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GIANTS Go Down Fighting in Derby XIII

Adam Curley, AFL Media  July 15, 2017 10:59 PM

R17 v Swans: Match Highlights All the highlights from the round 17 clash with the Swans at Spotless Stadium.
We won the contested ball, we won the clearances, and we won the inside 50s, so the effort and intensity was a lot better, but clearly they're the form side of the competition.

The Swans are in striking distance of a remarkable return to the top four after outlasting the GIANTS by 13 points in a thrilling crosstown derby on Saturday night. 

In front of a Spotless Stadium record crowd of 21,924 fans, the Swans led at every change and withstood plenty of challenges from the GIANTS, with star forward Lance Franklin's four goals proving the difference in an extremely close contest.

Franklin had another absorbing duel with GIANTS co-captain Phil Davis, but gradually wielded more influence as the game wore on.

Swans coach John Longmire said while Franklin's scoreboard pressure was significant, his defensive work was also first rate.

"He kicked some important goals, there's no doubt about that," Longmire said.

"But some of his contests tonight, in an outnumbered situation, like bringing the ball to ground (were just as good). 

"He was outnumbered in the air, flew at it really hard and brought the ball to ground. He's just a massive competitor and you saw that shine through as the game wore on."

Skipper Josh Kennedy led his team with 28 hard-working possessions, with fellow experienced midfielders Kieren Jack, Luke Parker and Dan Hannebery, and the speedy Zak Jones all prominent.

Small forward Tom Papley kicked three goals for the winners, two of them in the last term, to be a perfect foil for Franklin, with Gary Rohan and Sam Reid well held. 

Gun onballers Josh Kelly and Dylan Shiel were two of the GIANTS’ prime movers, along with co-captain Callan ward and Tom Scully, while power forward Jonathon Patton worked hard to finish with two goals and seven marks, from his 18 touches.

GIANTS coach Leon Cameron said he was pleased with his side's effort, but they couldn't take advantage of their opportunities when it mattered most.

"They've got a great defence and they make you pay if you make the wrong decision going forward," he said. 

"We won the contested ball, we won the clearances, and we won the inside 50s, so the effort and intensity was a lot better, but clearly they're the form side of the competition.

"They force you into making some bad decisions and we just didn't look dangerous enough when the ball hit the ground (inside 50), and they make some good decisions to rebound and steady the ship. 

"When they had their moments they made sure they hurt us."

The home side suffered a blow pre-game when star forward Jeremy Cameron was ruled out with hamstring tightness, with veteran Tendai Mzungu his replacement.

The GIANTS dominated the opening term in every aspect but despite winning the inside 50 count (18-10) and the clearances (13-6) easily, they failed to capitalise and Sydney booted four goals to two to lead by 12 points at the first change. 

To make matters worse, Matt de Boer left the game before quarter time after copping an accidental elbow from Nic Newman in a tackle, which left him bleeding from the right ear.

Toby Greene was electric with nine touches and two goals to be the home side's only winner inside 50 early on, opposed to fellow 2016 All Australian Dane Rampe, with Zac Williams also returning well with nine possessions of his own.

Phil Davis was on top of Lance Franklin until the superstar Swan got going with two set shot goals from beyond the 50 metre arc, the second of which gave his side a game-high 23-point advantage 24 minutes into the second quarter, but some class on the run from Tom Scully and then Josh Kelly cut the deficit to 11 points at half time.

The tight contest continued in the third quarter with the sides going goal for goal, booting three goals apiece from 13 inside 50s each, as the Swans kept themselves in front by 13 points at the last change.

A brilliant snap from Steve Johnson just over a minute into the final quarter gave the GIANTS the momentum they needed, but two of Franklin's goals, his fourth the result of a dubious free kick directly in front of goal, helped the visitors hold on for their ninth win from their past 10 matches.

MEDICAL ROOM

GIANTS: The first term head knock left de Boer with stitches inside his ear and out of the game with concussion, and he'll need to be tested during the week.

Sydney: Gary Rohan looked to have damaged his right hamstring just before the three quarter-time siren but came back on after the break and played out the match, while Sam Reid struggled with a tight groin. 

NEXT UP

The GIANTS head to Melbourne to take on Richmond at the MCG on Sunday, while the Swans back up again next Saturday night with a home game against the Saints.

GIANTS: 2.4   5.6   8.8   12.11   (83)
SYDNEY: 4.4   7.5  10.9  14.12  (96)

GOALS

GIANTS: Greene 2, Patton 2, Kelly 2, Johnson 2, Mumford 2, Scully, Smith
Sydney: Franklin 4, Papley 2, Lloyd, Smith, Kennedy, Robinson, Parker, K.Jack, Hannebery, Jones 

BEST

GIANTS: Kelly, Ward, Shiel, Mumford, Greene, Whitfield
Sydney: Franklin, Jones, Parker, Kennedy, McVeigh, Hannebery 

INJURIES

GIANTS: Cameron (hamstring) replaced in selected side by Mzungu, de Boer (concussion)

Sydney: Nil 

Umpires: Dalgleish, Harris, Pannell

Official crowd: 21,924 at Spotless Stadium