|Brownlow Medal||3 Lance 'Buddy' Franklin (SYD)||2 Luke Parker (SYD)||1 Marcus Bontempelli (WBULL)|
Having played out an enthralling match in their SCG encounter in their last meeting in May last year, one which result in a thrilling four-point win to the Dogs, one could hardly have expected Sydney and the Western Bulldogs to produce an equivalent event in their next encounter. However, that is exactly what they did, with the two heavyweights slugging it out in a match that contained several eerie similarities to last season's blockbuster, right down to the final margin of four points in the Bulldogs' favour.
Virtually the only point of difference between the two encounters was the weather, last year's match played out in wet and slippery conditions, while this time around there was no rain and the ground was in perfect order. Notwithstanding those differences, the final scores were close to identical, 77-73 the Bulldogs' way last year and 83-79 in favour of the Dogs this time with the Swans having more scoring shots in both matches.
With defences ruling early in proceedings, there was no score for the fist three minutes, a behind to Sydney's Gary Rohan the first. Another three minutes passed before the next score, a long,m running goal from Shane Biggs against his old side giving the Bulldogs the lead. The Dogs controlled the general play over the next few minutes, adding a behind through Lin Jong but Lance Franklin's first goal at the 16-minute mark signalled a turn of fortune and the Swans dominated the remainder of the term. They could only add one goal in that period though, via Jarrad McVeigh at the 21-minute mark, and misses from Franklin (two), Luke Parker and Dean Towers would ultimately prove costly. At quarter time, it was Sydney ahead 2.5 to 1.2.
Sydney got the first clearance of the second term and almost got the perfect start to the quarter but Towers' shot at goal hit the post. The Bulldogs then took complete control of the next 10 minutes and two majors to Jake Stringer, the second a magnificent boundary-line snap, gave them the lead, one which was extended to eight points when Marcus Bontempelli kicked a goal at the seven-minute mark. The Swans then settled and wrested back control and a goal to Luke Parker and a brace to Franklin, who was proving to be a real headache for the Dogs, had them back in front by 10 points. Jordan Roughead clawed one back for the Dogs but Callum Sinclair's first had Sydney ahead by 10 at the long break.
Things looked dangerous for the Bulldogs when Parker kicked the first goal of the second half, extending Sydney's lead to 16 points after two minutes but the red, white and blue turned the match on its head over the next 15 minutes, with goals to Stringer, Jack Redpath, Tom Liberatore, Lin Jong and Liberatore again suddenly putting them 14 points clear. Parker's third at the 25-minute mark had the Swans back with seven, but a snap from Lachie Hunter, in his 50th match, had the Dogs back out to a 13-point lead at 'orange' time.
The Swans added a couple of behinds to start the last quarter but a dreadful mistake from Dan Hannebery saw Will Minson, playing his first AFL match of 2016, get a 50-metre penalty after a free kick, which he converted to put the Bulldogs 17 points clear and on the cusp of victory. But Sydney had other ideas and hit back hard, with three goals - one to George Hewett and a fifth and sixth to Franklin - restoring the lead.
The Swans continued to attack but added only two behinds to be ahead by three points before the Dogs swept the ball forward. A snap from Redpath missed, cutting the margin to two points before a lovely short pass from Caleb Daniel saw Bontempelli marked, within range, with a minute left on the clock. Amazingly, Bontempelli then found Jason Johannisen, returning from a 10-week injury lay off, free further inside the 50 arc. Johannisen marked and coolly kicked accurately to put the Dogs four points ahead with two seconds remaining. The siren sounded shortly after the ensuing centre bounce and all 22 Bulldogs players rejoiced in an amazing victory.
Lachie Hunter celebrated his 50th match with a 31-touch, eight-mark, best-on-ground performance while Buddy Franklin's five goals and 10 marks stamped him as one of Sydney's best.
The result leaves both sides locked in a ruck of six sides between second and seventh on the ladder with a 10-4 record, just one win behind top-of-the-table Hawthorn. The Dogs will return home to Docklands to lay Richmond on Saturday night, while Sydney faces another tough encounter against Geelong at Kardinia park on Friday night.
