You might be able to hear it on the TV but you can definitely feel it here at the SCG: Swans fans are absolutely fuming.
They’ve got reason to be as well – for one, their team is playing average football, but two, the umpires certainly aren’t helping their cause.
The Hawks have had 14 free kicks to four, but it was some of the non-calls that would have been particularly frustrating for the Sydney faithful, especially in the early part of that second quarter when they had a fair bit of territory and possession but struggled to make it count.
John Longmire and his assistants need to get to work at half-time to figure out what’s gone wrong here, because a loss would be a bitter blow to their top-four hopes.
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They may be at opposite ends of the ladder but the old Swans-Hawks rivalry is back on at the SCG. Follow our live AFL ScoreCentre for all the scores, stats and results.
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Richmond’s Jack Graham spoke to Channel Seven after the game…
Q: Congratulations. A huge game. Huge crowd. You guys when you were challenged found a way to kick away and seven goals in 16 minutes. A: It was a four-quarter effort. We stuck to our process we knew we could run over them in the end. Credit to the boys. Bloody huge game.
Q: Jack, how do you compare that atmosphere tonight. Nothing really compares with the grand final, but how close does it come to grand final playing in front of a 55,000 audience in the arena. It’s superb arena to play footy on. A: It’s awesome arena. Especially for the occasion for Dreamtime. Last week there wasn’t many there in GWS. Tonight, the fans turned out. It was an awesome atmosphere. Great deck with the lights. It’s unreal.
Q: Jack, how hard is it to actually hear out there tonight. Number of times we could see the umpires yelling at players. They couldn’t hear them. Was it that loud out there tonight? A: It was really loud. Couple of boys couldn’t hear. Jack (Riewoldt) gave away a free kick. That’s probably Jack being Jack. Not too sure. It’s a bit harder from last year where you know there’s no-one at the games. You can hear everyone’s nicknames on the field, now you have to scream for the ball.
Q: It looks like you guys care for each other on and off the football field. We see it at training over the week. The way you go about the training schedules. Looks like you genuinely care for each other on and off the field. A: It’s a brotherhood here at Richmond. Especially this week being Dreamtime at the ’G with so many Indigenous boys. Such an important part to our group and bring so much energy. To get the win for them and everyone else, it’s a great game. What a win.
Q: Jack you are one of the best tacklers in the competition. Best tackler at Richmond. Would you be able to tackle Shai Bolton? A: No. I’ve tried at training many times. He’s one I can’t get. He’s pretty agile. He goes one way and then the other. I’ve given up on him.
Q: Jack, just before we let you go, Dreamtime, Sir Doug Nicholls round, I’ve been learning over the last 15 years so much about the Indigenous heritage and culture in this country. It must be the same for all you players. You come to a club and through weekends like last and this you learn a lot where you come from. A: Definitely. Myself, I don’t know a huge amount about it. Until leading into this week and prior to these weeks learning where Shane Edwards is from, Shai, Marlion and their heritage. It’s a special round. So much more to learn. It’s really improving the game. We talk about that connection. Getting to know your teammates better. That’s one part of it.
Q: Jack, just for the record you play in the west next Sunday against the West Coast Eagles. A: Big game. Big effort. Back here again. Get on the plane. It’s good. Especially if we’ll have crowds like this. Cheers to the WA government for letting us in. Bring on the Eagles next week.
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Richmond comes up against GWS after the Swans and Kangaroos win and the Lions thrash the Suns at Carrara.
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Richmond vs GWS
Lions roar in Q-Clash rout of Suns
Brisbane Lions have destroyed Queensland rivals Gold Coast to keep their top-four charge on track after a 73-point win over the Suns.
The Lions extended their winning run to five matches in a one-sided match at Carrara, charging to a 19.10 (124) to 7.9 (51) victory.
Big forward Daniel McStay kicked a career-best equalling four goals for the visitors, with Charlie Cameron picking up three majors.
McStay had a day out as the Suns’ defence went to water, claiming eight marks in a dominant tall forward display.
Lincoln McCarthy, playing his 50th match for the Lions, kicked two goals and took several big marks while Eric Hipwood, Joe Daniher and Zac Bailey also booted two majors in the rout.
While the forwards hit the scoreboard there were plenty of stars for the Lions across the park with captain Dayne Zorko (34 disposals, one goal, nine marks), ex-Sun Jarryd Lyons (38 disposals, nine clearances, nine tackles) and Hugh McCluggage (23 disposals, eight marks) bossing the midfield.
