Sydney Swans pinch victory from North Melbourne Kangaroos

North Melbourne’s week of tumult ended in heartbreak and controversy after Sydney pinched victory at the post to breathe life into their season.

The Kangaroos vowed to do it for ‘Clarko’, and came just over 30 seconds short from honouring coach Alastair Clarkson in the best manner possible.

Instead, they had their hearts broken in close to the cruellest imaginable way, conceding the winning goal from a free kick after an interchange breach.

With North leading by three points, the ball was at a stoppage deep in the Swans’ forward line when Liam Shiels then Will Phillips came off almost simultaneously, replaced respectively by Tom Powell and Hugh Greenwood. The second of those rotations took North past their limit.

The resultant free kick and 50-metre penalty brought Hayden McLean to the goal square for the simplest shot to put the Swans in the lead.

As jubilant Swans fans celebrated their great escape, angry North fans booed the umpires as they left the field, no doubt feeling they had been robbed of what would have been a famous backs-to-the-wall victory.

North appeared to have the game won after booting five goals on the bounce either side of the final break to set up a 16-point break early in the last term, only to seize up as the Swans swooped with goals to Errol Gulden, Isaac Heeney and McLean.

Young gun Harry Sheezel had the chance to ice the game late but, from 30m out, his nerve got the better of him.

Once the anguish subsides for North fans, they should be heartened by the performances of several of their next generation.

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