Swans storm home to steal win over Blues - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Swans storm home to steal win over Blues

By Sam Lienert 20/07/2008 06:56:56 PM Comments (0)

Carlton are refusing to give up on their dwindling AFL finals hopes, despite succumbing to an undermanned Sydney in a two-point thriller at Telstra Dome.

The Blues led by 28 points at several stages during the second quarter, before the Swans lifted their game to win 18.13 (121) to 18.11 (119) and shore up their top four berth.

Carlton slumped to 11th position, six points shy of eighth-placed North Melbourne with six rounds to play, but Blues coach Brett Ratten said it was not yet time to start thinking about next season.

"There's always that glimmer of hope sitting there and not that far," Ratten said.

"We spoke about that after the game, that there's been some interesting results this week already and I daresay there's going to be a lot more interesting results ... things can change very quickly in this game.

"Maybe (we have) a bit of the never-say-never attitude that if we keep putting our best foot forward, we've got the Bulldogs next week here and that's our next challenge and you just never know."

Despite the loss, there were plenty of positives for the Blues, most notably the performance of youngster Bryce Gibbs on Sydney superstar Adam Goodes.

Gibbs dominated their duel, keeping the dual Brownlow Medallist to just three touches in the first three quarters, while winning plenty of the ball himself.

Although Goodes managed two second-half goals after being moved forward, even then Gibbs outpointed the bigger Swan in several one-on-one marking contests to show his versatility.

"We're seeing a kid that can play pretty much any position on the field, but you can really see his belief in his own (ability to) impose himself on the game," Ratten said of the 19-year-old.

The return to form of Brendan Fevola, who booted five goals, was a big plus for the Blues, as was a strong comeback from Andrew Walker, in his first senior match after pre-season surgery to his right shoulder.

Walker finished on the bench after hurting his "good" shoulder, but Ratten said it was not believed to be serious.

"It was more precautionary, do we take the risk, could something terrible go wrong?" he said

"... If we went back out there and he reinjured it and that was the season, it would be a bad way to finish the season, so we thought let's get it scanned and look after him."

Ratten also praised his team's fighting spirit, Carlton kicking the last three goals after the Swans looked to have taken charge.

"That's the disappointing part about it, that you give that much of an effort and you just come up a fraction short," Ratten said.

Swans coach Paul Roos labelled it a "special" victory for his side, given they lost full-forward Michael O'Loughlin and full-back Leo Barry to injury, with Goodes and Ryan O'Keefe playing through pain.

Jude Bolton sparked the visitors with a succession of midfield clearances during the middle stages of the match to turn the tide, while O'Keefe (three goals) and Jarrad McVeigh (four) made valuable forward contributions.

The stopping jobs of Brett Kirk, on Chris Judd, and Luke Ablett, on Nick Stevens, were also vital.

"You get four points for all of them, but some wins are a bit better," Roos said.

"We were down and out and had a number of players on the bench that couldn't come back on ... (it) was a terrific effort from our guys."

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