JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Gutsiest win was a true epic

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Swans clinch Premiership in epic Grand Final

Sydney Swans beat Hawthorn by 10 points in one of the all time great AFL Grand Finals.

PT0M0S 620 349

SYDNEY 1.4  7.4  10.5  14.7 (91)
HAWTHORN 4.5  4.6  9.10  11.15 (81)
GOALS: Sydney: Kennedy 2, McVeigh 2, Jack 2, Morton 2, Malceski 2, Goodes, Hannebery,  Roberts-Thomson, Reid. Hawthorn:  Franklin 3,  Hale 2,  Gunston 2,  Breust 2,  Smith,  Ellis.
BEST: Sydney:  O’Keefe, Hannebery, Pyke, McVeigh, Roberts-Thomson, Goodes,  Johnson,  Kennedy.
Hawthorn: Franklin, Sewell, Mitchell, Gibson.
INJURIES: Sydney: Goodes (knee), Johnson (elbow).
Hawthorn: Hodge (cut eye), Ellis (leg).
UMPIRES: Rosebury, Stevic, Meredith.
CROWD: 99,683 at the MCG.

AFL Grand Final 2012 at The MCG , Hawthorn v Sydney Swans , Saturday 29th of September 2012 , Photo Pat Scala The Age Click for more photos

AFL Grand Final Hawthorn vs Swans at the MCG

A nail-biting Grand Final at the MCG Saturday 29th September 2012 between Hawthorn and Sydney Swans Photo: Pat Scala

HAS there been a better grand final? Arguably not. Has there been a gutsier win than Sydney's 10-point triumph over a warm favourite? While it's easy to bask in hyperbole in the afterglow of an absolute epic, it's hard to think of one.

Football drama, certainly, doesn't get any better than this. A belter of a game, which twisted this way then that, and was signed off with a nail-biting classic, the result in doubt until the moment Nick Malceski's hurried, high snap floated over the goal line to sink the final dagger into Hawthorn's heart with just 34 seconds left on the clock.

Hawthorn will be shattered. Its best this year was beautiful to watch, powerful and skilful. But the Hawks weren't allowed to be quite at their best when it mattered most, against an opponent that wanted the rewards just as much, and simply found a little bit more come crunch time.

Adam Goodes celebrates after the final siren.

Adam Goodes celebrates after the final siren. Photo: Wayne Taylor

That was Hawthorn's role in the drama when it famously won the 2008 premiership against a side that had lost one game for the season. Yesterday, it was the Hawks' turn to be on the receiving end of the upset.

In retrospect, though, not a huge upset. Sydney spent most of the year battling for acknowledgment despite consistent results. But its spirit is huge and there'll never be a better example than yesterday's triumph.

This was a victory won against all sorts of odds. The Swans had won just one of 15 previous outings on the MCG, Hawthorn's home ground. They had a score of players out on their feet at the end: co-captain Adam Goodes, hobbled by a knee injury early, just one; Jarrad McVeigh, superb all day, and defender Ted Richards two more.

Sam Reid celebrates a goal.

Sam Reid celebrates a goal. Photo: Pat Scala

They were smashed for inside 50 entries, contested possession and clearances, won just 10 free kicks for the game to Hawthorn's 21 and had 21 scoring shots to 26. Yet still they emerged with a famous premiership win.

Sydney looked under the weather several times. Early, when jumped with four goals to just one. Again in the third term, when Hawthorn finally exploded into life with five goals in 10 minutes, a compelling response to their own run of eight unanswered goals. And once more early in the last, when the Hawks launched attack after attack, kicked the first two goals of the term to take an 11-point lead and had a chance through Lance Franklin to make it 17. But John Longmire's side just finds a way to win.

The Swans could have been spooked by Hawthorn's start. Only a few misses kept the scoreline relatively close as Franklin became an unlikely possession leader for his team and Sam Mitchell won plenty of ball and clearances. Then the Hawks found the target as well. Buddy converted from 50, Hawthorn now starting to get bang for its buck and enjoying a whopping 14-5 edge on the inside 50 count.

Two more telling blows were landed within a minute just on quarter-time. Hawthorn's pressure was telling, the Swans banging the ball in hurriedly and inevitably watching it rebound with more impact. A classic example was Nick Smith's clumsy kick into the Swans' scoring zone, back it came with interest, Paul Puopolo's hoick off the ground ending with Luke Breust, via Clinton Young, and another goal.

