SYDNEY has sealed a finals berth with a 20-point comeback win over the Giants at Spotless Stadium, with the injury-hit home side overrun in the second half.
GWS dominated the first half with Phil Davis on top in his match-up with Lance Franklin, but failed to capitalise on the scoreboard, and once Davis was hobbled by a hip problem, the superstar Swan took control of the match.
Opposed to Jeremy Finlayson, Adam Tomlinson and Nick Haynes at various stages, Franklin kicked five goals for the night – four of those once Davis was injured – to win the Brett Kirk Medal for best on ground and inspire the 11.14 (80) to 8.12 (60) victory.
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Franklin's fourth goal early in the final quarter moved him past the great Leigh Matthews (915) into eighth spot on the all-time goalkickers list.
The win lifts the Swans up to fourth and they will secure the double chance if they beat Hawthorn next week, while the Giants' top four hopes are now out of their hands.
The Giants also lost veteran Ryan Griffen (hamstring) for most of the second half and couldn't maintain their intensity as the Swans kicked seven goals to two after the main break.
Sydney coach John Longmire was pleased with the way his side finished the game – including the barnstorming last quarter in which they produced 11 scoring shots.
"In the third quarter we started to run and carry, and we kicked 1.6," he said.
"But we knew with the weight of inside 50s and the footy we were getting we just had to keep going and hopefully it would change on the scoreboard and it did."
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GWS coach Leon Cameron said although his side was undermanned and has had to deal with an extensive injury list this year, it wasn't the reason for the loss.
"It's disappointing but at the end of the day it is what it is, you can't do anything about it," he said.
"You can't rewind it and have Davis and Griffen there.
"We've worked hard over the last 10 weeks to put ourselves in a good position, and we let ourselves down after half-time.
"We've got to address it, you can't run away from it, because if you dwell on it and blame things, you're not going to get anywhere in this game.
"The Swans were better, and we move on."
The Swans were wasteful in the third quarter when they kicked 1.6, but they booted the first five goals of the last term as the Giants struggled to get the footy out of the defensive half.
Giants midfielder Stephen Coniglio racked up 17 possessions in the first half but was blanketed by Swan George Hewett after the long break and had just four more for the night, while Harry Cunningham was equally effective in limiting the impact of Lachie Whitfield.
Star Sydney onballers Luke Parker (33 possessions) and Josh Kennedy (27) had plenty of the footy for the winners, with Jake Lloyd (30) just as impressive across half-back, along with Jarrad McVeigh and Zak Jones.
But Parker could come under scrutiny from Match Review Officer Michael Christian after collecting Matt Buntine with a high bump.
Dylan Shiel (33), Tim Taranto (31) and Callan Ward (27) worked hard for GWS but unfortunately most of their good work was done in the first half.
Greater Western Sydney: Ryan Griffen came from the field in the third term with a left hamstring issue and while he came back on briefly, he was iced up by the break. Daniel Lloyd suffered a cut to the face, while Phil Davis played the second half in the forward line with a corked hip. Jeremy Finlayson limped off in the third term with a left leg problem but played out the match.
Sydney: The Swans got through without any worries.
The Swans host Hawthorn at the SCG on Saturday night, while the Giants finish the home and away season at the MCG where they take on Melbourne on Sunday.
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 3.3 6.6 7.9 8.12 (60)
SYDNEY 1.2 4.3 5.9 11.14 (80)
Greater Western Sydney: Cameron 2, Himmelberg 2, Lloyd 2, Shiel, Bonar
Sydney: Franklin 5, Jack 2, Parker, Jack, McCartin, Hayward
Greater Western Sydney: Shiel, Taranto, Ward, Coniglio, Himmelberg, Tomlinson
Sydney: Franklin, Parker, Lloyd, Kennedy, Jack, Cunningham
Greater Western Sydney: Griffen (hamstring), Davis (hip), Finlayson (ankle), Lloyd (cut face)
Umpires: Deboy, Pannell, Mollison
Official crowd: 21,433 at Spotless Stadium