Sydney’s cygnets were magnificent again, but when the chips were in the middle it was their experienced heads who helped them over the line against Essendon in a Thursday night blockbuster.
The two sides have played out numerous close matches over the past two decades, with 14 games now decided by a kick or less.
The Swans were once again able to pull out the win after trailing the Bombers by four goals in dewy conditions at the SCG.
Sydney coach John Longmire praised the veteran presence in the final stanza, as his side clawed their way back to win their first last quarter of the 2021 season to win by three points.
“The young boys aren’t going to do it every week,” Longmire said.
Co-captains Luke Parker (32 disposals and a goal), Dane Rampe (15 disposals and 10 marks), and Josh Kennedy (22 disposals at 82 percent efficiency) were all significant contributors for a young Swans team.
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In addition to the trio of captains, Lance Franklin returned form a week lay-off to rekindle his love affair with the Bombers.
The superstar kicked three goals, including a vital major in the last quarter that put Essendon out of reach.
Longmire was unsure if Buddy would be rested for future games, but is happy with his conditioning.
“We’ve got a few days before next week which is good for him,” he said.
“We want to get him in the rhythm of playing.”
Longmire also praised the work rate of Essendon in the final term, and their form heading into the contest at the SCG.
“What might’ve been lost during the week was how good a win that was for the Bombers,” he said.
“They had 36 tackles in the last quarter. Their pressure rating in the last quarter was through the roof.”
Sydney are now 4-0 and head into a nine day break. A Saturday afternoon blockbuster awaits against cross-town rivals Greater Western Sydney who are currently winless on the season.
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