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NEAFL season review

Luke McManus  September 22, 2017 10:48 AM

Round 1
Rhyce Shaw’s men had a tough start to season 2017, playing a much-improved Brisbane at South Pine. After a tight opening half, the home side proved too strong and edged away to a 26-point win over last year’s grand finalist. Skipper Brandon Jack battled away (23 disposals) while James Rose and Jordan Dawson booted three goals each.

Brisbane 17.9 (111) def Sydney 12. 13 (85)
GOALS – Brisbane:
J. Schache 4, J. Freeman 3, C. Cox 2, M. Hammelmann 2, S. Copland 2, B. Grewar, O. McInerney, H. McCluggage, J. Berry. Sydney: J. Rose 3, J. Dawson 3, C. Sinclair 2, D. Cameron 2, W. Gowers, J. Foote.
BEST – Brisbane:
A. Smith, O. McInerney, C. Beams, J. Berry, M. Hinge, J. Schache. Sydney: B. Jack, J. Maibaum, J. Dawson, J. Rose, S. Edwards, C. O’Riordan.

Round 2
The NEAFL Swans bounced back in a best possible fashion against the Sharks, producing a huge second half (12 goals to one) to kick off what would be a run of 14 consecutive wins. Rookie Toby Pink was enormous up forward, kicking six goals, while Jack continued his outstanding start to the season with another best-on-ground display (34 disposals).

Sydney 20.9 (129) def Southport 3.9 (27)
GOALS – Sydney:
T Pink 6 J Rose 3 S Murray 2 H Cunningham 2 A Kinasch S Fisher S Barley C O’Riordan S Edwards J Stapleton T Leonardis. Southport: J Holland M Fowler D Mutu.
BEST – Sydney:
B Jack S Fisher H Cunningham T Pink L Melican J Rose. Southport: J Keras A Boston A McKenzie.

Round 3 - Bye

Round 4
It was hard-fought but the NEAFL Swans got the job done in the first of three cross-city clashes with GWS this season. After establishing a handy buffer early with five goals to two in the opening term, the home side then dried up the Giants’ scoring completely, keeping them goalless while edging further ahead to go on and record a 36-point win at the SCG. Sam Murray (21 disposals, one goal) provided a lot of dash across half-back while Nic Newman earned himself a senior recall after collecting 31 touches and seven tackles.

Sydney 13.13 (91) def Giants 8.7 (55)
GOALS –
Sydney: J Rose 2, J Dawson 2, T Pink 2, S Murray, S Fisher, S Edwards, L Robertson, D Cameron. GIANTS: Z Sproule 2, D Lloyd 2, M Flynn, L Tiziani, D Addison, J Powell.
BEST – Sydney:
S Murray, M Talia, J Laidler, B Jack, J Dawson. GIANTS: H Perryman, T Mohr, M De Boer, D Lloyd, J Finlayson.

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Round 5
The NEAFL Swans re-wrote the record books by registering their first win in the Northern Territory. In a tight tussle at the usually impenetrable TIO Stadium, the NEAFL Swans overcame a narrow margin early in the fourth quarter to overpower the home side with five goals to one in the final 20 minutes of the match. The visitors finished with 11 individual goal-kickers, topped by QBE Sydney Swans Academy top-up Jack Mapleson (three goals), while Ollie Florent starred with 28 touches, 10 marks and a goal to force the senior selectors to take notice.

Sydney 16.12 (108) def NT Thunder 13.6 (84)
GOALS – Sydney:
 J Mapelson 3, T Pink 2, S Harlen 2, T Leonardis 2, C O’Riordan, M Lower, O Florent, W Gowers, H Carr, J Dawson, D Cameron. NT Thunder: A Sambono 4, S Rioli 2, D Ewing 2, N Yarran 2, H Drogemuller, K Emery.
BEST – Sydney: 
D Towers, T Pink, O Florent, A Aliir, H MacDonald. NT Thunder: C Ilett, N Vea Vea, A Sambono, S Smith, D Weetra, S Rioli.

Round 6

The disappointment of the opening round loss to Brisbane was soon dispelled with a stronger performance in the Round 6 rematch. Newman controlled the defensive half while there were contributors all over the ground as the home side piled on 11 goals to five in a dominant second half to record a fifth consecutive win.