Lyons’ display was enough for him to be awarded the Marcus Ashcroft Medal as best on ground.
The game was blown apart in an eight goals-to-none third-quarter as the Lions kicked 14 unanswered between the Suns’ third and fourth goals of the match by which time Brisbane had opened up a 91-point lead.
Four late goals added some gloss to the scoreboard for the Suns but the truth was they were comprehensively outplayed.
Gold Coast missed the hard work of suspended Touk Miller but there was no excuse for the Suns’ lack of contest, especially in a dismal third quarter.
The defeat is the Suns’ fifth-straight loss to their local rivals and leaves them 13th on the ladder with just three wins from nine matches.
Brisbane didn’t leave Carrara unscathed however with milestone man Ryan Lester subbed out in the first quarter of his 150th AFL match with a hamstring injury while Darcy Gardiner’s night ended with a dislocated right shoulder late in the third term.
Defender Jack Bowes was also subbed out with a hamstring injury in the fourth quarter for the Suns, who next face a daunting trip to Geelong to play the Cats next Saturday.
The Lions are at home next Friday against defending premiers Richmond.
Kangaroos beat Hawks for first win of 2021
North Melbourne have broken through for their first win of the AFL season with a stirring comeback over fellow cellar dwellers Hawthorn in Launceston.
The last-placed Kangaroos came from 32 points down on Saturday afternoon to snap a losing streak stretching back to round nine last season.
Cameron Zurhaar was inspirational in the 13.9 (87) to 12.8 (80) victory, slotting four goals including crucial majors either side of three-quarter time.
Hawthorn’s Luke Breust set up a thrilling finish when he reduced the margin to six points with a running goal inside the final two minutes.
But the Kangaroos held on to give David Noble his maiden win as an AFL coach on his 54th birthday.
Jy Simpkin topped the possession count for the match with 33, while North Melbourne teammate Ben Cunnington was next best with 29.
After scoring the opening point of the match, it took until the beginning of the fourth quarter for North Melbourne to regain the lead.
The lead changed hands twice during the final term, with Tasmanian Tarryn Thomas notching a crucial major for the Kangaroos to open up an 11-point lead with seven minutes to play.
It was a remarkable turnaround after a red hot start by Hawthorn which was spearheaded by Chad Wingard, who kicked two majors from tight angles and had two goal assists in the opening quarter.
Hawthorn opened up a 33-7 point lead at quarter time and were ahead 54-32 at the main break.
The Kangaroos, who found themselves behind by 32 early in the second quarter, mounted a third-term surge, booting four goals to one.
They entered the final term just a point behind after a Zurhaar snap moments before the break.
Taylor Garner was another shining light for the Kangaroos, picking up three goals.
Swans too strong for Magpies at SCG
Sydney Swans have overcome a sluggish start to bank a 30-point AFL win over Collingwood at the SCG, where returning young gun Isaac Heeney kicked three goals.
Both sides struggled to find free space and move the ball freely, with a swirling breeze and lots of pressure ensuring the turnover-riddled game was not much of a spectacle.
Jordan De Goey helped the Magpies shoot out to an 18-point lead early in the first quarter, but the visitors failed to boot a single goal in the second or third terms.
The Swans worked their way into the scrappy contest, seized control in a dominant third quarter and eventually triumphed 10.12 (72) to 5.12 (42).
Lance Franklin was restricted to two goals as Magpies Brayden Maynard, Darcy Moore and Chris Mayne combined to ensure the four-time Coleman medallist was rarely a go-to option.
Heeney and small forward Tom Papley combined for five goals in the low-scoring tussle, while Franklin’s understudy Hayden McLean grabbed a game-high five contested marks.
Heeney, who missed the club’s tight loss to Melbourne at the MCG last weekend because of an ankle injury, also had 22 possessions and six marks in a productive comeback.
Sydney ruckman Tom Hickey finished with a game-high eight clearances, while Callum Mills, Justin McInerney and Jake Lloyd were also influential for the hosts.
Heeney’s third goal, coming in the 17th minute of the final quarter, proved the sealer as Sydney made it a 6-3 start to a season in which they were widely tipped to finish outside the top eight again.
In a match with limited fodder for the end-of-round highlight reel, Papley’s second goal stood out as due reward for a spectacular piece of hard work.
