Classic Contests: Second half dominance sees Swans fly

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in a new series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 3 clashes in the NAB League this year between Sydney Swans Academy and GWS GIANTS Academy. In this edition, we wind back the clock to 2019, as both teams are new to the competition and therefore only have the one previous meeting.

GWS GIANTS 4.3 | 5.7 | 7.7 | 7.9 (51)
SYDNEY SWANS 2.1 | 4.5 | 11.6 | 16.14 (110)

Round 3 | Saturday, April 6, 2019
Manuka Oval, 11am

The two sides from New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) faced off in the nation’s capital at Manuka Oval to try and grab bragging rights in the inaugural NAB League Boys game between the teams. Both these sides had some draft prospects, with GIANTS’ inside midfielder Tom Green the pick of the bunch for 2020. Sydney had plenty of depth in the side though, with Braeden Campbell one of a number of talented bottom-agers, though the Swans were without star midfielder, Errol Gulden for the clash. Sydney was coming off a 14-point triumph over Tasmania the week before, while GWS GIANTS fell to Brisbane by 26 points in the match immediately after.

Sydney started strongly with the first goal on the board to Aidan Watling just 41 seconds into the match. Soon enough though, the GIANTS piled on four consecutive majors, including ones to Green and fellow draft hopeful, Liam Delahunty. A late goal to Sydney’s Harry Maguire gave them some ascendancy heading into the first break trailing by 14 points. Campbell’s major just a minute into the next term brought the margin back to eight, but when James Peatling converted a chance midway through the term, GWS led by 14 points, which would be the largest margin for the rest of the game.

Coming out all guns-blazing in the second half, Sydney piled on the goals early with Marc Sheather, Campbell, Harrison Parker and Kyle McKellar blowing the margin out to 17 points. A much-needed major from Delahunty followed, before Campbell kicked his third. Peatling had his second on the board with six minutes remaining in the third quarter, which would prove to be the last goal of the game for the GIANTS as they would kick just two behinds while the Swans booted the last seven goals of the game in a 16.13 (110) to 7.9 (51) victory.

Jackson Barling won the most touches in the Swans’ win, picking up 24 disposals, as well as six marks, four tackles and three clearances. Lachlan Swaney was not far behind with 22 disposals, three marks, five tackles, three clearances, four inside 50s and a goal while captain Sam Thorne had 19 disposals, six tackles, five clearances and three inside 50s. Parker capped off his day with three goals from 15 touches, three marks, three clearances and six inside 50s, while Campbell (three goals), McKellar (two), Sheather (two) and Hamish Ellem (two) alls recorded multiple majors. Kyle Martin was another who was strong in defence, picking up five rebounds to go with 14 disposals and four marks.

It was no surprise to see Green as the standout GIANT, racking up 28 disposals (15 contested), six marks, eight clearances, three inside 50s and a goal, while Peatling was damaging with 24 disposals (10 contested), seven marks, four tackles, five clearances, six inside 50s and two goals. Other Academy members who stood out were Jeromy Lucas (25 disposals, four marks, five clearances and four inside 50s) and Matthew McGrory (18 disposals, four marks, five tackles, five inside 50s and a goal), while Nick Murray was a rock in defence, picking up 15 disposals, seven marks and nine rebounds.

Sydney would go on to finish second overall in the series, just percentage behind Gold Coast Suns Academy, while the GIANTS would end with a couple of wins from their five games.

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