IT JUST had to be Toby Greene.
With a brilliantly snapped right-foot goal inside the final minute, Greater Western Sydney's superstar captain has piloted his team to a remarkable come-from-behind win over crosstown rival Sydney at the SCG on Saturday afternoon.
SWANS v GIANTS Full match coverage and stats
In an enthralling Sydney Derby, the Giants trailed by 24 points early in the final quarter and then kicked the final four goals of the game to win 17.5 (107) to 16.10 (106).
Greene was the man to start the comeback, throwing his left boot at a loose ball and somehow soccering it through from a tough angle.
Harry Perryman continued the momentum with two goals – including one from 50m after a deft Greene pass – before the skipper was fittingly the man to finish it off.
From a forward 50 stoppage Greene grabbed the ball from congestion, threw it on his right boot and watched it sail over the desperate hands of Sydney's defenders to give his team the lead with 42 seconds remaining.
He finished with four goals and two assists from his 22 disposals to win the Brett Kirk Medal as the best player afield.
It was the second straight home game the Swans have lost in heartbreaking fashion, following the two-point loss to Port Adelaide in round four.
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Sydney controlled much of the game on the back of its dominance around the contest, winning clearances by nine, contested possessions by 25 and inside 50s by 15.
However, the Giants never wilted, making the most of every opportunity when it counted.
Luke Parker was colossal for the home team, racking up 33 disposals and 11 clearances to go with what appeared a match-icing goal early in the last term.
Lance Franklin, Will Hayward and Logan McDonald all kicked three goals, while Chad Warner and Peter Ladhams were also impressive for Sydney.
The Giants led by five points at the first change and 10 at the half, but Sydney looked to have arrested total control with a six-goal third term.
The first half was a contrast of styles as Sydney won most things in tight, while the Giants looked dangerous when they got the ball to the outside in space.
Despite having six less opportunities inside forward 50, the visitors led at the first two changes, with Greene and Xavier O'Halloran each kicking two goals.
O'Halloran's second was a work of art, as he calmly slotted a set shot from the junction of the 50m arc and left boundary line.
The Giants threatened to open up a larger lead before Franklin helped arrest the momentum with a series of powerful marks that led to two goals and an uncharacteristic miss from close range.
Tempers were on the edge most of the half and bubbled over after the siren as all 36 players broke off into little groups for an all-in melee.
Defensive 50 stoppages killed the Swans
For most of the day, Sydney was the master of the contest – until suddenly it wasn't. The Swans slaughtered the Giants at centre clearance (22-9) and easily won the overall clearance count (46-37), but three final-quarter lapses in the defensive 50 cost them dearly. Toby Greene and Harry Perryman both scrounged goals from congestion to help erase a 24-point deficit, and Greene's match-winner came from a stoppage inside the final minute. Sydney did a lot right, but will have nightmares about these defensive slip-ups.
Buddy's big impact
It was his first game in three weeks following a knee injury, but Lance Franklin looked as good as he has in 2023. After a quiet first quarter opposed to young Giant Jack Buckley, 'Buddy' changed the game's momentum with an impactful second term. With his team trailing by 16 points, Franklin banged his first home from 50 and later in the term added a second following a huge pack mark. He finished with 3.2 from 11 disposals.
Finn Callaghan looks the goods
Now in his second season, former No.3 draft pick Finn Callaghan had arguably his best game in Giants colours. He's been bubbling away early this season, twice gathering 25 disposals, and was as calm as anyone in the red-hot first half. The 20-year-old constantly made himself available for teammates and was instrumental in building the early GWS lead, with his languid style and penetrating left boot opening up scoring opportunities for his teammates.
SYDNEY 3.2 7.5 13.9 16.10 (106)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 4.1 9.3 12.3 17.5 (107)
Sydney: Franklin 3, Hayward 3, McDonald 3, Warner, Parker, Papley, McLean, Ladhams, Gulden, Clarke
Greater Western Sydney: Greene 4, Perryman 3, O'Halloran 2, Hogan 2, Coniglio 2, Himmelberg, Daniels, Cadman, Bedford
Sydney: Parker, Hayward, Warner, Gulden, Ladhams, Lloyd
Greater Western Sydney: Greene, Coniglio, Callaghan, Green, Perryman
Greater Western Sydney: Nil
Sydney: Marc Sheather (replaced Angus Sheldrick in fourth quarter)
Greater Western Sydney: Harry Rowston (replaced Aaron Cadman in fourth quarter)
Crowd: 31,615 at the SCG