From the restart, another Mitchell clearance found Jack Gunston, the gap moved to 19 points, and only half-a-second prevented it being 25, Liam Shiels ''goal'' a fraction too late.

But if there were already queries about Sydney's capacity to withstand the storm, they were about to be answered in spectacular fashion - and quickly. Josh Kennedy lit the spark within a minute. There was some Hawthorn disquiet about the next reply, Lewis Roberts-Thomson nailed in a tackle by Young, which went unrewarded, a quick kick from Adam Goodes landing in Kieren Jack's lap.

You could see the scoreboard shift, but feel the momentum shifting as well. The Swans were winning the outside and the inside battle now, Goodes ever-present, Lewis Jetta providing plenty of run. Sam Reid, fumbly early, straightened up when it mattered, the last link in a beautiful chain of possession between Alex Johnson out of defence, Malceski and Hannebery, Reid's cool conversion on the run putting the Swans in front for the first time. From there came the obligatory critical grand final cameo.

Mitch Morton was considered a borderline selection for this game, but didn't take long to show why he found his way in with the last pair of goals before half-time. The first came after more hard work from Goodes, ferreting the ball from the bottom of a pack and feeding out a handball to the former Tiger, who almost in slow motion turned on to his right and curled a snap just over the goal line.

Three minutes later, the same combination was at work again, this time a Goodes soccer found Morton in a little more space, space he duly made use of, selling a baulk and snapping a second.

It was six goals to zip, a 16-point lead, the Hawks a little stunned - with a heap of work to do to salvage the game - and with a heap of talent required. Should it surprise that both qualities again came to the fore?

Sydney had the margin out to 28 points when the giant stirred again. A free kick and goal to David Hale started the ball rolling. Franklin would impose himself on the contest again with two more booming goals from outside 50. Gunston converted a chip from Paul Puopolo. Then Smith, taking his cue from Buddy, launched another long bomb after another Mitchell centre-square clearance win. It was some burst. Five goals in 10 minutes, the vocal brown-and-gold hordes screaming encouragement. Suddenly, the Hawks were back in front.

It would take something special to thwart the favourite from here, despite McVeigh's steadier a couple of minutes before three-quarter-time.

That was even more so a tick over two minutes into the final term, by which time Hawthorn had added a couple more, from Breust, who sprinted into the open goal to capitalise on the fruits of a huge Franklin tackle, then big man Hale, who was fed from a handball by Mitchell.

But the Swans responded, they found something. Midfield stars Ryan O'Keefe, who'd tackled like a man possessed all day, and the far-older-than-his-years Hannebery, courageous and prolific, found another gear. It was Hannebery whose goal on the run gave his side hope. Jack who levelled the scores after Morton had won a critical one-on-two contest against Hawk defenders Ryan Schoenmakers and Josh Gibson, and Young had taken an untimely slip in the defensive goal square.

Goodes, sore and hobbling, held his ground enough to bounce one through as the Swans wrenched back the upper hand. Fate began to desert the Hawks, Gunston hit the post to reduce the gap to an even goal, thoughts momentarily wandering to the prospect of a second grand final tie in three years. Brad Sewell, heroic for virtually every minute of this epic for the Hawks, had two speculative, difficult snaps. Both missed. Jetta, tiring, couldn't make the distance from just on 50 metres.

One final goal-front scrimmage. One last stoppage. Enter Malceski. Six years ago, he'd kicked the final goal of a grand final, one that left the Swans one agonising point short of West Coast. This one, which got them over the line, is already destined to be one of the most famous snaps in football history, in one of the very best flag-deciders we've been fortunate to witness.

154 comments

  • The season started in Sydney and justifiable ended with Sydney! Perfect ending for the season!

    Commenter
    Sydney!
    Date and time
    September 29, 2012, 5:51PM
    • Was a perfect ending because both are great teams and was played in the right spirit of the game. Well done Swans and Hawks

      Commenter
      Andrew
      Date and time
      September 29, 2012, 6:20PM
    • It boils down to this...Sydney 1 Melbourne 0

      Commenter
      bradns
      Date and time
      September 30, 2012, 8:55AM
  • Never really like hawks but it was a great game! Swans well deserved winner and the best team of the year!

    Commenter
    James
    Date and time
    September 29, 2012, 6:05PM
    • Agree!!

