John Longmire reacts to a controversial umpiring decision in the final seconds. Picture: Fox Footy
John Longmire reacts to a controversial umpiring decision in the final seconds. Picture: Fox Footy

Were Swans robbed? Longmire bites tongue

Swans coach John Longmire struggled to mask his frustration at an umpiring howler in the dying stages that robbed Sydney a shot at a memorable derby upset.

Sam Reid went up for what would have been a game-defining mark with moments left on the clock and 25m out, and although Longmire stopped short of declaring an error was made, he made his point clearly as he called into question post-match whether GWS defender Jake Stein had dragged down Reid's arm.

Reid would have had a shot at goal from a very kickable range to steal the game, and refused to say anything more post-match than it was "a close" call.

The Giants won by three points.

Asked whether the Swans were on the receiving end of some rough decisions in the final chaotic seconds of the closets Sydney derby in history, Longmire gagged himself from elaborating on his obvious frustration.

"I don't know whether Reidy got grabbed in the marking contest or not, who knows," said Longmire.

"Yeah, I don't know whether it was a mark or anyone grabbed him on the arm, I don't know.

"I haven't spoken to (Reid)."

 

Sydney’s Sam Reid wasn’t paid a free kick in this marking contest. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Sydney’s Sam Reid wasn’t paid a free kick in this marking contest. Picture: Phil Hillyard

 

Fox Footy expert Jonathan Brown said umpires were right to call play on.

"It was the right call, that wasn't a mark. Another split second and it was but correct decision," Brown said on Fox Footy.

"I don't think he did (control it)."

Reid Reid was devastated at the heartbreak but played down the decision.

"It was close but what can you do?" he said post-game.

"It opened the door a touch for them and couldn't get it back."

 

 

The Giants were able to hold on in the final 30 seconds despite repeat forward 50 entries for the Swans to secure win number 12 for the season and keep its top-four hopes alive.

"It was just chaos really," GWS midfielder Jacob Hopper, who won the Brett Kirk Medal after 26 disposals and three goals, said of the final minute.

"I think a lot of structures sometimes go out the window and it's just about who can win the pill."

The Giants had been favourites to win the day with ease but instead they found themselves pushed all the way by the Swans in the closest ever Sydney derby - a tremendous arm wrestle in front of 16,116 fans.

Kevin Sheedy had talked war ahead of the clash and the two sides exchanged fire in entertaining fashion.

 

GWS players celebrate on the final siren. Picture: Phil Hillyard
GWS players celebrate on the final siren. Picture: Phil Hillyard

 

The home side went into the match minus Coleman Medal favourite Jeremy Cameron but remained firm pre-match favourites, especially with the Swans' backline missing both Dane Rampe and Colin O'Riordan.

But it was the visitors who got off to the brighter start with Tom Papley bagging two majors inside the first five minutes - both quality efforts.

And when Nick Blakey picked out Ben Ronke, the Swans had a third.

The Giants finally got themselves on the board through Lachie Keeffe with Lachie Whitfield then thumping the ball home and the gap was down to four points.

But back came the visitors through Dan Menzel and Jordan Dawson as the Swans continued to make the most of their opportunities at a sunbathed Giants Stadium.

 

 

Harry Himmelberg's first of the afternoon - and 32nd of the season - brought the gap back to nine as the end of the first quarter approached.

It was a painful end to the opening quarter for Jeremy Finlayson, who dislocated a finger as he took a mark and then fired off target.

Five goals to three in favour of the visitors.

 

Ian ‘Bobby’ Hill impressed in the first half. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Ian ‘Bobby’ Hill impressed in the first half. Picture: Phil Hillyard

 

BOBBY DAZZLER

But if the first quarter belonged to the Swans, the second saw the Giants wrestle back control.

Toby Greene, Hopper and Himmelberg struck to put the home side in front for the first time in the contest and although Isaac Heeney pounced to keep his side within reach, a moment of Bobby Hill magic, as he accelerated past James Rowbottom, saw the home side establish a 13 point lead.

"If you don't like this kid, you don't like football," roared the Triple M commentary team.

 

WONDERFUL WILLIAMS

Zac Williams put together an outstanding first two quarters, racking up 22 disposals and eight marks.

The Swans struggled to find any answer to negate his influence.

Former red and white star Jude Bolton said in commentary that Williams had simply "cut the Swans to pieces" in the opening half. Hopper and Whitfield (15 disposals apiece) also excelled.

Jake Lloyd collected 17 disposals for the Swans who found themselves trailing 8.5.53 to 6.4.40 at the main interval.

The home side also had the advantage in hit outs (28-14) and clearances (27-14).

 

Zac Williams was outstanding for the Giants. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Zac Williams was outstanding for the Giants. Picture: Phil Hillyard

 

TIGHTER TUSSLE

Finlayson struck seven minutes into the third and the lead was 21 points for the home side.

But the Giants were far from out of sight.

"You don't want to give a sucker an even break," Bolton warned in commentary as the Swans refused to go away.

Heeney wasn't about to lie down and got one back as the clock ticked over to 15 minutes in the third. And when Ronke banged over another the visitors were right back in it, the gap just eight points after a spell of dominance from John Longmire's men.

And the Swans, their tails firmly up, struck again with a terrific Heeney snap. Game on!

The Giants badly needed a response and it came from the boot of Brent Daniels.

George Hewett kept close tabs on Williams in the third while Finlayson's arm on a goalbound effort meant only a behind for the Giants after a review.

And as the siren sounded, Nick Blakey calmly popped over from 40 metres to leave the Giants with just a five-point advantage.

 

A shattered Isaac Heeney, Tom Papley and Sam Reid after Sydney’s narrow loss. Picture: Phil Hillyard
A shattered Isaac Heeney, Tom Papley and Sam Reid after Sydney’s narrow loss. Picture: Phil Hillyard

 

DRAMA TO THE DEATH

The first goal of the final quarter was Clarke's - an outstanding finish - and the Swans were in front by a point.

Heeney saw two chances to blow out the advantage miss the mark as the clash remained in the balance.

The seesaw battle was back in the home side's favour when Finlayson kicked home and Hopper - tremendous for the home team - opened up a little more daylight 16 minutes into the final quarter - a 10 point gap.

Greene also made a fantastic contribution for Cameron's men, again racking up more than 30 disposals in a contest and more than putting in a shift on the tackles and marks front.

But that man Heeney found his shooting boots with five minutes to play and the gap was just three.

With seconds to go Sam Reid nearly pulled down a mark that would have given him a shot to win the game and the Giants were home.

 

 

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A visibly frustrated John Longmire in the coaches’ box. Picture: Fox Footy
A visibly frustrated John Longmire in the coaches’ box. Picture: Fox Footy