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'Electric' Swans forward puts Suns to sword

Gary Rohan of the Swans (left) celebrates with teammate Oliver Florent after scoring a goal.
Gary Rohan of the Swans (left) celebrates with teammate Oliver Florent after scoring a goal. DAVID MOIR

IT felt like a game where Lance Franklin could easily be the spark that ignited the Swans.

With the Gold Coast Suns dominating the first quarter but failing to make it count on the scoreboard, Sydney just needed to get on a run of form.

And their main man was looking primed for a big outing.

"He's getting the space he desires, he's deadly around goals and he looks on today, he looks excited," David King said on Fox Footy's coverage.

Usually, it would be their main man who contributed the bag of goals that kickstarted a run of form.

But while Franklin would go on to kick three goals for the night in the Swans' 66-point thumping of the Suns, he wouldn't be the key to Sydney's success.

That honour would go to a man with far fewer accolades than the Swans superstar.

 

Lance Franklin of the Swans celebrates scoring a goal against the Suns.
Lance Franklin of the Swans celebrates scoring a goal against the Suns. DAVID MOIR

It has seems like each week, Gary Rohan has been adding another layer to his game.

When he returned to senior football in Round 13, Rohan kicked one goal and provided a spark as the Swans overhauled the Tigers.

One week later, he took three contested marks - with his most prominent a one-hander coming in the dying seconds - and kicked the match-winner against Essendon.

Then, the utility stepped things up against Melbourne.

Rohan took eight marks, collected 16 disposals and had six inside 50s in a solid night against the Demons.

Bit by bit, things were coming together for the often unlucky Swan.

He just needed a game where they all clicked at once.

Against the Suns on Saturday night, Rohan well and truly arrived.

With the Suns holding a slender lead - and arguably dominating the run of play - early in the first quarter, Rohan stepped up, kicking back-to-back goals to steady the Swans.

 

Matt Rosa of the Suns (left) attempts a spoil on Callum Mills of the Swans.
Matt Rosa of the Suns (left) attempts a spoil on Callum Mills of the Swans. DAVID MOIR

One of those included a dramatic run down the wing, when Rohan exploded away from his opponent to receive a handball, took a bounce and kicked truly.

Then, as their midfield took hold in the second quarter, Rohan lifted again.

With youngster George Hewett chipping in with two second-term goals, Rohan - seemingly earmarked as a permanent forward - slotted two majors, one either side of a goal from Dean Towers.

With his combination of explosive speed, athleticism and raw power, playing Rohan predominantly inside the forward 50 seems a logical move - especially when he gets the quality delivery he got at the SCG on Saturday night.

"This is the difference in the game at the moment: the entries inside 50 are basically favouring the Sydney Swans forwards every time," King said.

"It's not a 60-40 favouring of the kick, it's a 70-30 or an 80-20. Fantastic work."

Partway through the third quarter, Rohan booted his fifth - and gave the Swans an ominous 43-point lead.

It proved to be the dasher's last for the day, with Rohan ending his night with 16 disposals, eight inside-50s, nine marks and a career-high five goals.

He wasn't the only lesser light to make an impact as the Swans put the Suns to the sword.

 

David Swallow of the Suns is tackled as he attempts to pass the ball.
David Swallow of the Suns is tackled as he attempts to pass the ball. DAVID MOIR

Towers - who was everywhere at times and finished with 21 touches - Hewett and dasher Zak Jones all kicked multiple goals, with the latter pushing through a difficult individual night to make his mark on the scoreboard.

And while "Buddy" had three majors to his name, the Swans' main man said he was more than happy to share the load.

"We were obviously kicking a little bit deeper today," Franklin said on Fox Footy after the game.

"Gaz (Rohan) had a super game ... it's just nice to have other options up there kicking goals and sharing the load."

Franklin highlighted Rohan's combination of athleticism and skill, praising the 26-year-old's effort.

"He's obviously electric, isn't he? He's bloody fast," he said.

"But he's good in the air, he's good on the ground and to kick five goals is an unbelievable effort."

As for the star of the night? While he was disappointed he was a "bit tired in the old leg" to slot a sixth on the stroke of full time, Rohan echoed his bigger teammate's thoughts.

"It was pretty good," he said on Fox Footy.

"We don't have to rely on Buddy all the time."

It's a trend the competition's form team would love to continue.

Topics:  gary rohan gold coast suns sydney swans

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