Sydney’s AFL season is alive and kicking, with the Swans breaking Richmond’s hearts with a stunning come-from-behind nine-point win at the MCG.
The Swans kicked eight of the last nine goals of Saturday’s engrossing contest to claim the 12.8 (80) to 10.11 (71) win in front of 58,721 fans.
But it could come at a cost after Lance Franklin went into the umpire’s book in the second quarter for a front-on bump on Connor Menadue that collected him high.
Fans were given the Alex Rance-Franklin match-up they’d wanted and Rance took the points, keeping his opponent to one goal.
The pair were at each other all day in an often spiteful, always enthralling, one-on-one battle.
The Tigers led from the early minutes but Kieren Jack put his side in front with a brilliant goal in heavy traffic with just under six minutes to go in the final term.
A pulsating last quarter went up another notch as Richmond tried to claw back the lead but Gary Rohan sealed the memorable win with a goal with eight seconds left.
Sydney have now won five of their past six matches to move to 12th on the ladder, one game outside the eight, after starting the season with six losses.
“We know we haven’t got much wiggle room,” John Longmire said of his team’s rekindled finals hopes.
“That’s pretty clear, we know that. The players know it, the coaches know it and we know we have to bring our maximum effort every week from now on.
“To our credit, after not bringing it in the first half, we were able to turn that around.
“It should give the players some real confidence to be able to do that during the course of a game.”
The Tigers were looking to tighten their grip on a top-four spot but instead suffered their fourth loss this season by nine points or less.
Richmond kicked the first six goals of the game and led by 36 points in the second quarter before Sydney mounted their fightback.
Longmire’s men couldn’t match the Tigers’ blistering pace early but got back into the game via their improved contested work.
The margin was 25 points at halftime and shrank to 13 at the last break, setting up the breathtaking finale.
“We just weren’t good enough for long enough and they came over the top,” Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said.
“(We) had a really strong focus on controlling their scores from stoppages, which is a strength of their’s, and they kicked four (goals) in the last quarter.
“We just couldn’t get that part right, which is pretty disappointing because we did it pretty well for three quarters.
“They lifted their work rate in and around the contest and we just weren’t able to match it.”