Tom Papley gave Sydney the perfect start and finish as the Swans overcame Geelong in a Saturday night thriller at the SCG.
Sydney trailed by 29 early in the game, but a career-best four goal haul from Hayden McLean helped them snap a two-match losing skid and thwart Geelong’s bid for a third straight win.
Geelong led for much of the game but failed to bury the Swans.
McLean is fast showing he’s more than just a fill-in for superstar Lance Franklin
His four games this season have all come when Franklin didn’t play. The 22-year-old kicked a career-best four goals against Geelong and converted three second half set shots after clunking some impressive contested marks.
Geelong will wonder how they failed to capitalise on their best first quarter of the season, kicking 6.5.
Jeremy Cameron booted his second three-goal haul in as many games for the Cats.
But it was Papley who capped of a stirring comeback with the deciding goal with a little more than a minute left.
The quarter-time stat sheet made for frightening reading for Sydney coach John Longmire, with the Cats racking up significant advantages in contested possessions (+18) uncontested marks (+28) and inside 50s (+13).
A more intense Sydney clamped down on the Cats’ running and marking, kicking five goals to one in the second quarter, to cut the deficit back to just six at halftime.
Both sides took turns in front during a tight third quarter and Geelong looked to have prevailed until Papley had the final say.
Sydney co-captain Luke Parker was reported for rough conduct on Brad Close in the second quarter.
The Cats were in the lead for most of the game. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
GARY AND JERRY ENJOY RETURN TO SYDNEY
Former GWS spearhead Jeremy Cameron and old Swans favourite Gary Rohan each had an impact in Geelong’s early surge at the SCG.
Cameron, in his first game back in the Harbour City, kicked two first quarter goals.
With his old Swans adversary, Dane Rampe, sidelined by injury, Cameron had to deal with Callum Mills and Lewis Melican and spent time off the ground in the third quarter because of the blood rule.
He returned to the ground with a headband, prompting one commentator to compare his look to that of legendary Swedish tennis player Björn Borg.
Rohan left the Swans after the 2018 season, but Saturday’s game was his first back in Sydney.
After going goalless in his first two games against the Swans, Rohan booted one in each of the first two quarters to the chagrin of the fans who followed his injury-plagued career.
TEN OUT OF TEN FOR MIERS
Geelong goal sneak Gryan Miers stretched his impressive scoring sequence before a lower leg injury struck him down at the SCG.
Miers’ first quarter major was his tenth goal in as many games, but he has kicked just the solitary major in each of those matches.
HICKEY SHINES AGAIN
Tom Hickey continues to endear himself to Sydney fans following another sensational performance.
The well-travelled ruckman racked up 20 disposals, 22 hitouts and a match-high 20 clearances less than two weeks after suffering a PCL injury against GWS.
He kicked a crucial third quarter goal and his relentless efforts were a key factor in Sydney’s win.
SWANS: 2.1 7.2 10.6 14.6 (90)
CATS: 6.5 7.8 10.10 12.16 (88)
SWANS: McLean 4, Florent 2, Papley 2, Gulden, Hickey, McInerney, Rowbottom, Stephens, Warner
CATS: Cameron 3, Close 2, Rohan 2, Dahlhaus, Duncan, Hawkins, Menegola, Miers
Adrian Warren’s best:
SWANS: T Hickey, H McLean, O Florent, L Parker J Kennedy
CATS: C Guthrie T Stewart, H Selwood M Duncan, J Cameron
SWANS: L Melican (hamstring)
CATS: G Miers (leg)
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Adrian Warrens’ votes:
3 T Hickey (Swans)
2 H McLean (Swans)
1 C Guthrie (Cats)
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