The 24-year-old took possession of an in-dispute ball on the half-back flank, danced past a would-be tackler, fended off Steele Sidebottom then had a bounce as he sprinted through the middle of the ground.
The Sherrin passed to Sam Wicks and McLean before returning to a hard-running Papley, who nailed his set shot after holding a mark in the forward line.
The Swans next face Fremantle, Carlton, St Kilda and Hawthorn as they seek to clamber into the top four, while Collingwood’s finals hopes are fading fast as they prepare to host Port Adelaide at the MCG.
Port Adelaide vs Western Bulldogs
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Rampe, who made his return from a broken finger in last week’s defeat to Melbourne, will be key in quelling the influence of De Goey and former teammate Darcy Cameron, who has emerged as a key option in attack for Collingwood and kicked three goals against North.
Rampe will make a good fist of it – metaphorically, if not literally. The 30-year-old can’t quite fully clench his left hand yet, after undergoing surgery to repair the index finger he broke against Richmond in round three, but expects that flexion to return gradually over the coming weeks.
Having shattered his other hand last year in an injury that ended his season early, any hopes of a hand modelling career post-football are long gone for the Swans co-captain, who opted to go under the knife after being told he was risking severe arthritis later in his life if he didn’t fix it.
“We tossed up returning a week or two earlier but it wasn’t worth it,” he said. “The other thing is making a fist and getting my flexion back – if I didn’t get surgery I could only get it out to 45 degrees. It still is stuck there, but I’ll get that flexion back eventually.”
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The Giants’ AFLW team plays out of Blacktown International Sportspark, but that is too far away from Sydney’s heartland to be a feasible option for the Swans, while the new Lakeside Oval at Moore Park – where Sydney’s men’s team trains – has no seating or any other amenities for spectators.
Finding players will be no such issue for the Swans. Female participation in NSW has grown 211 per cent since the AFL’s inception, while there are 299 girls currently enrolled in the Swans’ academy program.
Earlier this year, the Swans tweaked a line in their club song to remove a gendered reference to ‘loyal sons’, changing it to ‘loyal Swans’ to make it more inclusive towards women, effectively future-proofing it for an eventual AFLW team.
Meanwhile, Swans defender Jordan Dawson – who will play his 50th AFL game on Saturday against Collingwood – has indicated his desire to stay at the club despite reports claiming he is of interest to rival clubs.
Dawson is out of contract at the end of the year and, according to AFL Media, is being monitored by several rival clubs, including Adelaide. The 24-year-old is originally from Robe, in South Australia’s south-east, but indicated he did not feel any pull towards returning to his home state.
“Not at this stage, no,” Dawson said. “I love it here, I love the boys. For me it’s just playing good footy and leaving that up to my manager and the club.”
From punter to player: Giants ruckman to debut
Greater Western Sydney are set to field another debutant in Saturday night’s clash with Richmond whose emergence represents a significant milestone for the club’s progression on and off the field.
Ruckman Kieren Briggs grew up supporting the Giants and was in the club’s second intake of academy players before being drafted with pick 34 at the 2018 draft.
The 21-year-old is set to become just the second western Sydney product to play for the Giants, after Nick Shipley, but the first who has played Aussie rules all the way through as a junior.
“It was definitely hard to support [the Giants] early days, I won’t lie about that,” Briggs said.
“There was only three or four wins in the first three years. Those wins were very special to remember. As we progressed and grew as a club, it was really cool to be there and watch that happen, and then to end up on the list was awesome. Getting to go out and play this weekend, it’s a great way to hopefully inspire other kids from western Sydney as well.
“There’s definitely plenty of talent around, and there definitely will be kids in the coming years coming out of western Sydney.”
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GOALS G.Coast: King 3, Rankine, Corbett, Holman, Weller St Kilda: Steele 2, Billings, King
DISPOSALS G.Coast: Miller 27, Swallow 24, Ellis 18 St Kilda: Jones 24, Billings 20, Crouch 20, Steele 19, Wilkie 19, Hill 18
The Saints have had more disposals 296-292, clearances 27-24, tackles 45-44, contested possessions 102-93, free kicks 16-11 and hitouts 42-10, yet find themselves down by 15 points.
It’s been an extremely frustrtaing and wasteful afternoon for the Saints who are playing a very safe brand of footy. The need to take the game on more in the final term.
