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NEAFL: Further heartbreak

Luke McManus  September 10, 2017 2:10 PM

Sam Murray is tackled by his Brisbane opponent in Saturday night's Grand Final at the SCG.

Sam Murray is tackled by his Brisbane opponent in Saturday night's Grand Final at the SCG.

The NEAFL Swans have again fallen at the final hurdle, going down to the Brisbane Lions in a thrilling decider at the SCG on Saturday night.

Trailing by 20 points at three-quarter-time, the Sydney Swans threw everything at the opposition in the final term only to fall agonisingly short, 10.22 (82) to 12.13 (85) in front of a sizeable crowd of loyal fans leftover from the preceding AFL Elimination Final.

It was the Sydney Swans' fourth Grand Final defeat in five seasons, all of which have been decided by less than nine points.

NEAFL coach Rhyce Shaw will lament his side's inaccuracy in the review, the Swans had eight scoring shots to four in the opening quarter to take only a slender lead into quarter-time.

It was goal-for-goal in the second term but Brisbane was full of run, catching Sydney on the back foot with its run and spread through the corridor.

Claye Beams, Jarrad Jansen and Andrew Ireland Medallist as best-on-ground Ben Keays proving a handful for the usual clinical Sydney Swans' midfield.

It was much of the same after half-time as the Lions dominated most of the play, banging on five goals to two to take a handy buffer into the fourth and deciding term.

Shaw rallied his troops in the final huddle with a stirring speech and his side responded, kicking three goals to one in a tense final stanza through Jordan Dawson, Ben Ronke and Colin O'Riordan.

But just as they had all evening, through the use of some quick-fire handballs and outside run, the Lions carried the ball forward in the dying stages with only one point separating the two teams before finding Beams all on his own inside the arc.

Beams missed the set-shot, but in doing so ate away crucial seconds to make it a two-point ball game and force the Swans to make a do-or-die dash up the field in one final effort.

Sam Murray did just that, using his pace and dare to get around an opponent on the Brewongle Stand flank before linking up with Michael Talia who let fly with a booming kick to centre-half forward.

But Brisbane defender Matthew Eagles stood in the way to take his game-high 11th and final mark of the night, the final siren sounding seconds after.

First-years Will Hayward (14 disposals, seven tackles) and Ollie Florent (17 disposals, eight tackles) battled hard all night, while Jordan Dawson (28 disposals, four goals), Jordan Foote (27 disposals) and Dan Robinson (27 disposals) were also solid.

BRISBANE 2.2 6.7 11.9 12.13 (85)
SYDNEY 2.6 5.10 7.13 10.22 (82)

GOALS – Brisbane: B Grewar 3, J Allison 2, C Ballenden 2, B Keays 2, C Beams, L O’Sullivan, C Lyons. Sydney: J Dawson 4, T Pink 2, S Wicks, C O’Riordan, S Edwards, B Ronke.
BEST – Brisbane: B Keays, M Eagles, M Hinge, J Allison, B Grewar, J Jansen. Sydney: J Foote, W Hayward, T Pink, O Florent, J Dawson.