In a nail-biting finish to the preliminary final at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday night, the Sydney Swans held their nerve to claim a one-point win over the Collingwood Magpies and a book a place in the AFLM grand final for the first time since 2016.
The Swans' first grade squad includes 10 UNSW students - all members of the UNSW Elite Athlete Program (EAP). Six of these students played in the preliminary final against Collingwood, proving instrumental in taking the team through to the biggest stage of all this weekend.
James Rowbottom (Bachelor of Commerce), Logan McDonald (Bachelor of Arts / Business) and Dylan Stephens (Bachelor of Arts / Business) contributed a goal each to the total, with Stephens scoring early in the first quarter to boost the team's confidence and Rowbottom's goal coming close to half time to consolidate the impressive lead the home team had begun to build and McDonald contributing early in the third quarter as the lead continued to build.
Rowey has been playing out of his SKIN, and what a performance from our no.8 last night.#Bloods pic.twitter.com/roWhZEl31Q— Sydney Swans (@sydneyswans) September 18, 2022
Errol Gulden (Bachelor of Arts) was also crucial to the Swans' game, with two behinds - including the all-important final behind that sealed the one-point win. Gulden also contributed 20 disposals, six marks and seven tackles in a sensational performance from the wunderkind from the UNSW-ES Bulldogs.
It was heart in your mouth stuff, but it's much easier to watch this time around!— Sydney Swans (@sydneyswans) September 17, 2022
Re-live the last two minutes of our one-point thriller. #Bloods
Also featuring in the historic victory was co-captain Dane Rampe (Master of Commerce) who led from the front, playing the second-most minutes of anyone in the team for the match and Braeden Campbell who came through with an important goal assist.
Throughout this incredible season for the Swans, the UNSW students have all kept an impressive sport-life balance, continuing with their studies while travelling around the country and completing an intense training load, thanks to the support of the EAP and UNSW EAP Manager Helen Bryson.
In July, Rampe was recognised for his efforts in this area when he took home the Academic Excellence Awards at the UNSW Blues and Sport Awards Dinner - maintaining a distinction average while excelling on and off the field for the Swans.
The entire UNSW sporting community is getting behind the team this week as they prepare to play for their first flag since 2012 in front of a hostile away crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. To see our students in action, tune in to Seven, Fox Footy or Kayo this Saturday 24 September for the first bounce at 2:30pm.