Sydney held on for a thrilling six-point win over Geelong on Friday night at the SCG thanks to substitute Andrejs Everitt’s winning goal with 80 seconds remaining.
Everitt marked in a difficult position but kicked truly to cap a see-sawing last quarter of football and lift his side to a 12.8 (80) to 11.8 (74) triumph.
The victory, crafted by a stellar seven-goal opening quarter, was all the more impressive given co-captain Adam Goodes had minimal impact in his return from a six-week stint on the sidelines with a quad injury.
Goodes lacked his usual polish and had seven touches before being subbed out in the eighth minute of the final quarter for eventual match-winner Everitt.
For the second game in a row, the Swans stopped after building what seemed like an unassailable advantage.
Two weeks ago against Essendon, they escaped with a four-point win after leading by 47 points at three-quarter time.
The Cats trailed the hosts by 35 points at quarter time, chipped 11 points off that advantage in the next two terms before seizing control of the game in the final stanza.
The reigning premiers kicked six consecutive goals after substitute Allen Christensen entered the fray late in the third quarter.
Paul Chapman snaffled two final-term goals before Corey Enright gave his side the lead for the first time in the match after capitalising on a questionable 50m penalty against Sam Reid.
The lead changed twice more before Everitt’s stoic effort.
Kieren Jack slotted a fantastic goal from the cusp of the 50m arc, while Tom Hawkins answered with a snapped goal in the 20th minute of the final term after a night when he was dogged by the yips.
It was a game of two quarters more so than two halves.
The first procession started in the ninth minute of the first term when key forward Reid crumbed an opportunistic major from the goal square.
It was the first of five unanswered goals as the hosts held Geelong to 1.1 while making the most of their dominance around the stoppages.
Sydney booted 7.0 in the opening quarter with the clear highlight being a remarkable goal from Lewis Jetta, who continued his stellar form.
But the Swans managed only five goals after quarter time.
Geelong skipper Joel Selwood worked hard throughout the night and had 26 touches, while Enright (29 disposals) would have been an obvious candidate for the three Brownlow votes prior to Everitt’s telling goal.
Noah Zemichael remembers lifting his head and watching the beach drift away.