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Swans among most watched

Matt Thompson  December 4, 2017 10:39 AM

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Lance Franklin celebrates a goal against Carlton at the SCG.

The Sydney Swans have emerged as one of the AFL’s most watched teams on television.

The AFL's place as Australia's most valuable television product has been solidified with another year of stellar ratings. 

Richmond's win over Adelaide scored 3.562 million viewers according to official television figures.

In the five major metro markets, the game eclipsed other major sporting events including the Australian Open tennis men's singles final and the rugby league State of Origin – with 2.723 million viewers making it the most watched sporting event of the year across the mainland capitals. 

The Tigers' premiership also out-rated other major TV events including auction night on renovation show The Block, the climax of Australian Ninja Warrior and the announcement of cooking contest champions on My Kitchen Rules. 

Overall, the finals series was a major drawcard, with seven of the nine matches making up the most watched games of the season.

The Swans featured in five of the top 10 highest rating home and away matches, proving the biggest city in the nation has a healthy appetite for footy, and fans elsewhere clearly like to watch spearhead Lance Franklin and his teammates in action.

The traditional Anzac Day clash between Essendon and Collingwood was the highest rating home and away game with 1.587 million viewers. 

If ever there was any doubt about the code's marquee timeslot, there isn't now. Friday night football dominates the top 10 list, with nine entries apart from Anzac Day. 

And no more is at least one Victorian opponent critical to securing massive TV ratings, with the blockbuster Adelaide-Sydney encounter in round 22 coming in as the second-most watched home and away game. The match had 343,000 viewers on free-to-air in Melbourne alone.

2017's most watched home and away games  

1 – Round five – Essendon vs Collingwood – 1.587 million 
With the Bombers back to full strength, their traditional Anzac Day clash with the Magpies was guaranteed to get a big audience. Essendon won by 18 points as Joe Daniher booted three goals and claimed the Anzac Medal.  

2 – Round 22 – Adelaide v Sydney – 1.393 million
As the Swans continued their remarkable resurgence, they clinched a three-point win over the Crows on the road at Adelaide Oval. The win propelled the Swans into the top four after their shocking start to the year, and had some tipping this as a possible preview to the Grand Final.

3 – Round 11 – Geelong v Adelaide – 1.251 million 
The Patrick Dangerfield factor always contributes to modern meetings between these two teams. He racked up 31 touches and kicked three goals as the Cats beat the Crows by 22 points in Geelong. 

4 – Round six – Greater Western Sydney v Western Bulldogs – 1.246 million 
Preliminary final revenge was on the minds of the Giants as they faced the Bulldogs in the nation's capital. As the temperature plummeted to five degrees, hundreds of thousands of fans watched from the comfort of their lounge rooms as GWS came from behind to score a two-point victory. 

5 – Round 19 – Hawthorn v Sydney – 1.240 million 
Fierce, spiteful, thrilling – just some of the adjectives used to describe this match between these modern rivals. A six-point victory kept the Hawks' finals hopes alive for another week and put a halt on the Swans' quest for a top-four finish.  

6 – Round nine – Geelong v Western Bulldogs – 1.239 million 
Both teams went into this encounter at a critical juncture. For the winner, the path to September was clear and for the loser things would veer off course. Thus, the storyline was gripping, and lured in the viewers as the Cats withstood a second-half fightback to beat the Dogs by 23 points. 

7 – Round three – Sydney v Collingwood – 1.239 million 
Both teams were winless going into this one, and with speculation about Nathan Buckley's future already gaining momentum, there was a huge build-up to the SCG encounter. An amazing finish saw a clutch goal from new Pie Will Hoskin-Elliott and then second-gamer Swan Nic Newman put the home side within a point, leading to a breathtaking final two minutes and 49 seconds, where the Pies would hold on.   

8 – Round 10 – Sydney v Hawthorn – 1.197 million 
Featuring in the top 10 for the second time, this was actually the first of two meetings between the Hawks and Swans this season, and the margin was the same. The Hawks won by six points thanks to late goals from Shaun Burgoyne and captain Jarryd Roughead.

9 – Round 14 – Sydney v Essendon – 1.194 million 
Propelling the Swans into the top eight for the first time in 2017, they scored the last 20 points of the game in the space of eight minutes to win by just a point. Essendon fans were on the edge of their seats as the game slipped from their hands when Gary Rohan kicked the winning goal after the siren. 

10 – Round 23 – Hawthorn v Western Bulldogs – 1.187 million 
It was a night when the result really didn't matter, as the Hawks said farewell to Luke Hodge and the Bulldogs honoured Robert Murphy and Matthew Boyd (little did Hawks fans know Hodge still had two seasons left in