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Sydney edges Hawthorn to win Australian Rules Grand Final

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Associated Press
9/29/2012 9:19:18 AM
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MELBOURNE, Australia -- The Sydney Swans kicked the final four goals of the match to respond to a furious Hawthorn comeback and beat the Hawks 14.7 (91) to 11.15 (81) in the Australian Football League grand final on Saturday before 99,683 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The Swans, who had just one win and a draw in their previous 15 games at the ground, prevailed in a game of wild momentum swings. Hawthorn led by 19 points early but Sydney kicked six goals to none in the second quarter to go into halftime 16 points in front.

But the Hawks responded with seven of eight goals in the third quarter to take what looked a winning lead, only for the Swans to wrest the game back in the closing stages and claim only their second premiership in 79 years. The Swans relocated from South Melbourne to Sydney in 1982 and won the title in 2005 in a similar nail-biting contest.

The game was played in gusty but dry conditions despite a forecast of hail and rain throughout the match.

Hawthorn midfielder Brad Sewell missed two snaps for goal in the final minutes, the first of which would have levelled the scores and the second which would have given the Hawks the lead had they been accurate.

With Sydney leading by four points, the clinching goal came with 34 seconds left when defender Nick Malceski, who had kicked Sydney's first goal from a near-impossible angle, slotted another snap goal and was besieged by jubilant teammates.

Sydney coach John Longmire said Goodes ruptured the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee early in the second quarter when the Swans began their comeback.

The co-captain hung on to kick the game's second-to-last goal.

"I asked him a couple of times during the course of the game 'Are you all right?' He didn't even flinch, it was 'Don't worry about me,"' Longmire said. "To have a knee that was essentially gone and hang on like he did was a sensational effort."

Mike Pyke (Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
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