The Sydney Swans kept their finals flame flickering with a victory over the Fremantle Dockers at Optus Stadium. The game was won by their stronger bodied midfielders setting up a four goal lead in the first quarter, which the Dockers couldn't to bridge. The Dockers fielded with the most inexperienced team in the competition, with only five players who have played more than 100 games. In total games played, the Sydney team had more than two thousand more games of experience and it was their experienced players who did what needed to be done to keep the Dockers from getting back into the game.
The Sydney Swans survived a stirring comeback by Collingwood to claim a one point victory in an epic Preliminary final overnight at a sold-out Sydney Cricket Ground. In front of 45,608 screaming fans, Sydney looked to have the game comfortably in its keeping when it went out to a six goal lead when Logan McDonald kicked a goal early in the third term. Collingwood however, as it has all season, refused to go away, kicking three of the next four goals to remain within striking distance heading into the final stanza.
The Magpies resurgence coincided with an injury to the most potent forward on the ground in Sam Reid, the Sydney forward suffering a groin injury that sent him to the bench for the rest of the game - and potentially missing next weekend’s Grand Final against a red hot Geelong.
It was the first time crowds were able to be at an MCG final in three years and over 77,000 rolled into this Friday night's 2nd Qualifying Final. At the end of the home and away season both teams finished on 16 wins, with just 2.7% between them on the Premiership ladder. But if there was anything to indicate how this might go, the Swans came into this match having won their last six home and away matches, while Melbourne lost to both Collingwood and the Bulldogs in that time.
Last season's Premiers, Melbourne, won the toss and kicked to the city end. On their home turf they would be eager to try to put the Swans out of contention early. So it looked in the first quarter. The Demons looked the best coming out of the blocks but breaking the early run of play, the first goal went to Hayward when ball, long to the square, spilled free and Hayward snapped the goal. Bailey Fritsch showed he was ready to fire when he cut off a pass to Gawn, and his set shot from 40 meters out from goal leveled the scores.
The Sydney Swans didn’t just defeat the West Coast Eagles at Optus Stadium, they comprehensively thrashed them to hand the Eagles their biggest home game loss in the club’s history. The Swans were without Buddy Franklin, who has made a habit of tormenting the Eagles at Optus and veteran midfielder, Josh Kennedy, who was rested for the game. The Eagles virtually rested their own Josh Kennedy in the first quarter as the ball rarely got near their big forward. The Swans had a massive 21 forward entries in the opening term, while West Coast could only manage four. Sydneys’ reserve ruckman Peter Ladhams dominated in the ruck to highlight the extended absence of the Eagles’ ruckman Nic Naitanui. The Eagles' midfielders Elliot Yeo, Tim Kelly and Luke Shuey, who were all returning from extended layoffs, barely touched leather in the opening quarter as Sydney’s Callum Mills, Isaac Heeney and Errol Gulden did as they liked. Tall forwards Hayden McLean and Logan McDonald dominated in the air and kicked two goals apiece and a busy Ben Ronke booted a goal after two early misses. The lopsided first quarter score line flattered the Eagles as Sydney missed some very gettable shots.