24/04/2024

Photo: Sydney Swans

The Sydney Swans fell just short against the GWS Giants in Sydney Derby XX, partly due to their youth and inexperience in key moments.

The Swans went down in a thriller to the Giants on Saturday, losing by two points after a late goal to Josh Kelly at a forward stoppage put the Giants in front for good.

Buddy Franklin kicking five goals for the Swans was a highlight, with Will Hayward adding three of his own in his first appearance for the year.

The Swans will be counting the cost of the loss, with Tom Hickey being subbed out in the last quarter with a knee injury. Franklin, Sam Reid and Nick Blakey all further required medical attention at points throughout the match.

The Giants outclassed the Swans all afternoon, both in the contest and on the spread, the game only as close as it was due to the Giants poor kicking all afternoon.

Coming away with their first loss of the season, the Swans will think of the game as a learning experience. 10 players with less than 50 games experience took the field, their inexperience obvious when the game was on the line.

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Coach John Longmire summed up the lack of experience after the game, and the effect of the young team.

“[There was] some good learning for a few of our younger fellas and a reminder for a few of our experienced players that we should have got it sorted out,” he said.

When pressed about what went wrong at the final stoppage, Longmire was blunt in his assessment.

“We just weren’t able to get it done when it mattered, at that last stoppage,” he said.

“We just needed to pick him [Kelly] up. Pretty key, pretty simple. We just didn’t get it done.”

The Swans couldn’t put Sam Reid back behind the ball late in the game, as they normally would. With Hickey out, Reid was forced to handle the ruck work at the end.

Longmire wasn’t going to use the injury as an excuse.

“Regardless of what happened with [Tom Hickey’s injury], we shouldn’t have had Kelly by himself,” he said.

Braeden Campbell, Dylan Stephens and Chad Warner were all at the final stoppage, and will be better for the learning about stoppage placement in that situation.

All across the field, when the pressure got high, the Swans were lacking experience, and it eventually showed. Undermanned down back with Dane Rampe out, Tom McCartin and Lewis Melican had their colours lowered by Jeremy Finlayson and Harry Himmelberg.

The Swans will lick their wounds, and count the loss to their cross-town rivals as a night of development.

Longmire will take the game as a learning experience, and the Swans will look to bounce back next week against the Gold Coast Suns.

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