Sydney superstar Adam Goodes says the Swans’ gutsy comeback win over AFL heavyweights Hawthorn in unfamiliar territory made an emotional, record-breaking day truly special.
The Swans trailed by 20 points at halftime at Launceston’s Aurora Stadium, but stunned Hawthorn with an 11.6 to 2.3 second half to win 16.10 (106) to 10.9 (69) in front of 19,217 fans.
Goodes sparked Sydney’s comeback with the first two goals of the third quarter and added another in the last in his 304th game, which took him past 2005 premiership teammate Michael O’Loughlin’s Swans games record.
O’Loughlin handed Goodes his jumper pre-game, which the dual Brownlow Medallist said was an emotional moment, and the two indigenous stars also exchanged hugs afterwards.
But it was his team’s rousing performance that most delighted Goodes.
“It was a special day, but there’s no doubt what makes the day is winning the four points. That’s what we came down here for,” Goodes said.
“You don’t play for those individual honours, but it so happened to be that it was my record-breaking game today.
“The boys didn’t really rise for me – they rose for each other.”
The Hawks, now 2-3, were premiership favourites as recently as a fortnight ago and had won their previous seven games in Launceston, where the Swans had never played before for premiership points.
Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson said the unbeaten Swans had moved into the AFL’s elite bracket.
“No one really knew until today just how good a side they’re going to be, but I was super impressed,” Clarkson said.
Hawthorn’s Jarryd Roughead kicked five goals, all in the first half, when his side was well on top.
But the Swans turned the game with ferocious attack on the ball and opponents.
Well down in both contested ball and total possession count in the first half, Sydney annihilated Hawthorn in both in the third term.
Former Hawk midfielder Josh Kennedy was excellent in the packs and kicked three goals, with Craig Bird, Dan Hannebery, Jarrad McVeigh and Luke Parker also keys to the second-half surge.
The stopping jobs of Ted Richards, on Lance Franklin (no goals), and Rhyce Shaw, on Cyril Rioli, were also important.
Swans coach John Longmire highlighted Goodes’ role in sparking Sydney, saying the co-captain had repeatedly demonstrated his ability to impose himself at crucial stages of games.
But the Sydney coach downplayed suggestions his side had announced themselves as premiership contenders.
“It’s a good start and that’s all,” he said.
There were some concerns for Sydney.
Running defender Nick Malceski (jarred knee) was subbed off at halftime, while utility Lewis Roberts-Thomson, wearing a helmet in his return from a cheekbone fracture, finished the game benched after a head knock.
Hawthorn defender Josh Gibson (ankle) was subbed off during the third term, although Clarkson expected him to play against St Kilda on Saturday night.