Gutsy Swans hold off late North onslaught
NORTH Melbourne's Tasmanian kryptonite struck again as Sydney kept its unblemished record in the Tasmania intact in a pulsating clash.
An electric second quarter - which saw the Swans pile on the first six majors including a goal of the year contender to Tom Papley to overturn a nine point deficit at the first break - set up the 11.11 (77) to 10.12 (72) victory in Hobart to keeps their finals pulse alive.
Papley's fourth goal to open the last quarter pushed the Swans to a seemingly comfortable 33-point buffer, before the Roos launched a stunning onslaught to kick the last four majors of the game as they locked the ball in their forward half.
Cameron Zurhaar, Jy Simpkin and Robbie Tarrant all goaled to keep the momentum rolling, before a Shaun Higgins snap with two minutes remaining was called touched and sent for a review, which looked set to see the charge run out of steam.
However Jared Polec nailed a 45m set shot from the boundary 40 seconds later to set up a nail biting finish and the Roos won the following centre clearance to again surge.
A huge tackle from Callum Mills allowed Sydney's under siege backline to hold its nerve, with the siren sounding as North pumped the ball forward one last time as the visitors clung to a win which improves them to 3-6 in 2019.
North has meanwhile slumped to 2-7 to have its faint finals aspirations all but extinguished, heaping more pressure on coach Brad Scott but he remains steadfast it will be business as usual moving forward and the club won't deviate from their path.
"We are all about development, it wouldn't change if we were 7-2, for three years we have said we need to build our midfield.
"We have to develop our younger players, irrespective of win-loss."
"We were disappointed we were trying to play perfect footy in the conditions, our kick to handball ratio wasn't what we wanted it to be and funnily enough once we addressed that we started to look better going forward.
"It was disappointing that it was failure to adapt to the way the game was being played in the conditions in the second quarter, it doesn't make a lot of sense because you have already played half an hour of footy.
"We overused the ball… and the Swans were good enough to capitalise."
Sydney has not lost at Blundstone Arena in three visits to the stadium, while the side also has a victory against Hawthorn in Launceston to its credit from four trips south.
After a sluggish start which saw the Roos burst from the blocks via a pair of Kayne Turner goals, the visitors regrouped at the first change to completely the swing the momentum of the match.
Following the late withdrawal of midfield bull and co-captain Josh Kennedy, George Hewett stepped to the plate in the second stanza to help ignite the comeback alongside stars Luke Parker and Isaac Heeney.
Hewett had 12 second-quarter disposals (nine contested) and four clearances to lead the charge, with Papley benefiting in the dewy conditions with two goals, including brilliant solo effort when he tapped the ball in front of himself several times while pinned to the boundary before soccering it through in the goal square.
Hewett finished with 29 touches (20 contested), Parker had 28 and nine tackles while youngster Jordan Dawson collected 24 and took several telling marks deep in defence late.
Jack Ziebell was arguably best afield with 33 disposals, 10 marks and nine tackles, while Ben Cunnington and Jed Anderson starred at the coalface in the brave defeat.
Sydney also lost Zak Jones to a hamstring injury in the second quarter.