Justin McInerney, the young Sydney player in a hurry, was too quick for experienced Collingwood defenders Darcy Moore and Jeremy Howe.
The 22-year-old’s stunning intercept mark and goal was one of the highlights of the Swans’ pulsating one-point AFL preliminary final win – 14.11 (95) to 14.10 (94) – over the Magpies on Saturday.
McInerney had the capacity SCG crowd roaring when he picked off Moore’s pass to Howe.
Moore tried to switch play across the 50m arc, but the ball hung in the air for a fraction too long and Howe never saw McInerney coming.
“It was a beauty. It seemed to slow up in midair,” Swans coach John Longmire said post-match.
“He generally gets a bit excited when he’s got a chance to kick in a goal.
“He got a bit quicker, closer, he got to the ball, and he marked it.
“I was just hoping he’d have a couple of bounces and he wouldn’t try to kick it came from 40, but he did it.
“That was a great defensive act.”
McInerney is among Sydney’s young stars that include James Rowbottom, Errol Gulden, Nick Blakey, and Logan McDonald – all of whom had their moments in the victory.
“Errol, Logan had a massive impact and Dylan (Stephens), Rowie,” McInerney told reporters.
“Rowie’s gone straight in there with a massive impact. You could even say he’s passive leader of the midfield these days.
“It’s just incredible. The synergy within the group is just great.”
In just the fourth year of his AFL career, McInerney never thought of coming this close to a premiership flag.
“Last year, we made finals but to come this far is just incredible,” he said.
“It’s just incredible that we’re going to be able to experience it.
“Maybe six …players haven’t been to the grand final before.”
McInerney plans on taking every day as it comes to balance his nerves.
Those nerves were tested as Collingwood roared back in the second half, but the Swans stood fast when it mattered.
“A lot happens during the week – just try not to get too caught up in it,” he said.
“Going into the second half, we tried to reset but we might have got a bit carried away.
“It was great just to get back. They came hard late. But we stood up.”