Fast-starting Frankston keep Swans at bay in strong display

By Will Jeffares

An impressive first-half performance from Frankston has seen them record a strong 15-point victory over Sydney on Friday night in front of a packed house at Kinetic Stadium.

While it was a chilly night in Frankston, the Dolphins started the game on fire, kicking three of the opening four goals of the contest after 10 minutes of play. A strong defensive display saw the home side hold the Swans goalless across the middle two periods, before withstanding late pressure to run out with the 9.11 (65) to 7.8 (50) result.

Josh Butland kickstarted the action, converting a simple set shot as the clock ticked over a minute to open the scoring for the night. A courageous tap-on from Butland then set up a Matt Johnson major to cancel out the Swans’ first, before George Grey produced a moment of brilliance with a classy left-foot finish from long range to extend Frankston’s early lead.

A moment to savor from George Grey

After the visitors levelled proceedings with back-to-back goals, Lachie Sharp snapped truly after getting on the end of a quick kick from milestone man, Tom Murphy, to regain the lead. Ruckman Angus Grant followed suit moments later, clunking a mark just inside 50 before kicking his first of the season.

After a frantic opening term which had the margin sitting at five points in Frankston’s favour, Johnson slotted his second of the night after winning a high freekick. Helping pinch hit in the ruck on the night, defender Josh Smith snuck forward to kick a major after a brilliant kick inside 50 from Lochie Reidy.

A great run and lace-out kick inside 50 from Murphy had Johnson kicking his third and the margin sitting at 24 points at the main break after limiting the Swans to just one solitary point in a great first-half performance.

However, a lower leg injury to Alec McComb and Smith suffering serious facial injuries after a late hit from Luke Parker had Frankston two men down on the bench by half-time.

After a fast-paced first half, the second proved the opposite, with the matchup shifting to a much more contested and scrappier affair. After again holding the Swans to just the one solitary point in the third term, Butland kicked his second to push the margin beyond five goals, as the Dolphins held a 33-point lead at the final change.

Butland’s set shot, however, would prove to be the only goal of the half for Frankston as the Swans piled on early pressure in the last term, kicking two goals in the first three minutes to cut into the margin.

Despite kicking another goal late, the task proved too much for Sydney as the under-manned Dolphins held strong defensively to secure the side’s fifth win of the season in seven games.

Pressure was the name of the game for Frankston, laying an impressive 105 tackles to Sydney’s 83 to stifle the Swans’ ability to clear and move the football throughout the contest. A big contributor in that area was Taj Campbell-Farrell, who laid a whopping 20 tackles, to go along with 23 disposals and 10 clearances in a monstrous display on the contested side.

Playing in his 50th VFL game, Murphy was superb up around the contest and with the ball in hand against a strong Sydney midfield to finish with 27 disposals, five clearances and eight tackles. As Trent Mynott (21 disposals, seven tackles) marked his return from injury with a strong outing.

Grant put in another promising shift in the ruck against Will Green and Jack Buller, collecting 12 disposals, 34 hit outs, and five tackles to go along with a goal. While Reidy was impressive to finish with 21 disposals, nine tackles and five clearances of his own.

Johnson’s three goals continued his strong form in front of the big sticks, with Jackson Voss (19 disposals), George Grey (20 disposals, one goal) and Tomo Owens (16 disposals, six tackles, four clearances) also strong performers throughout the night.

The victory now sees Frankston sitting in 7th on the ladder with a record of 5-2, as Jackson Kornberg’s side face another good challenge on the road against 6th-placed Southport on Saturday at 12:05 pm AEST.

FRANKSTON 5.3 8.5 9.9 9.11 (65)

SYDNEY 4.4 4.5 4.6 7.8 (50)


Johnson 3, Butland 2, Smith, Sharp, Grey, Grant


Murphy, Campbell-Farrell, Grant, Mynott, Johnson, Reidy, Grey

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