Sydney 15.12 (102) def Brisbane 10.5 (65)
GOALS – Sydney:
S Murray 2, J Dawson 2, S Fisher 2, J Foote, W Gowers, D Cameron, J Mapleson, B Jack, H MacDonald, N Newman, T Leonardis, C O’Riordan. Brisbane: B Grewar 2, R Bastinac 2, J Clayton, J Jansen, J Walker, T Bell, O McInerney, R William.
BEST – Sydney:
N Newman, S Murray, J Mapleson, D Cameron, J Maibaum, J Foote. Brisbane: C Cox, R Bewick, L Dawson, M Hammelmann, J Walker, R Bastinac.

Round 7
Experienced duo Kurt Tippett and Gary Rohan joined the trip to Canberra where Shaw’s men flexed their muscles and came away with a huge win at UNSW Canberra Oval. The high-profile recruits kicked four each while Jordan Dawson had his own football out there (40 disposals, 15 clearances, two goals).

Sydney 25.15 (165) def Canberra 6.8 (44)
GOALS – Sydney:
 K Tippett 4, G Rohan 4, D Robinson 3, S Wicks 2, H Carr 2, J Rose 2, J Dawson 2, J Osborne, L Skrivanic, M Talia, S Murray, J Foote, B Jack. Canberra: J Bennett, M Hardie, J Turner, M Maguire, L Maples.
BEST – Sydney: 
J Dawson, K Tippett, A Aliir, J Laidler, B Jack, M Talia. Canberra: K Klemke, B Halse, J Harper, L Meline, M Hardie.

Round 8
The then top-of-the-table fixture certainly lived up to its billing. In soaking rain at Henson Park, the NEAFL Swans came out of the blocks against the then ladder-leaders, kicking five unanswered goals, before the Students fought back to be within three goals at the main break. But it was all one-way traffic in the second half, the Swans booting 10 goals to two in a runaway win. Ollie Florent was a class above (31 disposals, one goal) while Sam Fisher  (28 disposals, three goals) showed his strength in and around the contest.

Sydney 16.17 (113) def Sydney Uni 6.10 (46)
GOALS – Sydney:
S Fisher 3, J Rose 2, R Fox 2, D Cameron, O Florent, J Brown, B Jack, J Laidler, T Leonardis, A Aliir, L Maze, S Edwards. Sydney University: X Richards 3, T Barrett 2, Z O’Brien.
BEST – Sydney:
S Fisher, J Rose, R Fox, A Aliir, D Robinson, T Leonardis. Sydney University: X Richards, Z O’Brien, R Hebron, A Day, T Barrett, D Baron-Hay.

Round 9
Inaccuracy fortunately didn’t hinder the NEAFL Swans’ aim for a seventh-straight win when they met Gold Coast in Newcastle. Aliir Aliir found himself up forward, joining Academy top-up Sam Wicks in kicking a game-high three goals, while Michael Talia stood tall in defence. The NEAFL Swans' ball winners had a field day, with six players collecting 30+ disposals, including Harry Marsh, Jordan Dawson and Robbie Fox.

Sydney 16.24 (120) def Gold Coast 4.8 (32)
GOALS – Sydney: A Aliir 3, S Wicks 3, S Edwards 2, B Jack, J Dawson, C O’Riordan, W Gowers, T Pink, T Leonardis, J Rose, R Fox. Gold Coast: K Sheers, C Beaman, S Watson, D Macpherson.
BEST – Sydney: M Talia, J Foote, J Laidler, S Edwards, R Fox, S Barkley. Gold Coast: D Macpherson, D Currie, K Brooksby, T McKenzie, R Davis.

Round 10 - Bye

Round 11
The NEAFL Swans, boosted by the appearance of Rohan and Tippett, recorded one of their biggest wins against an undermanned GWS.  They kept their cross-town rivals scoreless in the opening half while banging on 10 goals themselves, the second half a similar story as the red and white ran away with a huge win at Henson Park. Dawson starred with four goals and 27 disposals while Jeremy Laidler (31 disposals) was a rock in defence.

