The Sydney Swans beat the Hawthorn Hawks by 10 points in the Australian Football League grand final to win their second premiership title.
The Swans were 28 points up early in the third quarter, fell 12 behind during the final term, then prevailed 14.7 (91) to 11.15 (81) in front of a crowd of 99,683 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Nick Malceski kicked Sydney’s first and last goals, sending his team 10 points clear with a snap shot 34 seconds from the end.
“It was two teams having a real crack and momentum changed a lot of the way,” Swans coach John Longmire said in a televised interview with Australia’s Seven Network. “In the end we had our nose in front when the siren went.”
The Swans, who won three Victorian Football League championships as South Melbourne before relocating to Australia’s biggest city in 1982, secured Sydney’s first AFL title in 2005. Today’s victory broke a five-year winning streak of teams from Victoria state, the game’s birthplace.
Melbourne-based Hawthorn, which finished atop the regular-season standings, had been seeking its second premiership in five seasons after upsetting defending champion Geelong in the 2008 grand final.
Swans midfielder Ryan O’Keefe won the Norm Smith Medal as the most valuable player after making 28 disposals and a 15 tackles in a game of goal bursts and momentum shifts.
“To the Hawks credit they came at us and came at us,” O’Keefe told the Seven Network. “We stuck at it. We don’t rely on one or two guys, we all just crack in.”
Sydney kicked six straight goals and held the Hawks to just one behind in the second quarter to turn a 19-point deficit into a 16-point lead at half time.
Hawthorn booted five straight goals in the third term to get back in front before Jarrad McVeigh goaled to give Sydney a one-point advantage at the final break.
The Hawks got the first two goals of the last quarter to go 11 points up, though Swans Dan Hannebery, Kieren Jack, Adam Goodes and Malceski kicked the final four six-pointers to seal the victory.
Malceski and Jack were among five Sydney players to boot a pair of goals, while Hawks forward Lance Franklin kicked a game-high three goals.