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Match report: R8

R8: Jack be nimble Jack Gunston demonstrates his craft by slotting a goal early in the first quarter.

THIRD-game forward Ben Ronke has inspired Sydney to a stirring comeback win over Hawthorn, piling on a game-high seven goals to lead the Swans to a memorable eight-point triumph.

On a bitterly cold and windy night that had followed a day of almost constant rain in Melbourne, the scene was not set for a forward to play the match-winner, especially with Swans spearhead Lance Franklin still sidelined with a bruised heel.

But Ronke soon put paid to that thinking with four goals in the first quarter and the Swans' first five, while he added two more goals in the final term as the Swans rammed on five to the Hawks' one to turn an 11-point three-quarter time deficit into a glorious 12.7 (79) to 10.11 (71) win.

The Swans' victory looks set to be soured, however, with Luke Parker reported for a head-high bump on Jarman Impey late in the match.

In Parker's favour, he was contesting the ball, but Impey had his head down when Parker collected it with his hip.

Sydney's win drew them level with the Hawks on five wins for the season, while it also continued its unbeaten record on the road this year.

While Ronke was undoubtedly the star, Parker (28 possessions, seven clearances and two goals) was also instrumental and kicked the goal that put the Swans back in front for good at the 26-minute mark of the final term.

Sydney successfully limited the influence of the Hawks' prime midfield movers, with Harry Cunningham (27 possessions) holding Isaac Smith to just 16 possessions and little of his usual influence, while George Hewett (23 possessions) held the prolific Tom Mitchell to 20 possessions.

Isaac Heeney (26 possessions) was also influential, as was the run of Zak Jones (18) from defence.

Jack Gunston was outstanding in attack for the Hawks, kicking five goals, including the Hawks' final major that put them seven points up at the 12-minute mark of the last quarter.

James Sicily (26 possessions and nine marks) was a stumbling block for the Swans across half-back, especially in the first half, and led the Hawks' rebound from defence along with Shaun Burgoyne (26 possessions and nine tackles), Liam Shiels (22 possessions) and Ricky Henderson (24) helped to cover quiet nights by Mitchell, Smith and Jaeger O'Meara, while Daniel Howe performed a vital run-with role on Josh Kennedy, holding the Swans skipper to 19 disposals, and Luke Breust kicked three goals.

But it was Ronke's night. The youngster proved a constant thorn in the Hawks' defence with his electrifying speed, keen goal sense, strength over the ball and clinical finishing.

When he kicked his fifth goal early in the second term, he was outscoring Hawthorn on his own – 5.0 to 4.3 – while there was a sense of anti-climax when Will Hayward (three goals) became the Swans' second goalkicker at the 21-minute mark of the second quarter.

Hayward's goal put the Swans seven points up, while the Hawks could only trim that margin to six by half-time as the forward-half pressure of both teams slowed scoring to a trickle.

The first quarter had been a more free-scoring affair as both teams piled on four goals.

Gunston kicked three of those goals for Hawthorn and its only goal in the second term as his team managed to stay within striking distance of Sydney at the main break.

Hawthorn: Jarman Impey came from the ground midway through the final term after being bumped by Luke Parker. The Hawks speedster was bleeding from the head but returned to the field for the last couple of minutes.

Sydney: TBC

The Hawks play Brisbane at the Gabba next Sunday, when they are set to come up against their former captain Luke Hodge for the first time. The Swans host Fremantle next Saturday night at the SCG, having not lost to the Dockers at their home ground since 2011.

HAWTHORN  4.3   5.4   9.6  10.11 (71)
SYDNEY        4.1   6.4   7.7   12.7 (79)

Hawthorn: Gunston 5, Breust 3, Roughead, Morrison
Sydney: Ronke 7, Hayward 3, Parker 2 

Hawthorn: Gunston, Sicily, Breust, Burgoyne, Roughead, Shiels
Sydney: Ronke, Parker, Heeney, Jones, Cunningham, Lloyd 

Hawthorn: Nil
Sydney: Nil 

Reports: Luke Parker (Sydney) for rough conduct on Jarman Impey in the fourth quarter

Umpires: Foot, Dalgleish, Rosebury

Official crowd: 32,784 at the MCG

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs