SYDNEY 4.3 8.4 13.4 17.7 (109)GOLD COAST 1.6 3.9 6.13 10.14 (74)
GOALS Sydney: H Cunningham 4 L Franklin 3 S Reid 3 J Kennedy 2 L Jetta 2 L Parker 2 J Lloyd. Gold Coast: C Dixon 2 K Kolodjashnij 2 B Matera G Ablett H Bennell J O’Meara L Russell T Lynch.
BEST Sydney: D Hannebery J Kennedy B McGlynn H Cunningham L Parker K Jack. Gold Coast: G Ablett D Prestia K Kolodjashnij Z Smith S May R Thompson.
UMPIRES Ray Chamberlain, Shane McInerney, Andrew Mitchell.
OFFICIAL CROWD 21,354 at Metricon Stadium.
Lance Franklin is again set to test the match review panel’s goodwill on the bump after a late hip-and-shoulder on Gold Coast’s Clay Cameron has put him in doubt for Saturday’s showdown against Port Adelaide.
The Sydney star has often put himself at the mercy of the league’s tribunal system because of crude late challenges and he will face another nervous wait on Monday to see if his latest indiscretion costs the team ahead of the top-of-the-table blockbuster at the SCG.
In what looms as a huge decision for the match review panel, Franklin’s absence could have a huge impact for the Swans on the field but also dent the excitement around a match that should attract interest in Sydney and the country.
Vision of the incident, from the second quarter of Sydney’s 35-point win over the Gold Coast on Sunday, appears to show that the majority of Franklin’s tucked-in arm collects Cameron in the upper body and neck area.
However it seems the top of Franklin’s shoulder does catch the Gold Coast player in the head, leaving the force of the blow, Franklin’s bad record, and the Suns' medical report as key factors in the decision.
While Cameron was subbed off later in the match, it did not appear to be related to the incident.
Other players have recently escaped suspension with bumps, including Franklin's Swans team-mates Dan Hannebery and Adam Goodes, however in both cases the panel deemed they were trying to contest the ball and had no alternative.
Franklin, meanwhile, chose to bump Cameron and knocked him to the ground as he kicked the ball.
Beaten but unbowed, Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna says the Suns’ 35-point loss to in-form Sydney is no reason to write off his charges just yet.
After climbing into the top four with five straight wins over lower-ranked teams, the Suns have now begun a challenging stretch of matches with losses to Adelaide and the Swans.
But while the defeat to the Crows was clearly disappointing to McKenna, he was far happier with the performance in the 17.7 (109) to 10.14 (74) loss to Sydney.
‘‘There was obviously a fair few too many having a holiday last week and we did what we did,’’ McKenna said.
‘‘Tonight was another step forward for our group. When I say step forward, we might have just stubbed our toe, that’s all, but we didn’t trip, didn’t fall, we’re moving forward.’’
The tale could have been different for the Suns if they had been more clinical in front of goal, particularly in a first quarter when they kicked 1.6 to Sydney’s 4.3. In the end, the Swans held an element of control over their rivals despite the Suns’ fight and key defenders Rory Thompson and Steven May doing a great job on Franklin and Kurt Tippett.
Franklin managed three goals but none of them could be faulted to May, while Tippett, who booted five goals in last weekend’s 110-point win over Geelong, was held goalless by Thompson before being subbed at three-quarter time with knee soreness.
Thankfully for Swans coach John Longmire the support cast of Harry Cunningham (four goals) and Sam Reid (three goals) picked up the slack as the Swans claimed their seventh-consecutive win.
‘‘We know that they’re a good team,’’ Longmire said of the Suns.‘‘We know that they’re not an easy team to beat anywhere let alone up here.
‘‘It wasn’t an easy one but in the end I thought it was a really good win.’’
Tippett’s fitness will be monitored ahead of next weekend’s top-of-the-table blockbuster against competition leaders Port.