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Heeney praises grit

Zachary Gates  May 15, 2018 9:03 AM

Heeney post match- Rd 8, 2018 SwansTV catches up with Isaac Heeney after tonights win over the Hawks.
Isaac Heeney looks to get the handball away on Friday night against Hawthorn.

Isaac Heeney looks to get the handball away on Friday night against Hawthorn.

Sydney Swans midfielder Isaac Heeney has praised the side’s fight in “a fierce contest” with Hawthorn at the MCG on Friday.

The Swans clinched a come-from-behind eight-point victory over the Hawks in the Round 8 opener.

The intense rivals went toe-to-toe in sodden conditions and the lead shifted continually throughout the night.

The Hawks led by 11 points at three-quarter time but the Swans would remain in striking distance and snatch victory at the death through Ben Ronke’s seventh goal of the game.

Heeney said the Swans gritted their teeth in testing circumstances.

“I feel like we started well and it was a pretty tight tussle most of the way through and to get the win is unbelievable,” Heeney said post-match.

“The wind was pretty strong and there were a few kicks out of bounds.

“It was a matter of the layers of pressure coming through. Our tackle percentage was up there and now it’s a matter of bringing that into the Fremantle game.

“We bring a lot of confidence out of this and we’ve got to get a good win back at home to know we’re back in this.”

Ben Ronke became the youngest Swan since Silvio Foschini in Round 4, 1982 to kick seven goals in a game.

The 20-year-old also became the youngest player competition-wide to do so since GWS star Jeremy Cameron in 2013 and the first player of any age since former Collingwood forward Travis Cloke in 2015.

Ronke and teammate Lance Franklin are now also the only two Swans to have kicked seven goals in a game since coach John Longmire took control in 2011.

He and Barry Hall are now the only two Swans to have kicked four first-term majors this century, while Ronke became the only player in VFL-AFL history to finish with seven goals and 10 tackles.

The St Bernard’s junior ran amok with his trademark blistering speed, ravenous crumbing and immense defensive pressure and was on song from the get-go in running in a goal at the four-minute mark of the opening term.

Heeney was in awe of the performance.

“He stood up massively for us and clunked a few and I think he had 10 tackles as well, which is probably valued even more than goals at times. So it was a huge effort from him," he said.

“He’s lightning and when he gets his clean hands going he’s pretty hard to stop.

“As you can see he can produce a pretty special performance.”

Defender Jake Lloyd was another of the Swans’ best in his 100th AFL game.

The Horsham junior hit the record books himself on Friday in becoming the quickest player in South Melbourne-Sydney history to reach triple figures.

He collected six rebound 50s and a game-high 36 possessions and impacted in defence and the midfield.

The 24-year-old forms part of a rock-solid defence alongside battle-hardened cogs Heath Grundy, Dane Rampe, Nick Smith and Jarrad McVeigh and fellow young gun Callum Mills.

“He’s incredible whether he’s on the wing or down back,” Heeney said.

“He’s super clean, his disposals are extremely good and he is critical to our backline.”

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