Swans claim first AFL points in NZ

By Sam Lienert,

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    Sydney have picked up the first AFL premiership points on foreign soil with a hard-fought win over a valiant St Kilda in Wellington, which has left the Saints’ season in a bleak state.

    A festive crowd of 22,546 at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium watched the Swans weather a spirited early Saints assault then a late charge to win 11.13 (79) to 9.9 (63) and claim the newly-cast Simpson-Henderson Trophy.

    Dan Hannebery (30 disposals) won the Anzac Medal as the player best exemplifying the Anzac spirit, with fellow midfielders Josh Kennedy, Jarrad McVeigh and Luke Parker also strong contributors throughout, as the Swans climbed to a 4-1 record.

    The Saints, who fell to a 1-4 record and face another tough battle against Collingwood at Etihad Stadium next Friday night, started and ended the match impressively.

    They kicked 2.1 to nothing in the first nine minutes, with Lenny Hayes (28 disposals, 11 clearances) on fire in the middle, Justin Koschitzke kicking the game’s first goal in his first match of the season, and skipper Nick Riewoldt (13 marks, two goals) working hard and winning plenty of the ball.

    The Swans didn’t even enter their attack until the nine-minute mark, when a St Kilda interchange infringement gifted Josh Kennedy a free kick and 50m penalty, from which he goaled.

    But they hit the front 25 minutes in when defender Ted Richards, Riewoldt’s opponent, kicked a rare goal.

    The Saints briefly regained the lead when Riewoldt marked and goaled early in the second quarter.

    But the Swans’ pressure began to tell as they kicked seven of the next 10 goals, with their majors coming much more easily than the Saints’.

    Parker ended the third quarter with a clever snapped major and started the last term with another to put the Swans 29 points up and seemingly home.

    But the Saints breathed some late life into the match when Jarryn Geary responded with a long-range goal, set up by Riewoldt, then a brilliant Jack Steven snap from a tight angle which narrowed the margin to 16 points at the 10-minute mark.

    Leigh Montagna, who performed impressively, built the tension further 10 minutes later, kicking beautifully from a tight angle after being set up by a Hayes handball.

    But a free kick to Shane Mumford for an infringement in the ruck 20m out set up the big Swans ruckman for a straightforward goal, the last score of the match, to kill off the Saints’ charge.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (9)

    • Roar Guru

      April 26th 2013 @ 10:44am
      mastermind5991 said | April 26th 2013 @ 10:44am | ! Report

      Impressive victory for the Sydney Swans, given the circumstances.

      Everywhere they go, they always pick up a victory. In the last two years, they’ve won on the Gold Coast, in Brisbane, Perth, Geelong, Adelaide, Launceston, Hobart and now Wellington. Seems like the Swans enjoy using their frequent flyer points a lot!

    • April 26th 2013 @ 11:17am
      Lee said | April 26th 2013 @ 11:17am | ! Report

      Went to the game in Wellington last night, having never watched an AFL game on TV or live.

      AMAZING! Sure I don’t know the rules well, but it was a great spectacle and a fantastic night. Will definitely go to some more.

      I’m a Rugby Union fan mostly, but honestly thought that AFL was a better watch when you don’t have a dog in the fight. More gripping and exciting.

      • April 26th 2013 @ 11:41am
        Moonshine said | April 26th 2013 @ 11:41am | ! Report

        Lee,

        The game wasnt a good example of AFL but nonethe less I’m intrigued how the local media covered it. The Dominion Post in Wellington is owned by Fairfax which has been antagonistic to the AFL in Australia because the AFL are spending money with their opposition newspaper Group News and not them. Of course the Melbourne AFL Footy Show on Channel Nine (the NRL station) crossed to Wellington after the game and had an interview lined up with a 16 year old kid who of course said the game was OK but was locquacious in his praise for NRL. What a surprise!!! I wonder how long they scoured the crowd till they found the only RL supporter in Wellington…

        • April 26th 2013 @ 12:32pm
          Lee said | April 26th 2013 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

          Yeah I was a bit surprised there wasn’t a lot more coverage in Wellington or even on the Kiwi news websites.

          The AFL did a great job of putting on a good show though, and if that wasn’t a good example then I’m looking forward to seeing a fantastic example.

          There’s a bit of a “if it’s not rugby(union or league) it’s not a “mans” sport in NZ so it wouldn’t surprise me if that holds it back…I had a couple mates who weren’t keen to go, based on logic similar to that. On the other hand, took my girlfriend and she had far more fun watching that than any of the rugby games she has been too.

          • April 26th 2013 @ 1:23pm
            Moonshine said | April 26th 2013 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

            Unlike Rugby, half of an AFL crowd will be women…

        • April 26th 2013 @ 12:55pm
          JamesP said | April 26th 2013 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

          Seemed to be a few stories on stuff.co.nz…looking forward to going to match next year…

        • April 26th 2013 @ 4:18pm
          clipper said | April 26th 2013 @ 4:18pm | ! Report

          ‘I wonder how long they scoured the crowd till they found the only RL supporter in Wellington’- very funny and reality based comment Moonshine!

    • April 26th 2013 @ 3:01pm
      Biggles said | April 26th 2013 @ 3:01pm | ! Report

      Good starting place for AFL.

      Hopefully one day, a club might come from NZ and we can get people over there playing it in larger numbers.

      Really, they are now happily playing these games from England. Why not a game from only a short distance away?

      It is like ice hockey spreading into USA. Philadelphia as an example only got a hockey team in the late 1960s. Now that is more popular that the NBA team.

      End of the day, the cream rises to the top as the NRL diehards in Sydney and Brisbane are slowly working out.

    • April 26th 2013 @ 3:09pm
      Neil said | April 26th 2013 @ 3:09pm | ! Report

      Beside being a great match yesterday, I would like to say how impressed I was with the venue. To me watching on telly, it seemed like the field was actually oval shaped, just perfect for AFL.

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