Sydney: Franklin 5; Parker 3; Sinclair, McVeigh, Hewett
Western Bulldogs: Stringer 3; Liberatore 2; Bontempelli, Roughead, Redpath, Minson, Jong, Jonannisen, Hunter, Biggs
BEST - AFL.COM.AU
Sydney: Parker, Franklin, Kennedy, Hannebery, Jack, McVeigh
Western Bulldogs: Hunter, Bontempelli, Roughead, Johannisen, Picken, Daniel
BEST - THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
Sydney: Franklin, Parker, Kennedy, Hannebery, Rampe, McVeigh, Mills
Western Bulldogs: Hunter, Boyd, Morris, Liberatore, Bontempelli, Picken, Wallis, Johannisen
Western Bulldogs: Nil
UMPIRES: Fisher, Stevic, Schmitt, Findlay
TELEVISION BROADCAST: Fox Footy
COMMENTATORS: Dwayne Russell, Jason Dunstall, Gerard Healy, Barry Hall
|23||Franklin, Lance 'Buddy'||14||10||7||21||5||4||0||1||2||0||29y 154d||235||758|
|39||Grundy, Heath||7||4||6||13||0||0||0||2||1||0||30y 30d||201||23|
|4||Hannebery, Dan||17||6||16||33||0||1||0||7||0||1||25y 129d||158||76|
|5||Heeney, Isaac||3||2||1||4||0||0||0||5||0||0||20y 58d||28||33|
|29||Hewett, George||5||5||10||15||1||0||0||5||0||2||20y 186d||12||11|
|15||Jack, Kieren||14||3||12||26||0||0||0||1||0||1||29y 4d||199||136|
|10||Jones, Zak||6||2||7||13||0||0||0||4||2||0||21y 109d||27||3|
|12||Kennedy, Josh||11||3||23||34||0||0||0||5||1||1||28y 12d||171||100|
|11||Laidler, Jeremy||7||1||5||12||0||0||0||1||0||0||26y 332d||81||7|
|44||Lloyd, Jake||12||4||13||25||0||0||0||4||1||0||22y 286d||57||15|
|21||McGlynn, Ben||7||2||2||9||0||0||0||3||1||2||30y 331d||164||184|
|3||McVeigh, Jarrad||13||4||10||23||1||1||0||5||1||0||31y 86d||277||189|
|14||Mills, Callum||10||8||8||18||0||0||0||1||0||0||19y 91d||13||0|
|6||Mitchell, Tom||8||2||15||23||0||0||0||2||0||2||23y 32d||53||30|
|13||Nankervis, Toby||2||0||8||10||0||0||11||6||0||0||21y 325d||8||2|
|26||Parker, Luke||19||5||15||34||3||2||0||10||2||2||23y 251d||115||90|
|24||Rampe, Dane||14||9||4||18||0||0||0||2||0||2||26y 30d||86||5|
|16||Rohan, Gary||6||5||1||7||0||1||0||2||1||1||25y 25d||67||49|
|1||Rose, James||8||4||5||13||0||0||0||4||3||0||20y 77d||6||5|
|18||Sinclair, Callum||5||1||2||7||1||0||19||3||0||2||26y 283d||42||27|
|40||Smith, Nick||6||2||6||12||0||0||0||6||0||0||28y 20d||155||9|
|22||Towers, Dean||12||6||9||21||0||1||3||2||1||1||26y 59d||23||12|
|Western Bulldogs||Match Stats||Career|
|33||Adams, Marcus||8||2||5||13||0||0||0||3||2||1||23y 2d||11||0|
|24||Biggs, Shane||14||2||5||19||1||0||0||3||0||1||24y 332d||30||7|
|4||Bontempelli, Marcus||14||6||15||29||1||0||2||8||2||1||20y 221d||51||46|
|5||Boyd, Matthew||20||7||12||32||0||0||0||6||0||0||33y 310d||271||83|
|35||Daniel, Caleb||11||5||10||21||0||1||0||7||0||0||19y 361d||22||11|
|29||Dickson, Tory||4||3||7||11||0||1||0||3||1||2||28y 280d||67||112|
|7||Hunter, Lachie||23||8||8||31||1||0||0||4||2||0||21y 202d||50||22|
|39||Johannisen, Jason||12||4||8||20||1||0||0||4||1||1||23y 237d||52||16|
|46||Jong, Lin||8||2||12||20||1||1||1||3||2||1||23y 28d||30||19|
|21||Liberatore, Tom||11||2||4||15||2||1||0||9||0||2||24y 47d||91||31|
|11||Macrae, Jack||9||3||14||23||0||0||0||2||0||1||21y 334d||69||18|
|27||Minson, Will||4||1||2||6||1||0||24||3||2||0||31y 82d||190||81|
|38||Morris, Dale||4||5||8||12||0||0||0||2||0||2||33y 186d||221||3|
|42||Picken, Liam||13||7||15||28||0||0||0||5||1||0||29y 336d||164||52|
|43||Redpath, Jack||6||3||1||7||1||1||1||0||0||0||25y 202d||22||37|
|23||Roughead, Jordan||8||4||3||11||1||0||20||5||0||1||25y 242d||102||20|
|14||Smith, Clay||6||2||10||16||0||0||1||6||0||0||23y 52d||35||17|
|9||Stringer, Jake||5||2||4||9||3||0||0||2||1||2||22y 68d||64||123|
|1||Suckling, Matt||11||1||3||14||0||0||0||1||0||0||27y 343d||112||56|
|3||Wallis, Mitch||8||4||17||25||0||0||0||2||1||0||23y 252d||90||38|
|19||Webb, Lukas||4||1||10||14||0||0||0||0||1||1||20y 120d||11||1|
|10||Wood, Easton||11||7||5||16||0||0||0||2||1||0||26y 302d||96||13|