Hawthorn v Sydney: Sydney Swans hold off Hawks for brave win Isaac Heeney of the Swans is tackled by Ben Stratton of the Hawks during the 2016 AFL Round 09 match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Sydney Swans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Photos: AFL Media/Getty Images
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Lance Franklin of the Swans handballs whilst being tackled by Billy Hartung of the Hawks.

Josh Kennedy of the Swans is tackled by Luke Breust of the Hawks.

Ted Richards of the Swans is attended to by trainers after getting a concussion.

Gary Rohan of the Swans is congratulated by Ben McGlynn after kicking a goal.

Nick Smith of the Swans high fives fans after winning.

Ben Stratton of the Hawks and Luke Parker of the Swans compete for the ball.

Cyril Rioli of the Hawks is tackled by Tom Mitchell of the Swans.

Cyril Rioli of the Hawks is tackled by Ben McGlynn of the Swans.

Luke Breust (left) and Bradley Hill of the Hawks celebrate.

Lance Franklin (left) and Dan Hannebery of the Swans celebrate.

Josh Gibson of the Hawks is tackled by Isaac Heeney of the Swans.

Lance Franklin of the Swans and Cyril Rioli of the Hawks embrace after the match.

Ben McEvoy of the Hawks and Kurt Tippett of the Swans compete in a ruck contest.

Nick Smith of the Swans is chaired off the ground after playing his 150th game.

Gary Rohan of the Swans marks infront of Shaun Burgoyne of the Hawks.

Lance Franklin of the Swans is congratulated by team mates after kicking a goal.

The Hawks look dejected after losing.

Ben McEvoy of the Hawks comes from the ground with a cut from his eye.

Ben McEvoy of the Hawks marks infront of Heath Grundy.

Paul Puopolo of the Hawks is congratulated by Jordan Lewis after kicking a goal.

George Hewett of the Swans handballs whilst being tackled by Liam Shiels of the Hawks.

Kurt Tippett of the Swans marks infront of Kaiden Brand of the Hawks.

Callum Sinclair of the Swans attempts to mark.

Callum Sinclair of the Swans and Ben McEvoy of the Hawks compete in the ruck.

TweetFacebookSYDNEY1.2 6.5 7.6 10.9 (69)HAWTHORN0.2 2.4 5.7 7.13 (55)Goals: Sydney:G Rohan 3 L Franklin 3 B McGlynn 2 K Tippett 2.Hawthorn:J Gunston 4 C Rioli L Breust P Puopolo.Umpires:Justin Schmitt, Sam Hay, Mathew Nicholls.Official Crowd:61,552 at MCG.There is a point where a team begins to wonder if an opponent has their measure. Midway through the last quarter Sydney was nearing this juncture. That they did not meet it could prove critical to their fortunes this season.

Sydney could not have been in a better position to beat Hawthorn on Friday night. They were given a six-goal start by a side missing several of their premiership-winning, limited Sam Mitchell to a mere 14 possessions, and still it was not until time on in the last quarter that the Swans were finally able to shake off the triple premiers.

And it took the magic of Lance Franklin to do it. The Swans were careful not to rely too heavily on their superstar forward but when the game was up for grabs he was the man who delivered the goods.

The Hawks have not missed Franklin since his departure but this was one night where his presence in the brown and gold would have made a difference.

Missing Jarryd Roughead, who was honoured with a rousing round of applause two minutes into the second quarter, and with Jack Gunstondown, they stillhad the Swans in their sights for long parts in the second half but could not pass them.

The key play in the night came just before midway in the last term. Ruckman Jonathon Ceglarhad parked at centre half-forward but instead of launching deep inside 50 handballed to Will Langford, who had his back turned.

From the turnover the ball landed in Franklin’s hands and from well inside the centre square he launched towards an unguarded goal. Minutes later, he again scored from long range.

This was a vital win for the Swans, and also a brave one as they were missing a concussed Ted Richards for three quarters.

If you judge games by the number of goals scored then the first quarter, which produced just one, was not for you. This was football’s answer to Test cricket, where every contest and bobble of the ball mattered.

No team is better at holding on to the ball than the Hawks but when they pull the trigger their opposition few sides can score as heavily.The Swans were able to stop their run and carry, their desperation to defend space and their opponent a marked contrast to six nights earlier.

The Hawks threw plenty at the Swans, usually this is enough to beat them, in the first term buthad little to show for it.The Swans’ defence, roundly criticised all week, was up to the task. Heath Grundy,who leaked like a sieve last week, was near impenetrable, so too Dane Rampe, who was comprehensively beatingJack Gunston.

It took the Hawks until the 24-minute mark of the second term for their first goal, by which time the Swans already had six.Whether they had lifted or the Hawks dropped off was immaterial, not so their impact.

Two stats demonstrated the Swans’ greater intensity. They won, sorry,dominated the contested ball count 51-27 and despite having more of the ball still laid 13 more tackles.

The Hawks, down by 36 points, ended their goal drought through LukeBreust then, as is their way, found another,and suddenly the Swans’ lead, though not insignificant, did not represent full value for their dominance.

It also gave the Hawks hope and belief, that as badly as they had played their adversary had not landed a knockout blow.

The Hawks who the Swans had planned for but hitherto barely seen arrived with a rush early in the second half. They were now matching the Swans in the clinches. A game which had been completely in the Swans’ control was now shifting.

The symbolism in Paul Puopolo’sgoal irresistible; firstly in the manner it was constructed through Hawthorn’s abilityto break the lines and the authority in which Puopolo was able to brush aside the much smaller Jake Lloyd in a key one on one duel.

Alas for the Hawks, they were to have better chances to come but did not make enough of them