Sydney 28.17 (185) def GWS 2.2 (14)
GOALS – Sydney: S Wicks 4, J Dawson 4 K Tippett 3 S Edwards 3 B Ronke 2 O Florent 2 G Rohan 2 B Jack J Laidler H Carr J Foote. Giants: D Johnston D Simpson.
BEST – Sydney: J Laidler O Florent J Dawson B Jack S Fisher K Tippett. Giants: T Mohr J Finlayson T Mzungu W Clark K Devlin

Round 12
The NEAFL Swans made light work of Aspley at South Pine in Round 12, with Ollie Florent continuing to press his case for senior selection. After back-to-back games in the reserves, he'd be recalled following his four goals and 26-disposal performance against the Hornets. Jordan Dawson was again in fine touch (35 disposals and four goals)

Sydney 22.22 (154) def Aspley 8.4 (52)
GOALS – Sydney: O Florent 4 J Dawson 3 B Jack 3 D Robinson 2 T Pink J Osborne A Aliir S Fisher B Ronke S Murray J Rose R Fox. Aspley: B Warren 3 N Jackson J Nelis B Nelis R Toye C French.
BEST – Sydney: N/A. Aspley: G Grose D Joseph R Toye E Barlow B Warren G Dickson

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Round 13
Former co-captain Jarrad McVeigh made his first appearances at NEAFL level when the Swans met Sydney Uni for the second time in 2017. Coming back from injury, McVeigh showed no signs of his troublesome calf issues to collect 17 touches and kick two goals in the curtain-raider to the AFL squad's epic clash with the Bombers

Sydney 15.16 (106) def Sydney Uni 9.10 (64)
GOALS – Sydney: B Ronke 2 J McVeigh 2 R Fox 2 J Dawson 2 J Foote T Leonardis B Jack B Stewart S Murray J Rose S Wicks. Sydney University: T Young 2 J Derickx 2 T Ayton J Brain M Manteit S Tagliabue J Hiscox.
BEST – Sydney: B Ronke J Foote S Murray B Jack J Dawson S Wicks. Sydney University: S Tagliabue T Young R Hebron M Rawlinson W Sierakowski

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Round 14
The NEAFL Swans' winning streak stretched to 10 after cruising to a big win over Canberra. Most of the attention was on Alex Johnson in what was his first competitive game of football for more than three and half seasons. He kicked a goal, much to the delight of teammates and fans who turned out to watch the premiership defender ease himself back into playing

Sydney 20.18 (138) def Canberra 7.5 (47)
GOALS – Sydney: J Rose 3 C Sinclair 3 B Ronke 2 B Stewart 2 A Aliir 2 S Edwards 2 J Laidler T Leonardis D Robinson J Foote S Fisher A Johnson. Canberra: R Pollock J Harper D Roberts A Bruce B Muir.
BEST – Sydney: C O’Riordan C Sinclair J Rose D Robinson J Foote H Marsh. Canberra: S Martyn B Halse B Fulford J Harper R Pollock A Smout

Round 15
The NEAFL Swans registered a fifth 100+ point win of the season when the met Gold Coast again, this time at the SCG, with Callum Sinclair enjoying a day out with his five goal and 20 disposals. James Rose also proved a handful up forward with four goals to go with his 28 disposals.

Sydney 21.10 (136) def Gold Coast 4.5 (29)
GOALS – Sydney: C Sinclair 5 J Rose 4 H Carr 4 B Jack 3 T Pink 3 S Fisher L Maze. Gold Coast: D Currie 2 T Bowie C Loersch.
BEST – Sydney: C Sinclair A Aliir J Laidler C O'Riordan J Rose H Marsh. Gold Coast: D Currie J Scrimshaw M Rischitelli J Heron T Bowie

Round 16
The NEAFL Swans set the tone for the AFL squad at Spotless Stadiumwith a hard-fought win over an injury-hit Giants outfit. Losing Kurt Tippett and Will Hayward early on, the visitors were challenged in the opening half before breaking the shackles and putting the foot down with an eight-goal-to-three seasond half. Jordan Dawson was enormous (four goals, 31 disposals, 10 marks and eight tackles).

Sydney 16.16 (112) def GWS 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

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Round 17
Goalless in the opening term, scoreless for the entire second half, NT Thunder had few answers for the NEAFL Swans at the SCG. Hayward and Tippett shrugged off any injury concerns from the previous week to boot 11 goals betwen them while Jordan Dawson once again dominated in the midfield (40 disposals, theee goals, 14 marks, eight tackles) to jump into the NEAFL's MVP contention.

Sydney 21.21 (147) def NT Thunder 4.4 (28)
GOALS – Sydney: W Hayward 6, K Tippett 5 J Rose 3 J Dawson 3 B Ronke T Pink H Marsh S Fisher T Leonardis. NT Thunder: D Ewing 3 J Shannahan.
BEST – Sydney: J Dawson J Foote H Marsh W Hayward K Tippett J Rose. NT Thunder: S Smith C Ilett J Shannahan M Rosier S Talbot D Weetra

Round 18 - Bye

Round 19
The NEAFL Swans' winning run came to an end, stopped in its tracks by a determined Brisbane at the Gabba. Six goals from the boot of James Rose wasn't enough to thwart the home side who were the beneficiaries of an outstanding five-goal-to-one opening term, a buffer the visitors failed to peg back. Harry Cunningham, in his first game back from an ankle injury, battled away for his 25 disposals while Dan Robinson (30 disposals) could also hold his head high.

