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NEAFL: Swans outlast Giants

Luke McManus  July 17, 2017 4:10 PM

NEAFL Highlights: Round 16, 2017 Watch some of the highlights from our Round 16 win over the Giants.
Kurt Tippett walks from the ground following Saturday night's win. Photo: Sydney Morning Herald

Kurt Tippett walks from the ground following Saturday night's win. Photo: Sydney Morning Herald

The NEAFL Swans outlasted a gallant GWS outfit on Saturday night to record an 13th consecutive win and tighten its grip on the competition, but triumph didn't come without its troubles as the victors played out most of the second half with no ruckman.

Kurt Tippett, in his first game back from injury, failed to play out the game at Spotless Stadium after pulling up sore.

Due to Callum Sinclair's promotion to senior emergency ahead of Sydney Derby XIII, Tippett's injury meant coach Rhyce Shaw was left without a genuine ruckman in what was a telling second half.

Tippett was on Monday cleared of any serious damage but his absence, at the time, left a sizeable hole in the side.

It left the undersized Shaun Edwards, Jordan Dawson and Harry Marsh to contest the centre bounces which could have spelt trouble against the league's leading ruckman in GWS' Dawson Simpson.

But it didn't.

Unsurprisingly Simpson won the hit-outs (69-19) but the NEAFL Swans got creative, using the opposing big man's dominance to their own advantage.

While Toby Pink did ruck in patches, he and fellow tall Aliir Aliir were left in the forward line which allowed Shaw the luxury of injecting a fourth midfielder at the centre bounce and have a 4-v-3 contest at the fall of the ball. They roved and intercepted Simpson's taps to essentially square the all-important clearance count (35-31).

They then relied on their ball movement around the ground, composure in defence and pressure inside 50 to help get the job done.

Leading by only 16 points at half-time, the NEAFL Swans booted nine goals to three to run over the top of the home side and keep their winning run intact.

Shaw said his side took time in adjusting to Tippett's loss but eventually found their groove to grind out an important win against a spirited opposition.

"We probably didn't play our best footy, I think all the boys would admit to that ...but we were able to change the momentum, got through it and found a way," he said.

"It's a lesson learned. When you're a little bit off, anyone can get near you and you can be exposed.

"To the Giants' credit they played some really good footy, some of their young kinds were exceptional. Their pressure, spread and hard work really showed us up in the first half.

"But our boys, slowly, got into the rhythm of the game and turned things around."

Jordan Dawson, in his first week back from a calf injury, looked he hadn't missed a beat on his way to tallying 31 disposals, 10 marks, eight tackles and four goals in the 16.16 (112) to 8.5 (53) victory, the NEAFL Swans' third-straight derby win.

Jordan Foote also looked a class above with his 28 disposals and a game-high 16 tackles.

"Foote was exceptional ... he couldn't have done much more," Shaw added of his ball-winner.

"He really stood up in the first half. He always brings it, puts in 110 per cent and tries his heart out every single week and did that again (on Saturday).

"He kept us in the game."

Brandon Jack (32 disposals) and Harry Marsh (31 disposals) were also lively while James Rose also finished with a 30+ disposal performance to add with his three goals, including one for the highlight reel where the explosive forward fended off his opponent with a 'don't argue' and curled a banana through from a tight angle.

The NEAFL Swans' next challenge is against NT Thunder on Saturday, a curtain-raiser to the AFL side's Round 18 clash with St Kilda.

SYDNEY 4.3 7.7 12.9 16.16 (112)
GIANTS 2.2 5.3 7.3 8.5 (53)

GOALS – Sydney: J Dawson 4 J Rose 2 A Aliir 2 W Hayward 2 J Deep S Fisher T Pink S Wicks H Marsh. Giants: L Tiziani 2 A Gillespie 2 Z Sproule 2 N Shipley W Setterfield.
BEST – Sydney: B Jack H Marsh J Rose J Maibaum J Dawson J Foote. Giants: M Flynn I Cumming W Setterfield N Shipley Z Sproule D Simpson.