Sydney players look dejected after losing the 2022 Toyota AFL Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

SYDNEY was comprehensively beaten in the 2022 Toyota AFL Grand Final as a co-skipper struggled and a young gun produced a fine display.

Nick Blakey – 4
Can't fault the effort of the Academy product, but didn't have the impact the 22-year-old has produced on a regular basis since being moved to half-back under John Longmire. Finished with 15 touches but only 159 metres gained on a difficult day for Sydney's backline.

Braeden Campbell – 2
Spent the first half on the bench as the medi-sub before being activated at the start of the third quarter, just like what happened seven days earlier at the SCG. Went to half-back when he replaced Sam Reid but struggled to leave his mark on the game, finishing with just four touches from 35 per cent game time.

Ryan Clarke – 5
Spent the first quarter on Tom Stewart, but that job was dropped when the Swans were five goals down at quarter-time. Laid a big tackle in the second quarter to help give Sydney a glimmer of hope. But it was only a glimmer. John Longmire moved him back on the four-time All-Australian in the second half, where he limited but didn't shut out the star Cat.

Sydney's Ryan Clarke is tackled by Tom Stewart of Geelong in the 2022 Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

Ollie Florent – 4
The Victorian had the arduous task of trying to limit the influence of All-Australian small forward Tyson Stengle during patches of the game and couldn't quell the mature-age sensation. Sydney's defence had a nightmare day trying to stop 65 inside 50s to 32.

Robbie Fox – 8
John Longmire pulled a surprise move when he went with the former rookie on superstar Jeremy Cameron. Many thought Dane Rampe would be given another job on the three-time All-Australian, but it was Fox who got the gig. And the Tasmanian produced the game of his life. Not only did he limit the influence of the Coleman Medallist, he collected a career-high 26 disposals and never stopped trying.


Lance Franklin – 3
After a week where he announced he was sticking around for one more year, the champion forward will depart the SCG disappointed after missing out again on bringing another premiership to the Harbour City. The four-time Coleman Medallist was shut out by young Cat Jack Henry, who held him to just five touches and two marks. 

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Errol Gulden – 4
The academy product spent plenty of time matched up on Norm Smith Medallist Isaac Smith and couldn't beat the now four-time premiership wingman. Gulden, who also faced off against Mark O'Connor, still made an impact between the arcs.

Will Hayward – 3
After back-to-back Tom Hawkins goals, Hayward kicked a clever goal to put the Swans on the board and stem the bleeding early in the game. But it was as close as Sydney would get on a dark day. Sydney's forwards were well beaten, with Zach Guthrie keeping a close eye on the South Australian.

Will Hayward celebrates a goal for Sydney against Geelong in the 2022 Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

Isaac Heeney – 4
The budding superstar didn't touch the ball in the first quarter and took until the 18th minute of the second term to get his hands on the Sherrin after a massive tackle got him going. He made an impact late in that quarter, kicking an important goal just before half-time after marking a ball off his laces. Heeney finished with 11 touches continuing a quiet September for the All-Australian.

Tom Hickey – 5
Geelong's first two goals came in the same manner from Tom Hawkins manhandling Hickey from a throw-in inside 50. From there, it was a long way back for the journeyman ruckman who has proven to be a shrewd recruit by the Swans. Former St Kilda teammate Rhys Stanley and Mark Blicavs combined to get the better of him in the ruck. Didn't get a great deal of support from Hayden McLean.

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Jake Lloyd – 6
Not the milestone game the Horsham product hoped for when he travelled down from Sydney for his third Grand Final. The 29-year-old found a bit of the ball, finishing with 18 touches, but had his hands full down back. Now zero from three for the two-time Bob Skilton Medallist, who is yet to put pen to paper on a new deal to remain at the Swans.

Paddy McCartin – 4
One of the great stories of the 2022 season, but couldn't finish the fairy tale on the final day of September. One of his quietest days of the season. Moved to full forward halfway through the third quarter to provide the Swans with a target inside 50 after a tough day for the Swans' key forwards. Kicked a goal late and looked imposing with his overhead marking, but not the day he hoped for.

