Greater Western Sydney's Toby Greene (left) and Sam Reid embrace after winning the elimination final against Sydney on August 28, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

GREATER Western Sydney has clung on to record a famous one-point win against Sydney in an enthralling elimination final, ending the Swans' season in dramatic style at the University of Tasmania Stadium.

The Giants advance to take on Geelong in a cutthroat semi-final at Optus Stadium next week, having survived repeated inside 50s from Sydney in the final moments to win 11.8 (74) to 10.13 (73).

Transformed from the team that started the season 0-3, they won their first final since losing the 2019 decider with a ferocious appetite for the contest and an ability to hold up in defence under significant pressure.

Leading by seven points nine minutes into the final term, they conceded the final six behinds of the match, with midfielder Harry Perryman diving to rush a behind in the final minute.


Star forward Toby Greene was electric with three first-half goals and finished with the ball in his hands after drawing a free kick for high contact on the boundary.

He will be under scrutiny from the Match Review Officer, however, for making contact to an umpire at three-quarter time. 


The Swans, who lost their third final against the Giants from three attempts, will rue several missed opportunities in the run home, with Tom Hickey, Sam Wicks and James Bell all missing shots.

Superstar Lance Franklin, who was terrific with three goals in his 25th final, had an opportunity to steal the game with two minutes remaining when he lined up from 50m on the boundary.

The Giants triumphed despite losing the inside 50s 65-45, but fed off a clearance advantage (43-35) and contested ball edge (147-132).

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Midfielders Tim Taranto (25 disposals, five clearances and a goal) and Josh Kelly (28, nine and six inside 50s) were relentless all day, while forward Jesse Hogan (six contested marks and two goals) became prominent in the second half. 

The team, which also got great service from several role players, now goes into its semi-final with five wins from its past six games. 

Swans forward Isaac Heeney was a livewire and booted two of his four goals to open the fourth quarter, while midfielder Luke Parker was the game's leading ball-winner with 33 disposals and eight clearances.


The small forwards on either side were the dangermen early, with Tom Papley kicking the opening goal of the game and threatening several more times before Greene answered for GWS.

The Giants talisman went back-to-back when young midfielder Tom Greene set him up with a clean handball out of the pack, but the Giants were being made to fight for forward half opportunities.

The Swans, by contrast, dominated forward entries 19-11 for the quarter and looked ready to break the dam wall when Franklin booted his second with a snap off the ground to open the second term.


Cue the Giants' response, with the Leon Cameron's team producing a ruthless quarter of contested footy (41-24) and stoppage dominance to kick five unanswered goals and six for the term.

They did it while the Swans maintained their advantage in field position, conceding the forward entries 19-13 but frustrating the Swans' forwards with their resolute defence.

SWANS v GIANTS Full match coverage and stats

The gritty Giants led by 23 at the main break, and when Zach Sproule slotted his set shot from beyond 50m to open the third term, the Swans had a mountain to climb. 

They were up for the challenge and cut the margin to 13 points after back-to-back foals from Heeney, including a brilliant set shot on a tight ankle.

But a goal on the siren from Hogan, who became a factor with four contested marks for the quarter but missed opportunities, gave the Giants breathing room at the final break. 

As it turned out, they needed every last bit of that 19-point lead to advance in a gripping final term.

SYDNEY                                            3.2   5.4   8.6     10.13 (73)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY         3.2   9.3   11.7   11.8 (74)

Sydney: Heeney 4, Franklin 3, Papley 2, Bell
Greater Western Sydney: Greene 3, Sproule 2, Himmelberg 2, Hogan 2, Taranto, Lloyd

Sydney: Heeney, Parker, Franklin, Dawson, Papley, Hewett, Hickey
Greater Western Sydney: Greene, Taranto, Kelly, Perryman, Mumford, Hogan, Sproule, Taylor

Sydney: McLean (leg)
Greater Western Sydney: Cumming (ankle)

Sydney: Robbie Fox (replaced Hayden McLean)
Greater Western Sydney: Tanner Bruhn (replaced Isaac Cumming)

Crowd: 8,635 at University of Tasmania Stadium