Grieving Swans end Cats' AFL record run - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Grieving Swans end Cats' AFL record run

By Sam Lienert 27/08/2011 07:04:54 PM Comments (0)

Grieving dad Jarrad McVeigh was absent, but the Sydney co-captain's inspirational effect was clear as the Swans ended a record Geelong winning streak at Skilled Stadium on Saturday and confirm an AFL finals berth.

Coach John Longmire said his players showed the same spirit in the gritty upset 15.9 (99) to 12.14 (86) victory, that McVeigh, whose four-week-old daughter Luella died midweek, had displayed in leading the team to a win over St Kilda in the previous round.

"It was obviously a tough week, the players I thought responded amazingly well today, really all week, the way they prepared," Longmire said.

"After hearing the tragic news on Wednesday, they went about their business and prepared well on Thursday and executed it really well today.

"You just couldn't help but think of the way Macca led the team last week under pretty tough circumstances, that everyone looked at that as an example and followed it to a tee."

The emotion was tangible in the Swans rooms afterwards, which Longmire put down both to the sorrow felt for McVeigh and his family and the significance of the victory.

It was the first time Geelong had lost at home in four years, ending a 29-game streak for the Cats, the most by an AFL club at any venue.

As well as sewing up Sydney's finals spot, it kept them well in contention for a home final.

Combined with the previous round's similarly gutsy win over the Saints, it signalled the Swans are capable of causing some damage in the finals, rather than just getting there.

Sydney's win was built on the hallmarks of the Swans at their best - their ferocity in contested situations and ability to stifle opponents.

They out-tackled the Cats, won more of the contested ball and thrashed Geelong in the clearance count, 56-34.

McVeigh's co-captain Adam Goodes was outstanding, particularly in the second half, with his ability to sweep the ball out of midfield congestion, as well as proving a frequent danger near goals.

But he had plenty of help at ground level, with Ben McGlynn, Ryan O'Keefe, Jude Bolton, Daniel Hannebery and Kieren Jack all making significant midfield contributions.

The Swans shared the goals, with 11 kickers, including two important snapped majors by 19-year-old Luke Parker in the final term to seal victory.

Cats coach Chris Scott said the result meant little and the ending of their home ground streak even less, but their difficulty coping with the Swans pressure was a concern.

"The pressure's only going to get more intense from here-on in, so if we continue to do that, we'll continue to get beaten," Scott said.

But he was confident the second-placed Cats, who were coming off the bye, would improve that aspect and said it was great to be tested so close to finals, with another ideal tune-up coming against Collingwood on Friday night.

Cats key defender Harry Taylor was forced off with concussion late in the first half.

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