Sydney are through to the AFL grand final after a nail-biting one-point win against Collingwood in the preliminary final at the SCG – with a controversial umpiring decision coming at a crucial time.
The Swans will meet Geelong in the decider next Saturday, but it might have been the Magpies moving forward if a call wasn’t given to Tom Papley in the last quarter.
As Collingwood surged mid-way through the last quarter in a bid to get back into the game, Papley was awarded a mark deep inside 50 where the ball appeared to hit the ground as he attempted to control it.
Just prior to the ball arriving, Papley appeared to plant two hands in the back of Darcy Moore and push the Collingwood defender, allowing himself the space to then get two hands to the ball.
Papley has three!
What’s your decision on the mark? pic.twitter.com/TfCzjpRKvo
— 7AFL (@7AFL) September 17, 2022
As a result, Papley kicked the Swans’ only goal of the last quarter and pushed the margin out to 20 points, making the mountain to climb even bigger for the Magpies.
It was desperately unlucky for Collingwood to have that decision not go their way, because there appeared to be two reasons why it wasn’t a mark.
When a game is decided to less than a kick, such a decision is always going to cause controversy.
You could also say the Magpies only have themselves to blame for having such a poor start to the game – conceding the first four goals.
Swans machine keeps on rolling
If you had said two years ago that Paddy McCartin and Tom McCartin would be among the premier defenders in the competition, you would have been told you were crazy.
The McCartin brothers did a brilliant job to quell the influence of Brody Mihocek and Ash Johnson, while important supporting roles were played by the likes of Robbie Fox and Dane Rampe.
Sydney’s pressure throughout the opening stages of the match was elite and set up the crucial early lead that they just managed to hold on.
Despite being so young, they are a team that works together so effectively and efficiently – like Geelong.
What a game of chess that’s going to be next week.
Collingwood star Jordan De Goey had a magnificent first two finals but he went missing when it counted on the big stage at the SCG.
The midfielder only managed 12 disposals as he failed to break the shackles of Luke Parker’s close-checking.
He looked dispirited by his struggle to get into the game and never at any point did it look like he was capable of driving the Magpies home.
You have to wonder if Craig McRae wishes he moved De Goey forward while he was struggling with the tag and got Jamie Elliott into the midfield.
Elliott kicked a couple of majors but also missed two he would normally kick and battled to have an impact in a congested forward 50 area, as Sydney flooded back in numbers.
Maybe Elliott could have provided a drive through the midfield and De Goey could have had an impact up forward – who knows?