Bombers down Swans to remain in finals hunt


Conor McKenna was a weapon with his scything runs while his counter-attacking partner Adam Saad was forced to play a more accountable role and won some important contests late.

Dylan Shiel was influential in the packs but his stocks will soar when he can improve his field kicking.

In a game where scoring chances were limited, David Zaharakis’ three goals were invaluable.

The Swans did a lot right. Their gamble not to play a specialist ruck was a winner with Aliir Aliir one of the best afield.

What they lost with his intercept marking they gained with his play around the ground. It was not uncommon to see him roving the hit-outs of his opponent Zac Clarke.

Josh Kennedy and Isaac Heeney won plenty of the ball but seldom were the Swans able to break clear into space.

The Bombers began at a faster tempo to the Swans, who were prepared to inch their way forward with caution – their aim seemingly to maintain possession more so than gaining possession.

Neither method proved conducive to scoring, though the Dons were at least locking the ball inside their forward line only to spurn several chances in front of goal they should have converted.

Their entries inside 50 left much to be desired as well though that had as much to do with their midfielders and forwards not being on the same page as poor skill execution.

Both teams’ forward structure was unorthodox to say the least, sometimes by design. At one point, the prolific Heeney, who seemed to have brought his own ball to the game, marked just inside the centre square and had to hold the play for several seconds to wait for his teammates to push forward and make an option.

The Bombers lost their shape in the third quarter. Unable to win their share of the contested ball, the Dons had pushed up so high that they did not have a long target. It was fodder for Rampe and Jake Lloyd, who were able to rebound without much pressure.

Dictated to for the previous two terms, the Dons took the game on in the last term, breaking it open with four consecutive goals.

MERRETT’S MOMENT

Zach Merrett has forged a reputation as one of the game’s best inside midfielders but he had a couple of minutes he would rather forget in the second quarter.

Backing into no-man’s land, the star midfielder attempted to mark a clearing kick with one hand and could not control the ball. A turnover ensued which led to a goal to Luke Parker.

Some might have given Merrett the benefit of the doubt but not Tom Papley, who gestured to the star Bomber that he had ducked his head.

At the next centre square contest, Merrett attempted to run through George Hewett only to come off second best.

BOOS FOR RAMPE

Bombers fans have not forgotten Dane Rampe’s goalpost climbing from round eight. There were a loud chorus of boos almost every time the Sydney skipper had his hands on the ball.

It did not seem to affect Rampe, who is making a compelling case for a second All-Australian blazer.

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