Swans score tense win over Bombers
Essendon missed their chance to take outright possession of top spot on the AFL ladder as their remarkable late comeback fell four points short in their round-11 clash with Sydney on Saturday night.
Sydney led by 47 points at three-quarter time and held on to win 13.8 (86) to 11.16 (82) despite Essendon’s nine-goal final term.
The Swans were full of running in the first three quarters but stopped to a walk in the final term. However late goals to Jude Bolton and Lewis Jetta, his third, proved vital.
Sydney have shot to the top of the ladder on percentages, joining Essendon on eight wins and three losses with both sides enjoying a bye next week.
Bombers skipper Jobe Watson took a big mark and kicked his second goal to cut the margin to four points at the 32-minute mark of the final term in front of 42,785 screaming fans.
Essendon’s Courtenay Dempsey marked on the 50-metre line with only a second left on the clock and played on as the siren sounded, meaning he couldn’t go back and take the shot that could have stolen the victory.
The Bombers dominated the inside-50 count 78-50 and the clearances 51-31, but their goalkicking was poor overall, including 2.15 in the first three quarters.
Alwyn Davey scored three goals for the Bombers while Watson had a game-high 32 possessions and 12 clearances.
Bolton and the elusive Jetta were among Sydney’s best with defenders Ted Richards and Heath Grundy, while Jarrad McVeigh nullified Brent Stanton and had 25 touches himself.
Essendon’s work-rate was sadly lacking in the first half as the Bombers kicked just one goal and trailed by 37 points at halftime, 8.6 (54) to 1.11 (17).
The Bombers had no answer to Sydney’s running game as the Swans led the uncontested possessions count 137-85.
Tall forward Sam Reid and midfielder Kieren Jack both had two goals on the board by halftime for the Swans.
Essendon subbed off their ruckman Tom Bellchambers at halftime, while Sydney’s Daniel Hannebery was also subbed off after a heavy bump from Davey.
The Bombers did manage a second goal at the 17-minute mark of the third term through a snap from Ben Howlett, but three goals to the Swans stretched the visiting side’s lead to 47 points at three-quarter time before Essendon rallied with 9.1 in the final term.
Reigning club champion David Zaharakis was a late withdrawal from Essendon’s selected side with a thigh strain which could keep him out for a month.© AAP 2013