The Sydney Swans dominated Collingwood Friday night on route to a 13.8.(96)-10.10.(70) preliminary final win, in the process earning the right to play either Adelaide or Hawthorn in next week’s AFL Grand Final.
The final score wasn’t truly indicative of Sydney’s performance. They controlled the majority of the match and responded strongly when Collingwood cut a 42-point margin down to 20 in the closing moments of the third and early into the fourth quarter.
Lewis Jetta’s speed and accuracy made him a star on the night as the small forward collected 16 possessions and kicked three exciting goals. Josh Kennedy was extremely influential with 30 possessions and two goals. 300th gamer Jude Bolton and Lewis Roberts-Thompson were both important in playing vital roles and kicked two goals apiece.
Rucks Mumford and Pyke got the better of Darren Jolly and Reece Shaw (27 disposals, 23 kicks) and Daniel Hannebery (33 touches) were also pivotal.
Both sides missed plenty of opportunities, but it was Sydney that was more convincing in the first quarter going forward with a number of inside 50 marks. Kennedy’s quick hands provided the opening goal and it was all Sydney, but the game soon turned sloppy. Dawes steadied the Magpies, but Bolton had the last laugh, putting Sydney up 35-15 at the first break.
Collingwood let chance after chance roll by well into the second. Cloke maximised the few touches he had by slamming through his second in the goal square, but Kennedy was allowed to do too much. With a one-on-one ahead of him, Kennedy opted brilliantly for the goals from 50 metres and tapped on a pass to Goodes for another, opening up a 27-point halftime lead.
The Swans dominated the inside 50 count early in the third and Collingwood’s frustration only grew when a Goldsack goal was disallowed on video replay after the footage confirmed the ball had come off his knee.
Jetta kicked what may be goal of the year, breaking from behind the centre square and sprinting over 100 metres ahead of the entire defence to break a the goal drought. Toovey gifted the Swans another when a shocking handball on the last line of defence fell to Jetta, but with five kicks in the final minute of the term Collingwood were able to reduce the margin to 30 points with a quarter to spare.
The Magpies kept coming. Cloke and then Goldsack converted from set shots to begin the fourth and cut the lead to just 20, but it would be as close as they would come. Tired legs on both sides became a problem, but Sydney were able to kick four of the next five, the final coming from the veteran Bolton, to put the game out of doubt.
Collingwood’s elimination marked the last AFL game of Chris Tarrant’s career. The forward turned defender didn’t have the best night, but he did provide an impact and will be remembered for a great career with a stop in Fremantle separating an 11 year career at Collingwood. Cloke kicked three and took seven marks, but wasn’t hugely influential and even Dayne Beams’ 27 touches didn’t affect the game in his usual manner.
Adelaide plays Hawthorn tomorrow night.
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