Swans show adaptability and growth in historic finals win

SYDNEY Swans created history last night, defeating Gold Coast Suns in the first elimination final to win their first ever final from just their second season in the AFL Women’s competition.

Not only was last night’s win a sign of how far the team has come in the last 12 months or so, but one specific area showed their adaptability to change within a game. Last night this specifically happened in the forward line.

Coming into last night’s match, Sydney’s leading goal kickers this season were Chloe Molloy and Rebecca Privitelli. Then, early in the first quarter Privitelli went down with an ankle injury after a bad landing in a marking contest and could play no further part in the game.

Instead of that moment being the disaster it could have been, the Swans managed to diversify their attacking options and other players stood up to fill the gap Privitelli left. Molloy still had a huge game, but others like Lucy McEvoy and Aimee Whelan stepped up to the plate and delivered when needed.

As much as it is an obvious aspect that a wider variety of goalkickers generally means that you are going to get the win, for a team on the rise like the Swans this is significant.

The Swans had six different goalkickers last night, which is the equal second highest they have had all season. The only time they beat that effort was Round 8 against the Bulldogs.

In the AFLW, teams can often fall into the trap of relying on a small number of players to get the job done, which never ends well. By the Swans showing they do have a lot of avenues to goal, plus the ball winners to get the ball there, shows that they have perhaps passed that hurdle on their development journey.

All of this was in stark contrast to the Suns last night. Heading into the game, their highest goal kicker by a significant margin was Jamie Stanton. She finished last night’s match with only three touches and zero goals to come from them.

Although the Suns kicked six goals last night, which is just about bang on par for their season average, those goals only came from three sources, with two of them only coming in the second half. Tara Bohanna was doing a lot of the heavy lifting particularly early in the game, with fellow forward targets Jacqui Dupuy and Stanton really struggling to get into the game.

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