AFL Finals Sydney Swans vs. Melbourne Demons: The pre-game snub that heralded a fireworks night between Lance Franklin and Steven May

Steven May and Lance Franklin were in Sydney’s 22-point win over Melbourne in the AFL Qualifying Finals all night and we should have seen it coming.

Because there was a little hint before the game.

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Their initial tension simmered into the focal point of the game in the second quarter when May missed two undisciplined free-kicks within a minute, resulting in an easy Will Hayward goal for Sydney.

That didn’t stop the fireworks, however, as the pair continued to tussle with others after Hayward’s goal.

Up until this point, the Demons were in control of the game. But Hayward’s goal was a huge boost for the Swans who managed to push back on goal at half-time.

Tensions rise between Franklin and May.

Tensions rise between Franklin and May.
Steven May and Lance Franklin fought all night. Recognition: Dylan Burns/AFL photos/AFL photos via Getty Images

Despite the Dees’ three quick goals early in the third quarter, the Swans controlled most of the second half, smothering the hosts with unrelenting pressure that broke them.

Although May became the night’s constant antagonist, her performance on Franklin was admirable. She scored a series of intercept marks and kept the superstar on seven touches and no goals in a resounding one-on-one win.

That might have been one of the reasons Franklin was so frustrated, as the mini-flags between the two lasted for most of the night.

However, if you paid close attention before the game, there was a small hint that the heated competition would always flare up.

Check out the moment in the video above

May approached Franklin before the first siren to wish him luck.

With an outstretched fist, May tried to poke Franklin in the ankles.

But the greatest power forward of modern times blew May’s mind like he wasn’t even there.

May was left red-faced by the snub but soon retaliated with six intercept marks in the first quarter alone.

Lance Franklin and Steven May were there all night. Recognition: Getty

Despite his underperforming, it was Franklin who had the last laugh as Sydney secured their spot in a provisional final for the first time since 2016.

However, for the Demons, they have a date with Brisbane in a do-or-die semi-final next Friday night at the MCG.

“Our situation hasn’t changed, every team in the competition has to win three games in a row to win it,” Demons coach Simon Goodwin said.

“Our challenge is to make it next week and get that first win against Brisbane who played a fantastic game. We have to learn from what we’ve done and do better when we get our chances.”

It was an even performance from Sydney, with Lloyd, James Rowbottom and co-captain Luke Parker being the leading possession winners and Tom Papley, Tom Hickey and Sam Reid all playing crucial roles.

Dees on the ropes after missing a chance.

Dees on the ropes after missing a chance. AFL Finals Sydney Swans vs. Melbourne Demons: The pre-game snub that heralded a fireworks night between Lance Franklin and Steven May

James Brien

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