Papley snaps winner as Swans pip Cats
SYDNEY has snatched a dramatic two-point win over Geelong at the SCG, where young forward Hayden McLean upstaged AFL superstars Tom Hawkins and Jeremy Cameron.
Tom Papley snapped the match-winning goal with 91 seconds remaining as the Swans prevailed 14.6 (90) to 12.16 (88) on Saturday night.
The hosts trailed for most of the match and looked on track for defeat late in the final quarter, when Luke Dahlhaus put the Cats ahead by 10 points.
But young gun James Rowbottom nailed his set shot then Papley brought a crowd of 29,123 to their feet, ensuring Sydney snapped a two-game losing streak.
Power forwards Hawkins and Cameron combined for four goals.
Hawkins missed two important set shots in a frantic final quarter, while Cameron was controversially denied a mark in the final seconds that would have given him a chance to put Geelong back in front.
McLean stood up for the Swans in the absence of injured key forwards Lance Franklin and Sam Reid, booting a career-best four goals to build hope of an upset that looked all but impossible at quarter-time.
McLean created all sorts of headaches for Geelong’s star-studded defence, clutching contested marks that belied the fact he was a 22-year-old playing his 14th game.
The Cats, fresh from steamrolling West Coast by 97 points, kicked six goals in the opening term to post the highest quarter-time score achieved by any side this season.
The besieged hosts rallied in the second quarter, trimming the visitors’ advantage from 29 points to six points thanks to returning ruckman Tom Hickey plus Jake Lloyd and Oliver Florent.
There were seven lead changes throughout a topsy-turvy second half, yet the youth-fuelled Swans pulled ahead when it mattered most.
Cats forward Gryan Miers (leg) and Sydney defender Lewis Melican (hamstring) suffered injuries, while Swans co-captain Luke Parker was reported for rough conduct after a clumsy collision with Brad Close.
Geelong’s pairing of Hawkins and Cameron, the past two Coleman medallists, generated a level of ‘if Lillee doesn’t get you, Thommo must’ hype throughout the off-season.
Tom McCartin did exceptionally well to marshal Sydney’s undermanned defence, which lost Melican in the final quarter and was already sorely missing co-captain Dane Rampe and George Hewett.
Geelong was still able to find other avenues to goal; Close and former Swan Gary Rohan each booted two goals.
The visitors were left to curse their inaccurate goal-kicking and the remarkable conversion rate of Sydney, who lost the Inside-50 count 65-39.
(C) AAP 2021
SYDNEY 2.1 7.2 10.6 14.6 (90)
GEELONG 6.5 7.8 10.10 12.16 (88)
Goals: Sydney: H McLean 4 O Florent 2 T Papley 2 C Warner D Stephens E Gulden J McInerney J Rowbottom T Hickey. Geelong: J Cameron 3 B Close 2 G Rohan 2 G Miers L Dahlhaus M Duncan S Menegola T Hawkins.
Umpires: Mathew Nicholls, Brett Rosebury, Andrew Heffernan.
Official Crowd: 29,123 at SCG.