      Commenter
      kywong73
      Location
      sydney (northen beaches)
      Date and time
      September 29, 2012, 8:31PM
  • Well done Swannies, really enjoyed seeing the smirks well and truly wiped off Clarkson's and Kennett's faces... and hopefully the Melbourne media will be a little less parochial next, all things equal surely this must be the start of a great Swans era :)

    Commenter
    Ha Ha Hawthorn
    Date and time
    September 29, 2012, 6:13PM
    • I don't think it's the start of an era. Not like Geelong from 2007-2011 anyway. The swans are to old to start it, I'd say this is almost the end of an era for them. Goodes is amazing, and really pivotal for them, and he'd be retiring in two or three years. So, I doubt this is the start of anything. Great play by the swans today though. Congrats to them!

      Commenter
      deylan9
      Date and time
      September 29, 2012, 6:33PM
    • @deylan9 are you kidding? Start of nothing??? How many young players in the Sydney side playing their first grand final??? We are in a fantastic phase that can only get better as the likes of Lewis Jetta, Sam Reid, Alex Johnston, Mike Pyke etc work their way in to the game and make their mark. Maybe Adam Goodes, Ryan O'Keffe, Jude Bolton etc are close to retirement but you didn't see them sitting back today they still have a lot to offer. Ted Richards is OUTSTANDING, LRT still has heaps to offer and is an incredible asset. Shame that only the fans take the Swans seriously but it makes winning all the more sweeter.

      Commenter
      Kate
      Location
      sydney
      Date and time
      September 29, 2012, 8:24PM
    • @deylan, the 'old Swans' is a misnomer. Names like Jetta, Reid, Kennedy, Parker, Jack, Hannebury, Smith, Mumford, Johnstone, Morton from the premiership side are all 25 & under, then throw in players who missed in that age group like Rohan, McGlynn, Mitchell, Armstrong, Walsh, Dennis-Lane, Lockyer. The future is still very bright for the Swans. Congratulations lads, couldn't be prouder!

      Commenter
      Valo (proud Swans supporter)
      Date and time
      September 30, 2012, 8:27AM
    • No, apparently the bookies have already installed the 'Skawks' as favourite for 2013 flag! Swans on third line of betting........Do they ever learn???????????????

      Commenter
      stevo60
      Location
      Victoria
      Date and time
      September 30, 2012, 10:42AM

More comments

Comments are now closed

Related Coverage

Swans clinch Premiership in epic Grand Final (Thumbnail) Swans clinch Premiership in epic Grand Final

Sydney Swans beat Hawthorn by 10 points in one of the all time great AFL Grand Finals.

Epic Grand Final one for the ages (Thumbnail) Epic Grand Final one of the all time greats

Fresh from a heart stopping AFL Grand Final AGE footy writers Rohan Connolly and Martin Flanagan reflect on Sydney's epic 10 point win over Hawthorn.

Bloods spirit triumphs in the end

By Swans standards it was a blowout but you may get an argument from their supporters, who left the MCG yesterday with their nails bitten to the quick.

O'Keefe on a new path to victory

At one stage, Norm Smith medallist Ryan O'Keefe had considered leaving the Swans. He's glad he didn't.

AFL Grand Final 2012 at the MCG Hawthorn V Sydney Sydney Swans supporters celebrate a goal AFL Grand Final Hawthorn vs Swans at the MCG

A nail-biting Grand Final at the MCG Saturday 29th September 2012 between Hawthorn and Sydney Swans

Battle-scarred veterans refuse to surrender

There is a saying that once you cross the white line, you are 100 per cent fit, but in reality, in grand final week after six months of crash and bash and a preseason of toil, that is not the case.

Grand final 2012: the top moments

Highlights from a match full of them.

Spirit of the Bloods leads to premiership

The Sydney Swans will never know how they won this premiership, except that it is the way they always win.

The luckiest man counts his blessings

Mitch Morton finally achieves his life-long ambition of playing in a premiership team.

Blood, sweat and cheers

John Longmire took Adam Goodes at his word - each time he asked - and the Sydney Swans were rewarded with a premiership.

Fans witness a great heist on grand final day

Most premierships are foregone conclusions by the time living minutes become dying seconds in the twilight of grand final day. Many are anti-climactic and usually the short-priced favourite gets up.

Celebrations continue for Swans

The celebrations are continuing for AFL premiers Sydney, with the team meeting fans in Melbourne before flying home.

Hawks blew it, says club legend Matthews

Hawthorn legend Leigh Matthews says his former club blew the chance at a second flag in five years due to lack of composure in front of goal.

Featured advertisers