Paddy McCartin takes a mark during the 2022 Toyota AFL Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

Tom McCartin – 4
You couldn't blame McCartin for Tom Hawkins' first two goals, they were conceded by Tom Hickey in ruck contests in the first quarter. But the five-time All-Australian's third was a direct result of a holding free kick in the second quarter. McCartin conceded the first two goals of the second half, the first holding the ball, the second a turnover. It was a tough day to be a key defender for Sydney.

Justin McInerney – 3
Started the week under an injury cloud after hurting his ankle late against the Magpies, but showed no signs of any issues. The 22-year-old spent plenty of time going head-to-head with Isaac Smith and Mark O'Connor on the wings and the pair couldn't limit the influence of the former Hawk. McInerney finished with just seven touches.

Hayden McLean – 2
Hadn't played at this level in 140 days and it looked like it early. Didn't touch it in the first quarter, but took a classic one handed pluck early in the second quarter to kick Sydney's second goal and give them a pulse. That would end up being the 23-year-old's only real involvement in the game.


Callum Mills – 4
Not the day the Swans' co-captain would have hoped for. Became an All-Australian for the first time this year and committed his long-term future to the club weeks ago, but could not get into the game against a dominant Geelong side. The 25-year-old collected 13 touches and kicked a goal.

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Tom Papley – 7
The All-Australian small forward spent most of the game in the middle, providing plenty of spark a long way from home. Papley kicked a goal in the final minute of the game, but made his impact around the ball. There would be no memorable celebrations for the Bunyip product on the biggest stage of all. Papley finished with 20 disposals and 1.2.

Luke Parker – 7
Sydney was well beaten around the ball, but the Swans' co-captain was heavily involved at the coalface. The 2012 premiership midfielder collected 23 touches, 10 contested possessions and laid a game-high 14 tackles – six more than any other player on the ground.


Dane Rampe – 6
Instead of being sent to Jeremy Cameron, as he was in round two, John Longmire gave him the job on Gary Rohan. The former Swan banished some of his September demons a few weeks ago against Collingwood, but didn't have as big an impact today. Rampe limited the influence of the maligned forward, but like Jake Lloyd, is now zero from three.

Sam Reid – 2
Despite scans confirming on Monday that Reid had suffered an adductor strain in the preliminary final win over Collingwood, the Swans opted to pick the 30-year-old. It didn't work. The 2012 premiership player struggled early and quickly looked hampered by the injury which was the major talking point ahead of the game. Sam De Koning got a hold of him in the first half, before the substitution was made at the start of the third quarter.

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James Rowbottom – 5
Had a big crack around the ball but was part of an onball unit that couldn't stop Joel Selwood, Patrick Dangerfield and co. The young gun finished with eight clearances and six tackles, but the Cats were too powerful for Sydney around the ball. It had been a breakout year for Rowbottom who will benefit from the big game experience.

Mark O'Connor tackles James Rowbottom during the 2022 Toyota AFL Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

Dylan Stephens – 4
Another Swan who has been a great story in 2022, but couldn't get work his way into the Grand Final. The 21-year-old generated plenty of territory and drive when he got his hands on the Sherrin, but only found it 12 times.

Chad Warner – 8
Clearly one of Sydney's best two players alongside Robbie Fox on a difficult day. Kicked two goals in the fourth quarter from outside 50 that underlined his class. One from a set shot, the other from on the run. One of the few Sydney midfielders not to have his colours lowered, finishing with 29 disposals, ten clearances, two goals and 587 metres gained. 


John Longmire – 4
The decision to play an injured Sam Reid didn't cost Sydney the game, but it didn't work. Some moves did work. Ryan Clarke was effective on Tom Stewart. Robbie Fox was awesome on Jeremy Cameron. But the Swans couldn't find many winners around the ball or a way to find a target inside 50. They are tough to make and even tougher to win, but John Longmire is now one from four Grand Finals. Tough day at the office.