Order restored as Swans take Giants down a peg
The Sun-Herald, April 8
When Sydney fans left the SCG last April after another bruising loss to the Giants, there must have been plenty struggling to see when their next win against the crosstown rival would come.
The Giants had just won their third derby on the trot, each more morale-sapping than the last, and the Swans had gone zip and five with an injury list stretching the health budget. Twelve months on and Sydney is again a red and white town – and for that they can thank Lance Franklin.
The Giants were finishing hard, having reduced a 33-point margin to just 10 with plenty of time left to run over the Swans. Franklin had been one of the most influential players on the park but had not scored. What a way to break the drought.
Gathering the ball in the middle, Franklin fended off a would-be tackler then wheeled onto his left boot to goal from 60.
Five minutes later he killed off the Giants with his second.
Swans toting a variety of guns
The Daily Telegraph, April 8
SYDNEY won the derby and also found a premiership-winning formula that doesn’t involve Lance Franklin kicking goals in the process.
The Swans beat Greater Western Sydney by 16 points at the SCG last night, and while Franklin saw off a late Giants surge with two last-quarter goals, the heavy lifting had already been done by a more potent and varied attack.
The Swans had five multiple goalkickers, with Callum Sinclair leading the way with three and Sam Reid, Gary Rohan, Tom Papley, and Will Hayward all with two.
The return of Reid saw Coleman medallist Franklin playing further up the ground, and Sinclair and Reid providing the marking targets.
It made the Swans’ forward line look much more multi-dimensional and dangerous.
Franklin had been contained by Giants co-captain Phil Davis but still had a significant influence on the match with 22 disposals, nine contested possessions and nine inside 50s.
“We need to make sure we have a spread (of goal-kickers) going forward,” Swans coach John Longmire said.
“Lance still had nine inside 50s so it’s not always about him hitting the scoreboard. When he is up the ground he provides opportunities to others as well.”
Sydney Swans wait on scans for key duo after beating Giants
The Australian, April 9
Sydney will know today whether their 16-point win over the Giants at the SCG on Saturday night has come at a high cost.
Forward Sam Reid (quadriceps) and key-defender Lewis Melican (hamstring) finished the game on the bench wrapped in ice, with scans scheduled for today to determine the extent of their problems.
Reid, who was playing his first game of the season after overcoming hamstring soreness, demonstrated his value with two goals before being hurt late in the match. The beauty of having a fit Reid available was clearly on show against GWS.
With him back in the team and playing much of the game as a deep forward, matchwinner Buddy Franklin was extraordinary, playing well away from goal for most of the night.
The Swans play the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night and general manager of football operations Tom Harley told The Australian yesterday he was confident livewire midfielder Zac Jones would be back after missing the past two rounds with a calf problem.
“He’s a test this week, but we’d be surprised if he doesn’t play,” Harley said.
“At this stage with Reid and Melican, we can’t rule anything in or out until they are scanned, but Aliir Aliir got through his first game on Saturday since the JLT series when he hurt his ankle. So we’ll be looking at all our options.”
The deal seemed preposterous, but the Swans are getting value for money from Buddy Franklin
ABC, April 9
With little more than five minutes to play at the SCG on Saturday night, the Sydney Swans cling to a 10-point lead over the Greater Western Sydney Giants in a tense, fiercely contested game.
It is the type of taut encounter needed to add credibility to the so-called Battle of the Bridge. A meeting that was, in its initial versions, a rivalry only in the PowerPoint presentations of the AFL's enthusiastic marketing executives.
From a scrimmage in the middle of the ground, Lance Franklin gets on the end of a handball. Instinctively, he dismisses a hapless Giants' opponent with his big right paw and wields onto his left foot.
The turning circle is so familiar it has a nickname — Buddy's Arc. As Franklin gathers momentum and swallows up the ground there is no chance anyone will impede his stampede. The result seems preordained, a thumping 65m kick that lands precisely between the goal posts.
The Swans have the game won. The one-sided crowd is ecstatic. Later coach John Longmire will be at pains to share the praise and deflect attention from Franklin's starring role. But as they head for the exits, the fans will talk about just one thing. That goal!
Best of mates on different sides of Sydney rivalry
SMH, April 6
Ollie Florent and Tim Taranto are used to pushing each other. When they were schoolboys aspiring to play league football they would head to the park for running and skills sessions then hit the gym.
Florent would win over sprint distances but Taranto had his measure for endurance. As for the all-important bench press: "Definitely me," Taranto joked.
The aim, however, was not to see who could run fastest for longest or lift the heaviest weights. "We wanted to play in the AFL," Florent said.
The winning did not matter then but it will on Saturday night when the best of mates run on to the SCG – Florent in the red and the white of the Swans and Taranto in the Giants' orange and charcoal. It will be the first time they have played each other in a match for premiership points.
"It's a matter of not getting caught holding the ball," Florent laughed. "The arrogance and stick that will come my way."
Giants get nod in heavyweight battle
The Daily Telegraph, April 7
JONATHAN Brown knows a thing or two about footy and winning premierships.
He was a key player in Brisbane Lions’ 2001-03 ‘three-peat’ in a stellar 256-game career.
Now he’s one of the game’s most sought-after voices and part of the On the Couch team on Fox Footy.
For tonight’s 14th Sydney derby, he’s running the slide rule over the Swans and Giants, teams he views as premiership contenders.
SWANS’ FLAG CHANCES
Like a lot of teams, the Swans are reliant on their best players. Their top four or five A-grade players are Lance Franklin, Josh Kennedy, Luke Parker, Daniel Hannebery and Dane Rampe. Then there is a bit of a gap from that top echelon.
It showed on Sunday against Port Adelaide who have a lot more Agraders than the Swans and the next level as well. It was evident when Port got their chance in the third quarter.
Unless all their best players are up and going, I can’t see the Swans holding the cup up at the end of the year.
But Sydney are a top-four team and, if you can get there, you can win it.