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“He reaffirmed that my natural instinct was right so stick to that. Then it’s about getting more separation or leading patterns you can hold a bit longer or go a bit earlier, reading the cues of your teammates.”
Franklin is not the only member of football royalty that McLean has called a mentor, having also worked with former Hawthorn great Dermott Brereton as a teenager. Brereton’s son played in the same junior teams as McLean at Beaumaris, in bayside Melbourne.
McLean began as an understudy but after kicking four goals in the win against Geelong, and with Sam Reid injured, he will not be the man to make way for Franklin should the veteran be cleared to return, as he was for rounds two and four.
“You want to keep playing but you have to understand he’s one of the greatest to play the game,” McLean said. “To go out and play with him I’m yet to do that, I think that’d be an experience of a lifetime.
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Jeremy Cameron kicked three goals for Geelong in his second game for the club but controversially, he was not awarded a mark in the dying seconds despite the kick he brought in, right next to the point post, appearing to travel past the required 15 metres. It would have likely given him an after-the-siren kick to win the game but it sounded seconds later, and the former GWS Giants star was stunned that the umpires didn’t credit him the mark.
Coach Chris Scott said it was obvious the kick went far enough, but refused to pin the loss on that incident on a night when his team were their own worst enemies.
“If Cameron had have had that shot, he’s the best person to have – the left-footer – from that spot, he rarely misses from there. [But] it’s unfair to cherry-pick the last couple of minutes without looking at the overall game,” he said. “The thing that will be difficult to swallow over the next couple of days is the fact we had control of the game, we were outplaying them and we couldn’t put the nail in the coffin.”
For the Swans, the 14.6 (90) to 12.16 (88) result improves their record to 5-2 and proves again that they can mix it with the AFL’s very best, having now beaten both of last year’s grand final sides.
There were contributors all over the park, with Hayden McLean – who this season has played the unfashionable role of Franklin’s understudy, only coming into the side when Buddy is either injured or rested – enjoying a breakout performance with four goals and two memorable contested marks in the second half.
Ruckman Tom Hickey, who returned from what medicos said was a two-month knee injury after just one week, had 20 possessions (16 contested), 22 hitouts and 10 clearances to finish best afield.
Longmire attributed Hickey’s incredible recovery timeframe to an older injury to his posterior ligament, saying doctors had explained to him that his knee was essentially used to operating without it.
“He completely tore it two weeks ago. And so we think that’s maybe why he’s been able to recover so much,” a bemused Longmire said.
“There was a bit of sloppiness in there already, so it was a complete tear. Because that’s the only way you can make sense [of it]. He actually responded this week and trained all week, and when he trained all week.
“When we sat down on Thursday we said, ‘he’s trained, he’s done centre bounces, what more do we want him to do? Play him.’ I’ve seen Adam Goodes do it a couple of times with posteriors, so it has happened. Goodesy I remember didn’t miss a week. Doesn’t happen too often, particularly in a ruckman.”
Neither side came away unscathed – Geelong used their medical substitution at half-time due to a lower-leg injury to Gryan Miers. Scott said he was hopeful it was merely a cork rather than the dreaded syndesmosis.
Swans co-captain Luke Parker, meanwhile, was reported for rough conduct for a tame tackle on Brad Close, which will almost certainly be thrown out by the AFL tribunal. However, defender Lewis Melican suffered yet another soft-tissue injury, with a hamstring twinge likely to rule him out of next weekend’s clash against Melbourne.
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BEST Adelaide: Laird, McAdam, Himmelberg, B Crouch, Sloane, M Crouch. GWS: Whitfield, Hill, Finlayson, Taranto.
INJURIES GWS: Langdon (illness) replaced in selected side by Hately, Corr (ankle).
UMPIRES Fisher, Broadbent, Williamson.
CROWD 12,436 at Adelaide Oval.
It took him 14 defeats to find his first win as a senior coach. Now Matthew Nicks has two in a row, and his former employers Greater Western Sydney have a serious problem.
Nicks guided Adelaide to an upset 12-point win on Tuesday, a massive boilover that dislodges the Giants’ destiny from their own grasp and blows the race for the AFL’s top eight wide open.
GWS came into this game knowing that wins in their last three games would lock in a finals appearance for a fifth successive year. Against the bottom-placed Crows, this looked the easiest of the lot.
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