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Crows edged in thriller

Lee Gaskin, AFL Media  August 18, 2017 10:45 PM

The Crows went down by three points to Sydney in an enthralling contest at Adelaide Oval on Friday night

The Crows went down by three points to Sydney in an enthralling contest at Adelaide Oval on Friday night

Sydney is incredibly into the top four after defeating ladder-leaders Adelaide by three points in a Friday night epic at Adelaide Oval.

A capacity crowd of 51,466 were treated to one of the games of the season as the Swans emerged victorious, 13.5 (83) to 11.14 (80).

Sam Reid and Tom Papley kicked the final two goals of a sensational contest that wouldn't have been out of place in September.

"We got it right at the right time," Swans coach John Longmire said.

"We clearly got the first quarter right, we jumped out of the blocks, started really well and that certainly helps when you're on the road against a quality team.

"They were always going to get their momentum swings because they're such a good team.

"It was an absolute arm wrestle, two good teams in pretty good form going at it pretty hard and we were able to get it right in that last five minutes."

The Five: Round 22

The Swans (13-8) have won 13 of their past 15 games to move up to fourth on the ladder ahead of Richmond on percentage.

It was a position unthinkable after last year's grand finalists lost their first six games of the season.

The Crows (15 wins, one draw, five losses) could drop to second if they lose to West Coast next week and Greater Western Sydney beat the Eagles and Geelong.

Swans skipper Josh Kennedy was superb in his first back from missing two weeks with a hamstring injury, racking up 31 possessions, including 18 contested, while Dan Hannebery (28) and Luke Parker (30, 19 contested) provided great assistance.

Champion forward Lance Franklin booted three goals, including a lung-busting effort down the wing that will be on highlight reels for years to come.

Franklin showed Crows defender Daniel Talia a clean pair of heels, picking the ball up at half-back, having two bounces on the wing, losing control of the ball, re-gathering and finishing on his left foot from 40m out.

Crows star Rory Sloane had a massive game with 20 of his 29 possessions contested, 14 tackles and nine clearances, shaking off the attentions of Isaac Heeney.

Out of contract star Mitch McGovern was the focal point of the Crows' attack with four goals, midfield mover Matt Crouch had 34 touches and Rory Laird (34 disposals) was busy across half-back.

The topic of home-town umpiring will again be in the news after the Crows finished the game with 28 free kicks to 14.

Several of those went against Heeney in his over-zealous attempts to keep Sloane quiet.

The Swans charged out of the gates, booting the opening four goals of the game to stun the home crowd.

Majors to Zak Jones and Kennedy extended the margin to 29 points early in the second term before the Crows kicked five unanswered goals to hit the front early in the third quarter.

But despite having the better of the game general play, inaccuracy in front of goal cost them dearly.

"Our start wasn't at the level," Crows coach Don Pyke said.

"We were strong enough in the contest early, but from probably midway through that first quarter I thought we got some control around the ball and were able to get some field position, which got us back in the game.

"From then, I thought we had fair control of the game, without being able to hit the board.

"That's the reality of finals-type footy, goal-kicking accuracy is important, and tonight we didn't take all our opportunities and we get the result we get."

The Swans kicked 4.2 in the term compared to the Crows' 3.5 to take an 11-point advantage into the last change.

McGovern's fourth goal at the six-minute mark of the last term narrowed the gap to five points before skipper Taylor Walker put the Crows in front with a neat finish from the pocket.

However, the Swans rallied to compound the Crows' misery after last year's semi-final victory at the SCG.

Jones will have a nervous wait after being placed on report for a late hit on Brad Crouch in the back.

Swans: Adding to the Swans' great night was that they reported a clean bill of health.
Crows: Defender Daniel Talia was helped off the ground by the Club's medical staff near the end of the third quarter, but returned in the last term to play out the game. "He just tweaked his ankle a little bit. He was able to come back on and complete the game, so we're pretty confident he can come up in nine days with a minor ankle sprain," Crows coach Don Pyke said.

The Swans will warm-up for the finals against Carlton at the SCG next Saturday, 4.35pm (AEST). The Crows finish the home and away season against West Coast in Perth next Sunday, 2.40pm (AWST) in what is likely to be the final game at Domain Stadium.


ADELAIDE  2.2   5.5   8.10  11.14 (80)
SYDNEY     5.1   7.1   11.3   13.5 (83)

Adelaide: McGovern 4, Betts 2, Sloane, M.Crouch, Lynch, Walker, Jenkins
Sydney: Franklin 3, Rohan 2, Reid 2, Tippett, Kennedy, Jack, Jones, McVeigh, Papley


Adelaide: Sloane, M.Crouch, Laird, Lynch, McGovern, Jacobs
SydneyFranklin, Kennedy, Rampe, Hannebery, McVeigh, Smith


Adelaide: Talia (ankle)
Sydney: Nil

: Zac Jones (Sydney) for unduly rough play

: Deboy, Donlon, Pannell

Official crowd: 51,466