Franklin back to his best against GWS



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    Sydney have shored up their status as the AFL’s form side with the help of Lance Franklin, outgunning Greater Western Sydney by 13 points in an enthralling derby at Spotless Stadium.

    Franklin booted four goals on Saturday night as the Swans made it nine wins from their past 10 matches, triumphing 14.12 (96) to 12.11 (83).

    “We’ve still got a lot of work to do. We haven’t achieved much yet,” Sydney coach John Longmire said after his side entrenched themselves in the top eight, extending a march towards finals that seemed impossible after a 0-6 start.

    The 13 edition of the league’s newest derby did not disappoint.

    The scoreboard confirmed it was the closest match between the Giants and Swans but failed to convey the drama that unfolded in front of a record crowd of 21,924.

    The visitors, who had lost the preceding three derbies, took the lead late in the first quarter and never relinquished it despite some magnificent football from GWS.

    “They make you pay if you make the wrong decision,” Giants coach Leon Cameron said.

    “They forced us into making some bad decisions.

    “Our intensity was a lot better .. it was probably our best effort of he past month.

    “Clearly they’re the form side of the competition and their form is stacking up.”

    Franklin and Giants co-captain Callan Ward, who won a game-high 18 contested possessions and epitomised his side’s stoicism after copping a painful blow to the arm in the first quarter, were joint winners of the Brett Kirk medal.

    “They’ve had our measure the last couple of times,” Franklin said.

    “We had a focus on playing four quarters and we were able to do that.”

    The Giants were rocked by the pre-game withdrawal of gun forward Jeremy Cameron and then were forced to play a man down for most of the night after Matt de Boer was knocked out early.

    Sydney youngster Nic Newman drew blood when he accidentally clipped de Boer’s head with an errant arm, having attempted to break a tackle.

    It could be a costly game for both clubs. De Boer, GWS’s last-minute withdrawal and Cameron (hamstring) are both in doubt for next week, as are Swans Gary Rohan (glute) and Sam Reid (groin).

    Despite the loss of de Boer, GWS dominated the clearances 56-32 and reduced the margin to six points early in the final term after Steve Johnson snapped goals either side of three-quarter time.

    Franklin steadied with a show-stopping goal that travelled almost 60m, then delivered the sealer after yet another GWS comeback.

    “He kicked some important goals,” Longmire said.

    “He is skillful but what probably gets undersold is how much a competitor he is.”

    The clash pulled in a record attendance for Spotless despite the fact Arsenal were playing across the road, beating the crowd of 21,895 who watched a 2001 NRL match.

    © AAP 2018
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    The Crowd Says (5)

    • July 16th 2017 @ 6:51am
      Roger of Sydney said | July 16th 2017 @ 6:51am | ! Report

      Buddy was good but did get some 60/40 free kicks, actually some bad decisions in front of goals for both teams. The Swans had a lot of quiet players but that could have been the quality of the competition but if injuries keep away and Sam Reed can get some ball and Rohan keeps fit, we are a chance of fixing last years loss. Still cant watch that reply especially the first quarter where the game should have been over.

      Except for the second half where the umps started to give some silly free kicks the umping last night was good, they just kept out if for once.

      The Giants at their best and Swans at there best is a one point ball game, don’t want to face them in the finals, give me the Crows or Geelong

    • July 16th 2017 @ 7:31am
      Lion around said | July 16th 2017 @ 7:31am | ! Report

      Not sure about both Patten and Lobb in the forward line for GWS. Both are far too stagnant. What is with GWS reluctance to get the ball moving after a free kick? They’re too slow to cause much damage come September, unless they change their game plan. Right now, they seem very predictable.
      I thought umpiring was ordinary last night. Swans were gifted some really head-scratching calls

    • July 16th 2017 @ 7:57am
      Sydneygirl said | July 16th 2017 @ 7:57am | ! Report

      Good to see Kieren Jack and McVegh back on track. Consistent effort and lots of good tackling from Kieren, a few players a bit down but that could have been the quality of the opposition. Papley lively and plenty of others did their job
      Good game Sydney. Hope Rohan and Reid are okay. We just need to keep bringing the concentrated effort every week

    • July 16th 2017 @ 8:58am
      Wayne said | July 16th 2017 @ 8:58am | ! Report

      Reid showing the buyer beware tag – #brittle – If you want to buy him as a key forward – hmmm – swans will have a bit of coin to replace him – see ya tippett, allir, sinclair etc

      • July 16th 2017 @ 11:06am
        mcmanpp said | July 16th 2017 @ 11:06am | ! Report

        Don’t agree regarding Reid. He’s increased his merit as a footballer over the last couple of years almost across the board – improved fitness, stronger body, more resilient confidence – all of which has allowed his natural marking and kicking talent to flourish without as many self-doubts. I think he’ll be an asset to the club for quite a few years yet.

        Tippett, on the other hand, has got at best one more season – 2018 – to demonstrate his body can cope longterm at what has evolved into a much more frenetic high contest game. Sinclair’s challenge, on the other hand, is to show his skill set can become broader and more consistent.

        Darcy Cameron’s progress will also play a part in the decision about the Sydney talls going forward.

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