Sydney 15.19 (109) def by Brisbane 19.14 (128)
GOALS – Brisbane: M Hammelmann 5 M Close 3 J Freeman 2 C Ballenden 2 A Smith 2 J Clayton C Walker R Harwood B Keays C Lyons. Sydney: J Rose 6 D Robinson 2 A Aliir B Jack B Ronke T Pink S Fisher J Foote J Dawson.
BEST – Brisbane: A Smith C Walker O McInerney M Close R Bewick R Harwood. Sydney: J Rose D Robinson J Dawson J Foote H Cunningham

Round 20
It didn't take long for the NEAFL Swans to get back on the winners' list. Coach Rhyce Shaw asked for a response to the previous week's loss and his side answered with a huge win over Redland. A seven-goal opening term set the tone as the home side ran rampant for the afternoon. Sam Fisher's development has been swift this season and his performance (four goals, 33 disposals, six tackles) against the Bombers proved that. Aliir Aliir also played well in the ruck and up forward (28 disposals, two goals).

Sydney 26.7 (173) def Redland 6.10 (46)
GOALS – Sydney: S Fisher 4 J Dawson 3 O Florent 2 J Hardman 2 A Aliir 2 T Pink 2 H Carr 2 J Rose 2 T Leonardis D Robinson B Ronke B Jack S Edwards H Cunningham S Wicks. Redland: A Christensen 2 C Cameron J Huddy P Yagmoor L Rogerson.
BEST – Sydney: A Aliir S Fisher D Robinson S Edwards J Dawson O Florent. Redland: A Williams B Bailey L Rogerson

Round 21
The NEAFL Swans sealed the minor premiership with another big win over Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium. Shaun Edwards and James Rose combined for eight goals, the latter also topping the disposal count with 32 touches. A 13-goal-to-six second half giving Shaw's men some momentum going into Saturday's rematch in the Preliminary Final at Blacktown International Sportspark.

Sydney 23.12 (150) def Gold Coast 13.5 (83)
GOALS – Sydney: S Edwards 4 J Rose 4 A Aliir 3 B Ronke 2 H Carr 2 S Fisher 2 O Florent M Talia T Leonardis H Cunningham J Foote T Pink. Gold Coast: B Scheer 2 R Davis 2 A Sexton 2 K Boakye W Brodie E Baru S Davidson J Bowes B Crossley B Scott
BEST – Sydney: J Rose B Jack T Leonardis A Aliir D Robinson S Fisher. Gold Coast: J Bowes W Brodie B Scheer R Davis M Rischitelli B Crossley

Preliminary Final
The Swans earned the right to contest for an elusive NEAFL premiership defeating Gold Coast by 68 points in the Preliminary Final. In what was a tale of two halves, the Swans inflicted enough damage (14 goals to two) in the first and second quarters at Blacktown International Sportspark to have the all-important result wrapped up by the major break. Eleven individual goal-kickers headlined the win with James Rose and Shaun Edwards combining for eight goals while providing strong targets in the absence of a genuine key forward. Dan Robinson (28 disposals, seven marks, one goal) was a class above, as was Harry Marsh (22 disposals, seven marks) and Brandon Jack (25 disposals).

Sydney 21.16 (142) def Gold Coast 11.8 (74)
GOALS – Sydney:
 J Rose 4 S Edwards 4 O Florent 2 S Fisher 2 J Dawson 2 H Cunningham 2 S Wicks B Ronke D Robinson T Pink M Talia. Gold Coast: B Crossley 3 T Bowie 2 D Macpherson 2 C Graham 2 B Scheer J Bowes. BEST – Sydney: D Robinson H Cunningham H Marsh S Naismith J Rose S Fisher. Gold Coast: M Rischitelli T Bowie M Hallahan B Foster J Heron

Grand Final
The NEAFL Swans again fell short at the final hurdle, going down to the Brisbane Lions in a thrilling decider at the SCG. Trailing by 20 points at three-quarter-time, the 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. 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.

Sydney 10.22 (82) def by Brisbane 12.13 (85)
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.