Swans swamp Cats with early charge
Sydney launched a first-quarter blitz to emphatically brush aside Geelong by 37 points at the MCG. The minor premiers kicked seven goals to none in the opening term to set the tone and pressed the advantage home in the second quarter, at one stage pushing the margin out to 55 points.
Tom Papley, who has had a fantastic finals series, continued his great form with three goals while Gary Rohan, Kurt Tippett, Lance Franklin and Luke Parker all kicked two each. Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood were the two standout players on the ground, each with 39 disposals, but there was a big gap to their next best player and that was the story of the night. Sydney had more avenues to goal and more distribution from midfield. It was a true team performance; there were no standouts but no passengers either.
Geelong made a mini rally in Q3 when Harry Taylor went from defence to the forward line and kicked two in a row. But too much damage had already been done.
Sydney will be concerned about defender Aliir Aliir, who had his knee iced after injuring it just before quarter time. Luke Parker also limped from the field with a knee complaint in Q3.
The Swans are into their third grand final in five years, chasing their first title since 2012. Co-captain Jarrad McVeigh is a strong chance to return from injury for the decider as the team formerly known as South Melbourne goes for its sixth VFL/AFL premiership.
— Sydney Swans (@sydneyswans) September 23, 2016
Bulldogs’ fairytale run continues
Western Bulldogs won a thrilling preliminary final by six points against GWS at Spotless Stadium. It ends a 55-year grand final drought for the club, while the Dogs’ one and only premiership came 62 years ago in the 1954 season.
In complete contrast to the other prelim, this was a match for the ages and the result was in the balance until the final siren. In front of a ground-record crowd of 21,790, the contest was close from start to finish and the margin never went beyond 14 points.
An emotional Clay Smith, whose best friend passed away during the week, was a surprise hero with four first-half goals.
Joel Hamling did a superb defensive job on Jeremy Cameron and it was left for Jonathon Patton to pick up the slack. He kicked four goals and so did Tory Dickson at the other end of the field.
One of the plays of the day was late in Q3 when Caleb Daniel finished off a fabulous team goal for the Dogs. GWS took the ascendency when they kicked the first two goals of Q4. Rory Lobb, in particular, was outstanding, kicking three second-half goals.
The Bulldogs kicked the next three, including a superb goal by Marcus Bontempelli, assisted by a bursting run through the middle from Jason Johannisen.
When Patton kicked his fourth, and scores tied, a draw looked a real possibility. However Jack Macrae kicked a clutch set shot goal to secure the win.
The Giants lost star midfielder Callan Ward to concussion early but that disadvantage was balanced out with Jordan Roughead’s eye injury.
The Dogs have been the fairytale story of the finals series. Having finished seventh on the ladder, they have had to win three away finals as underdogs just to make the grand final.
— Western Bulldogs (@westernbulldogs) September 25, 2016