GEELONG and Sydney have played out a draw in a dramatic Grand Final rematch against Geelong, in the first shared points between the sides in the competition's history.
In a game that couldn't have been more different from the sides' most recent two meetings, they shared the points with Sydney's inaccurate 6.18 (54) breaking even with Geelong's 7.12 (54) at the SCG on Friday evening.
SWANS V CATS Full match details and stats
Sydney started the game in high gear, attacking with purpose and speed through the corridor and neatly hitting up targets inside 50. Unfortunately for the Swans, the ability to make it count on the scoreboard was absent, kicking one major from nine shots on goal in the opening term.
The Swans continued to play quick, attacking footy and making life tough for Geelong's defenders as they looked to rebound but remained frustratingly inaccurate, leaving the door wide open for the reigning premiers.
On the reverse, when the Cats were able to break through Sydney's high defensive wall, they were often rewarded with acres of space and time inside 50 to make the most of their rare opportunities in attack.
Gryan Miers (26 disposals, six inside 50s) showed off his exquisite kicking inside 50, picking off targets few others would attempt, let alone execute, and Tanner Bruhn (18 disposals, three clearances) quietly generated attacking opportunities all night for Geelong.
The experience of Geelong turned the game on its head in the second half. They clamped down, tightened up on direct opponents and refused the Swans the uncontested ball or corridor movement they enjoyed early in the game. As a result, the visitors maintained forward possession for much of the second half and put real pressure on Sydney's defence.
After the Swans moved the ball inside 50 with ease early, they couldn't buy an entry for much of the second half because of the Cats' re-organised defence.
Tom Atkins was immense in the Cats' resurgence, moving into the midfield largely to quell Luke Parker's influence and finishing the game with 17 disposals, 11 tackles and five clearances.
Errol Gulden's work rate was once again on show, impressively covering the ground to gather 26 disposals, six inside 50s and laying nine tackles, while his partner in crime Braeden Campbell started strong to finish with 14 disposals and two goals.
Tuohy stands alongside Stynes
With his 264th career game on Friday night, Zach Tuohy equalled Melbourne great Jim Stynes' games record for an Irish player in the AFL. Playing largely on the wing, Tuohy worked exceptionally hard, leading all players for disposals at half-time with 18, and finishing the game with 28 disposals and 737m gained. The Cat was persistent, generating attacking transition even when his side was on the back foot.
SYDNEY 1.6 4.12 5.15 6.18 (54)
GEELONG 3.3 4.4 6.8 7.12 (54)
Sydney: McDonald 2, Campbell 2, Papley, Parker,
Geelong: O. Henry 2, Hawkins 2, Stengle, Blicavs, Miers
Sydney: Parker, Gulden, Campbell, McInerney, Sheldrick, Blakey
Geelong: Miers, Tuohy, Blicavs, Dangerfield, Atkins, Stewart
Sydney: Ryan Clarke (unused)
Geelong: Jack Bowes (replaced Esava Ratugolea in the final quarter)