The Sydney Swans have managed to inject a flicker of hope into their season with a brave win over Essendon at home on Friday night. The 77-72 victory was the first time this season that the Swans have managed a close win, and showed a much improved defensive display. This was the lowest score Sydney have let in all season, and only the second time they have kept an opponent below 80 (the first was the other win, over Carlton).
The match featured the same number of scoring shots from both teams, with only the very slightly greater accuracy of the Swans (11.11) putting them over the Bombers (10.12). The match was relatively dour and low scoring by AFL standards, but the home crowd didn’t care as they finally had something to celebrate.
The match ended in some controversy, as Swans co-captain Dane Rampe climbed one of the goalposts when Essendon had a kick at goal. Technically interfering with the posts should have resulted in a free kick for the Bombers from the centre of the goal line, however the shot fell short anyway so the umpire made the decision to simply end the match.
The Swans now sit at 2 wins and 6 losses for the season so far, so they are certainly not out of the woods yet. However, with the imminent returns of Lance “Buddy” Franklin and Daniel Menzel Sydney can look forward to an improvement in their goal scoring ability, which has been a weakness so far this year.
Sydney face a must win match this weekend against the similarly under-performing North Melbourne, before they go on a run of extremely tough games against finals contenders. After the Kangaroos the Swans face 2nd placed Collingwood, top ranked Geelong, Premiers West Coast and the always difficult Hawks. They will need to beat North Melbourne and then at least two of the other four or they can start their 2020 planning.