The Sydney Swans punished the Geelong Cats 97-60 in front of a full MCG on Friday night to line-up their third grand final appearance in five years.
While the cool heads of Josh Kennedy and Kieran Jack allowed the Swans to break from the Cats’ forward half with ease, Lance “Buddy” Franklin, confronted by Tom Lonergan, used his hulking frame to stamp authority on the game.
The Swans had raced to a five-goal, 32-point lead – with both Luke Parker and Kurt Tippett kicking two – before the Cats got a point on the board. It looked like a bloodbath was on the cards. The Cats were well and truly rattled: captain Joel Selwood uncharacteristically missed a set shot from 20 metres out and the abnormal behaviour didn’t stop there for the blue and white hoops.
By quarter time the Swans led by seven goals. Their willingness to run both ways set them apart from Geelong, who were making simple errors with the footy.
Jimmy Bartel kicked one of the goals of the year for Geelong just before the half-time break – cutting the margin back to 49 points.
The Cats fought back in the third quarter, scoring five goals to the Swans’ three to narrow the gap to 36 points, but it never looked like they could land a winning blow.
Despite the rout some of the Geelong team could hold their heads high. Youngster Josh Cowan made mistakes but put in plenty of effort, while the red-hot Brownlow favourite Patrick Dangerfield never gave up and contributed one of the third term goals. Selwood broke an all-time AFL finals record winning 26 contested possessions. Add to that 38 disposals plus clearances and tackles: sadly for Geelong there was only one of him on the field.
With the Swans’ massive win sweeping them into next week’s Grand Final, their only immediate worry will be possible knee injuries to key players defender Aliir Aliir and midfielder Luke Parker. – Paul Robinson
Photo of the Sydney Swans singing their team song from the Sydney Swans’ Twitter feed.