’ve second-guessed themselves and lost it.
Loved Tim Kelly employing the fend off and delivering to Tom Hawkins.
Kelly followed it up later with a perfect front and centre read off the pack for a goal from the goal square. Perfect timing.
Great tackle from Hayward on Danger. Absolutely dumped him.
There was a bit of confusion around the Heeney-heel, Hayward-kick on the line that resulted in a goal. I’m still not convinced it should’ve been a goal.
Kolodjashnij’s hit on Heeney off the ball was a no call? No eyes for the ball, a fair distance off the ball, and it impeded his run at the contest. Would love to hear that one explained.
Mark of the day is either Hawkins’ one out power mark in front of Rampe, or Parker’s climb and clunk. Depends what floats your boat, I guess.
Five marks inside 50 for Hawkins. 2 goal return. Not good enough.
Shepherding lessons for Heath Grundy coming up this week. The way he neglected to shepherd in the goal square almost caused a turnover and a goal.
Gregson kicking his final quarter goal was due to the Swan defenders stopping. It looked as though it was going through but the Cats ran toward it in numbers. It stayed in and Gregson had a heap of time to snap it.
Really think Tom Stewart is coming along nicely. Another impressive outing today, and loves to run in a straight line at the ball.
Great quick thinking by Bronke to throw it on the boot and score the goal quickly after some quality work from Papley and Cunningham to keep the ball in on the boundary line.
Heeney’s centering ball to Florent was a ripper in the last quarter. Solid team work.
Seemed as though there was a tackle applied every time Danger got the ball after half time. The Swans did an amazing job of pressuring him every time he went near it.