The Sydney Swans finally won their first game of the 2017 premiership season, beating the once powerful (they were in 2003) Brisbane Lions by 54 points at the SCG. Owen Six is now dead as the Swans marched from last place.... to second last place, because stupid Melbourne lost to Hawthorn.
Going into the game, Swans coach John Longmire did his usual shuffling of fringe players, throwing magnets in the air and recalling Aliir, Florent and Towers from the reserves, while deciding pre-season is overrated, selecting McVeigh and rushing back Sam Naismith.
Unfortunately, Horse decided to hold a bit of an early Saturday training get together, and Aliir Aliir failed to save it in his outlook calendar and turned up late, whoopsie daisy.
In the end, Aliir was told to stay in his warm up gear, and another regular shuffled player Harrison Marsh was called up.
Going into the game both sides were in god awful form. Brisbane somehow managed to pinch a win, but were fresh off being thumped by Port Adelaide. Sydney did the unthinkable and lost to Carlton in a cripple fight.
Recent history suggests the Swans should be confident, sure they needed to utilise the old stretcher trick to beat the lions last year, but they went in as unbackable favourites.
Sydney started in blistering form by their standards, former skipper Jarred McVeigh hit a target straight away (much to the shock of Swans fans, unused to such things in 2017), leading to an early goal.
The Lions had turned up in their new (newish?) witches hat orange clash guernsey and certainly looked the part.
With skipper Dayne Beams out injured it was certainly a stretch to know more than 3 or 4 Lions players, but they did have the regulation 22.
In the first quarter the Swans controlled the play kicking several goals, showing great aggression with Zak Jones leading from the front with dash and clash, Naismith and Sinclair rucking well, Franklin looking set for a day out and Heeney adding class.
An early goal for captain Kennedy was a good sign, and until Sydney let their defence get involved, the Lions looked unlikely to score. The Swans led by 35 at the first change, almost scoring their season average in the first quarter.
Sydney continued the second quarter in solid fashion, but the young Lions capitalised on several defensive errors, making it a competitive contest. By half time Buddy had 5, Jones looked good, Parker had started to get more of it and Dean Towers surprised everyone including himself by getting a few touches, though he always looks surprised. Sydney led by 44 at half time.
The second half saw the Swans fade in and out of the game, not really stringing four quarters together. At times it was the 2016 Swans with crisp confident ball movement and Buddy and co. looking dominant up forward. At other times especially down back you could hear the Benny Hill music playing over miss kicks, poor handballs and general doofus style play (looking at you Heath Grundy).
In the end, those who attended or survived the horrid commentary of Dermott Brereton - my god he is painful, what a bad commentator, seriously loves the sound of his own voice; watched the Swans win by 54 points and got to sing along as winners for the first time this year. It was the first win for Hayward, Florent and Melican, and Kennedy's first as captain.
Highlights included Buddy kicking 8, Jones fantastic game, he was everywhere and had tremendous presence and poise, the improving fitness and form of Heeney and Papley, Parker getting more of the ball and in general the Swans being more aggressive and attacking.
Time will tell if this was Sydney beating up on a rubbish side (who did in all seriousness fight it out) or if the Swans are back in some form. When you are 0-6 you just take the wins.
The swans survived the game without an injury. Aliir Aliir was a late change, replaced by Harry Marsh, due to sleeping through his alarm clock.
Next up the Swans play Sunday twilight against North Melbourne at Etihad, fresh off smashing the top side in the competition.
Franklin 8, Hayward 2, Sinclair 2, Cunningham 2, Towers, Kennedy, Heeney, Parker, Jones, Hannebery
Jones, Franklin, Heeney, Towers, Lloyd, Parker
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