Fremantle holds on
Sydney Swans 3.2 6.3 8.5 13.9 (87)
Fremantle 3.2 7.4 14.7 15.8 (98)
Sydney Swans: Roberts-Thomson 3, Hannebery, Goodes, Parker 2, McVeigh, Jack, Reid, Grundy
Fremantle: Ballantyne 3, Mayne, Johnson 2, Fyfe, Palmer, Grover, Pavlich, Clarke, Hill, Lower, de Boer
Sydney Swans: Richards, Jack, Hannebery, Mattner, Roberts-Thomson, Goodes
Fremantle: Fyfe, Ballantyne, McPharlin, Lower, Broughton, Hill
Sydney Swans: Jesse White replaced by Lewis Jetta in the third quarter.
Fremantle: Michael Johnson replaced by Michael Barlow in the fourth quarter.
Umpires: Ritchie, Chamberlain, Findlay
Official crowd: 23,415 at SCG.
Fremantle has moved to sixth place on the AFL ladder and dented the Sydney Swans’ finals hopes with a thrilling 11-point victory at a drenched SCG on Sunday.
Fremantle was absolutely cruising when it led by 39 points early in the final term, but the Swans kicked five straight goals to get within a kick before the visitors steadied for a 15.8 (98) to 13.9 (87) win.
With the Swans dominating and trailing by just six points, Tadhg Kennelly gave away a 50m penalty and Heath Grundy was then penalised for a throw as Nick Lower kicked the game-sealing goal.
The victory takes Fremantle above the Swans and Essendon and shores up its top-eight spot, while the home side is now just one win ahead of Melbourne and St Kilda in eighth place.
Nathan Fyfe was brilliant for the visitors, finishing with 31 possessions – 22 contested – and eight clearances, while Luke McPharlin was outstanding in defence and Hayden Ballantyne kicked three goals.
Lewis Roberts-Thomson kicked three goals for the Swans and Dan Hannebery, Marty Mattner and Josh Kennedy tried hard, but Fremantle ultimately hung on for a deserved victory.
Leading by seven points at half-time, Freo kicked seven goals to two in a brilliant third term to march to a match-winning 38-point lead at the last change.
The Swans had one last charge, but fell just short of a courageous comeback.
Fremantle started well in the slippery conditions and were clearly up for the contest, matching the Swans’ intensity in the early stages.
The Swans had plenty of the ball, but were guilty of some poor entries into their forward 50m before a late Hannebery goal left scores level at quarter time, 3.2 (20) apiece.
Fremantle then worked its way on top in the second term and when Zac Clarke kicked a goal from a dubious Roberts-Thomson free kick 26 minutes into the term, Freo led by 19 points.
Kieren Jack kicked a great goal on the run and Sam Reid took a strong mark and added his first goal to close the gap to just seven points at half-time, 7.4 (46) to 6.3 (39).
But Fremantle’s commanding third quarter gave it a second straight victory over the Swans at the SCG following its win in round nine at the ground last season.
QUARTER BY QUARTER
Of the six goals kicked, four came from either a free kick or a 50-metre penalty in what was an untidy start in slippery conditions. The highlight of the term was Daniel Hannebery’s snap late in the quarter, when he gathered the footy 20 metres out and kicked truly, to level the scores at the opening break.
Fremantle kicked away during the middle part of the quarter, opening up a 19-point lead with three unanswered goals, including two as a result of free kicks. But a piece of Kieren Jack magic late in quarter – the 24-year-old received a handball from Hannebery deep in the left forward pocket and goaled from a tight angle – lifted the home side, who took the ball out of the centre again and Sam Reid towered over Luke McPharlin to mark and goal from 30 metres out directly in front.
Fremantle by seven points
Rain started to tumble down on the SCG in the third term, but the weather proved no problem for Fremantle as the visitors kicked seven goals to two in the third term to lead by 38 points with a quarter to play. The visitors booted six without reply after the Swans had drawn to within two points at the 11-minute market when Lewis Roberts-Thomson goaled after he floated in front of the pack just outside the goalsquare to pull down a strong mark.
Fremantle by 38 points
A Chris Mayne behind for the visitors at the start of the term put the margin at 39 points. But it was all Sydney Swans from that moment, with the home side surging home with five unanswered goals to get the crowd exited at the prospect of an unlikely come-from-behind win. Goodes got the rally started thanks to a free kick, and Jarrad McVeigh’s brilliant snap from the pocket brought the margin to within single digits. But with less than 80 seconds remaining and the margin six points, Nick Lower extended the margin to two straight kicks after Heath Grundy was penalised for a throw and made the game safe for Fremantle.
Fremantle by 11 points
TOYOTA AFL DREAM TEAM HIGHLIGHT
Sydney Swans: Jarrad McVeigh ended the game with 115 points thanks to 24 possessions, 12 tackles and one brilliant snap from the right full forward pocket.
Fremantle: Fremantle was led by Nick Lower, who gathered 30 touches, laid eight tackles and scored one goal, earning 130 points.
THE NEXT FOUR
Sydney Swans: The Swans are back at the SCG next weekend to host the Western Bulldogs, before a week off with the bye. The Harbour City club is then on the road against Essendon and Richmond.
Fremantle: Freo has three of the next four matches at home. The club hosts the Eagles in the season’s second Western Derby, before facing Hawthorn the following week. A Friday night battle with St Kilda in Melbourne and a meeting with Carlton in Perth rounds out the next month.