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AFL Fremantle v Sydney, Round 18, Optus Stadium.
Florent kicks (file photo/AFANA)

The Sydney Swans strengthened their position at the top of the ladder with an eight-goal victory over the inaccurate Fremantle Dockers. The Dockers matched Sydney in the midfield with good clearance work but were inefficient in attack. At the other end Sydney were ruthless and kicked accurately to punish any Docker turnovers. The pressure applied by both teams was strong with tackling from both sides a feature of the match. Sydney's Brodie Grundy dominated in the ruck, but the Dockers got first use of the ball through the strong clearance work of Andrew Brayshaw, Luke Jackson, and Caleb Sorong. As the game progressed Chad Warner, Errol Gulden, and James Rowbottom became more involved in play to cement the early good work of the Sydney forwards.

The game started with four forward entries by the Dockers for just two behinds (worth a point each).  After ten minutes of the Dockers dominating the midfield, Sydney broke through to launch an attack through with a snapped goal by Logan McDonald. Five minutes later Will Hayward booted the Swans second goal when the Docker defenders were caught out of position. Sydney's pressure on the ball then generated a forward-half intercept and Jake Lloyd goaled. The Dockers booted their first goal after an intercept in their own forward half and some fancy footwork by defender Brandon Walker, who kicked truly.

Braydon Walker kicks out of defense
Brandon Walker (file photo/AFANA)

The second quarter began in the same way with the Dockers attacking and missing easy shots. Joel Amartey provided strong leads in Sydney's forward line and marked and kicked truly after a quick transition from defense by Sydney. When the Dockers went forward, they were always under pressure and the Sydney defenders Aaron Francis, Dane Rampe, and Lewis Melican applied enormous heat on the Docker forwards causing miskicks and turnovers. The Dockers could only add three behinds as Amartey, Chad Warner, and Will Hayward each booted their second goals for the visitors. A period of Sydney scoreboard dominance stretched to its sixth unanswered goal and Hayden McLean's first goal, with the majority of Sydney's goals coming from Docker turnovers. Although the Dockers had made on one less forward entry than Sydney to half time, they had kicked eight goals less.

The third quarter was similar to the first two quarters with Fremantle doing well in the midfield but falling down when they transitioned into attack. The Dockers adopted attacking field positioning and when the ball was turned over through poor delivery or Sydney pressure, their defenders were left wide open. Jemery Sharp booted a behind for the Dockers and then Tom Papley booted the Swans first goal for the term after nearly three minutes of play. Four minutes into the quarter Will Hayward had the dubious distinction of booting the first behind in the match for the visitors. Five minutes later Josh Tracey marked on a lead and (finally) booted the Dockers second goal for the match. Play in the midfield was even and both defenses withstood numerous attacks. The flow of goals for Sydney stopped and Sydney's second goal for the term came from a good snap by Hayward half-way through the quarter.

The game slowed in the final quarter. The Dockers were exhausted, and Sydney was content to retain the use of the ball. Oliver Florent and Hayward added two goals for Sydney midway through the stanza and then Jeremy Sharp responded with two for the Dockers. However, the game had been effectively over at halftime. Perhaps it was a five-day break or news of the death of former teammate Cam McCarthy (which broke the afternoon before the match), which affected the Dockers' game. Perhaps it was the unrelenting pressure applied by the Swans and the inability of the Dockers to kick straight at crucial times, which saw the Swans run out convincing winners.

Chad Warner celebrates a goal
Chad Warner (file photo/AFANA)

Next week Sydney return home to meet the Carlton Blues in a Friday night blockbuster at the SCG. The Dockers have eight days to recover and then travel to Marvel Stadium in Melbourne where they meet St Kilda and will try to get their season back on track.

Fremantle Dockers: 1.5 1.8  2.13  4.15 (39)
Sydney Swans:      3.0 9.0 11.2  13.9  (87)

Fremantle Dockers: Serong, Ryan, Sharp, Brayshaw, Pearce
Sydney Swans:      Florent, Lloyd, Heeney, Warner, Blakey

Fremantle Dockers: Sharp 2, Treacy, Walker
Sydney Swans:      Hayward 4, Amartey 2, Warner 2, Florent, 
                   Lloyd, McDonald, McLean



Article last changed on Saturday, May 11, 2024 - 4:33 AM EDT


Posted by herringbur on May 23, 2024

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