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Sydney Swans' unbeaten streak ended by Hawthorn

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The top two went head to head at the MCG (©GettyImages)
The top two went head to head at the MCG (©GettyImages).

Round 18 of the Australian Football League was split over two weekends and threw up some remarkable results as the race for finals gets ever tighter.

Swans no longer unbeatable

Premiers Hawthorn brought the Sydney Swans' 12-game winning streak to an end with a 10-point win at the MCG 15.14 (104) to 13.16 (94).

The game marked the return of two-time Hawthorn Premiership player Lance Franklin, as he took on his old side at the MCG for the first time wearing the red of Sydney.

Franklin was involved heavily in the early exchanges, a chorus of boos greeting his every involvement, but it was former partner in crime Jarryd Roughead, playing in his 200th game, who took the plaudits.

The reigning Coleman medallist kicked 4.4 to help the Hawks come back from a 24-point deficit and move level on points with the ladder-leading Swans as they hunt an important top-two finish and a home final.

Geelong Cats trail the ladder-leading duo on percentage after a hard-fought seven-point win at Greater Western Sydney 12.15 (87) to 13.16 (94). Usual suspects Joel Selwood and Stevie Johnson starred, gaining 39 and 30 disposals respectively as the Cats keep in touch with the top two.

It was another impressive performance for the youthful but emerging Giants side as they proved they can remain a competitive unit against the competition's elite teams.

Freemantle shock

Fremantle suffered the shock result of the season after they went down to a big defeat by struggling St Kilda 17.16 (118) to 9.6 (60). The Dockers, heavily fancied for a tilt at the Premiership, failed to cope with a Saints side who remain bottom of the ladder despite the win.

Captain Nick Reidwolt starred for St Kilda, gathering 30 disposals and kicking four goals in the upset of the season so far.

Collingwood's poor form continued and they now sit outside the top eight and are on the verge of missing finals for the first time in eight years.

The Magpies lost their fifth game out of the last six, going down 12.10 (82) to 14.14 (98) to Adelaide Crows. It was an improved performance from Collingwood after their dismal effort against Essendon in the previous round but despite their industry they remain on the brink.

The Crows leapfrog Collingwood into eighth and have a real chance of continuing their season into September.

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Gold Coast stutter

Gold Coast continued to stutter in the absence of injured captain and talisman Gary Ablett as they lost 16.14 (110) to 8.8 (56) to the Brisbane Lions. The Suns now sit 10th on the ladder, outside the top eight on percentage as they bid for a maiden finals campaign.

Pierce Hanley and Tom Rockliff were in sensational form for Brisbane, gathering 45 and 47 disposals respectively as the Lions gained just their fifth win of a difficult season.

Elsewhere there were wins for Carlton 16.(109) to 13.8 (86) over the inconsistent North Melbourne.

Port Adelaide got their push for finals back on track with a narrow three-point win over Melbourne 10.12 (72) to 10.9 (69) whilst Essendon followed up their win over Collingwood with victory over the Western Bulldogs 15.11 (101) to 14.10 (94).

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