It seemed fitting that in his 350th game for the Sydney Swans, club stalwart and Australian of the year Adam Goodes should kick his side’s first goal, launching what ultimately became a demolition of the North Melbourne Kangaroos, who went down by 12 goals, the biggest winning margin in a final.
The Swans won 19.22.136 to the Kangaroos 9.11.65 in front of just over 48,000 fans at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium, putting them and Goodes in their 4th grand final in the past decade.
North Melbourne started optimistically, kicking the first goal, before Goodes, in his typically sweeping style, curved around from the right side boundary, then landed a snap with just as much bend, going on to kick three for the night.
There’s talk of Goodes finishing up this year, but his performance last night demonstrated that while he lacks the Road Runner speed of Lewis Jetta, who kicked one, he’s still Wile E Coyote around the paddock, his defence strong, as Levi Greenwood found when he was run down, while Goodes’ dash up the wing created a trinity with Franklin and Tippett, who goaled after the half time siren.
Despite a tentative start from the Swans, they soon ran over the Kangaroos in a team effort that suggests their second flag in 3 years is a strong possibility.
Luke Parker had a cracker, taking the mark of the night and landing 3 goals. Best of all, Gary Rohan had another strong match and the win is a personal redemption for him after missing out on the 2012 grand final when he broke his ankle against North Melbourne two years ago, to end his season.
Of course the Swans and their fans got what they paid for from the $10 million man, Buddy Franklin, who booted five and now finds himself in back-to-back grandfinals – possibly against his former team, Hawthorn, who take on Port Adelaide at the MCG tonight.
Franklin’s performance was in stark contrast to the team’s round 4 loss to the Roos, when Buddy was kept scoreless and many wondered if the team had done their dosh. His turnaround in 2014 is the story of the club’s success – from its opening round loss to GWS to the Grand Final next week. And those who fretted about Buddy’s impact on Swans’ “no dickheads” rule are all feeling a bit dickhead-ish now. Yes, this writer included. You Buddy geniuses.
Franklin was backed up by Kurt Tippet, who reversed a recent slump with four goals.
As is often the case with the Swans, as good as Franklin is on attack, it’s the side’s defence which brings victory. They shut down North Melbourne with clinical precision, with Goodes and Buddy leading the way and Harry Cunningham humbling Roos star Brent Harvey.
Sam Reid is the only injury concern for the Swans, but looks set to make it to the big one next week. By 8pm tonight we’ll know if it’s going to be a 2012 rematch against the Hawks.
With Buddy now a Swan, it’s the match all but South Australian fans want.
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