The Swans recorded their second win of the season on Sunday night, brushing past the lacklustre North Melbourne Kangaroos.
Boy oh boy, how things can change in just two weeks. Staring down the barrel of James Bond 007 jokes, the Swans stepped up their physical game against the Lions, and repeated their effort against the Roos, laying into them at every opportunity. There were scuffles before the game and every change of end, with the Roos trying to ruffle feathers, but the Swans players getting stuck in and flying the flag.
The physical approach paid dividends, with the Swans surging from midfield and defence with ease, leaving the bruised Roos' players in their wake. While the Roos were competitive in spurts during the 1st, 2nd and 4th quarters, they were mostly poor throughout the match, epitomised by Sideshow Bob's butterfingers, Ziebels' shocking showing, and just piss-poor pressure for 120 minutes.
A lot can be said about the Swans for a performance like this, not quite at their best, but competing harder for longer periods. It was especially pleasing to see Kennedy, Parker and Hannebery dominate and really stamp their authority on the game. More of that please.
The Swans announced an unchanged lined up, but made a late change with Newman coming into the team for Oliver Florent. It was the first time this season the Swans had named an unchanged lineup on Friday before the game.
The Roos started off the game with early pressure and scored a behind through Kane Turner. The Swans ran the ball out of defence and hit up Sam Reid on the lead, whose hands were like glue throughout the match, and put through the Swans first of the match.
The Swans were transitioning well from defence early on, creating repeat entries and scoring opportunities, but struggled to capitalise, until Zak Jones put through another beauty on the run to break the dead lock. He was up and about early, along with Reid, Kennedy and Newman, the latter two dominating across the field.
Parker followed up Zak Jones' effort to snap one over his shoulder, pushing the Swans out to a three goal lead. Late in the quarter, the Roos would capture the ascendency, kicking three in four minutes, with the Swans struggling to stop them.
Great play from Heeney and Hannebery stopped the rut, kicking two goals in two minutes to cap off a good quarter for the Swans, taking an 11 point lead into the first change.
After a manly bit of hug and kiss during the quarter time break, the Roos kicked the first goal of the quarter through Goldstein. As much as I hate the Roos, this guy is class and his set shot was pretty good. The Swans answered back straight away through Kennedy, who was beast modeing the match with more than 16 disposals four minutes into the second quarter.
The game settled into a stalemate, with both teams going goal-for-goal for the next 20 minutes, before ex-captain Jarrad McVeigh stepped up. Suffering hamstring tightness early in the first, he slotted his first of the match from a tight angle in the left pocket, before banging another one through 90 seconds later. What little crowd there was (official attendance 21k) went bananas when he bagged his 2nd.
Heeney kicked his 2nd of the game to put the Swans out to a game high 25 point lead. Like the Roos had done in the first, the Swans bagged three goals in four minutes to put the game beyond doubt before the half-time siren. Luke Parker put the lead beyond 30 points with a fantastic snap goal, before Sideshow Bob was gifted a goal on the square.
A ridiculous umpiring blunder of the "nominated ruckman" rule that will only intensify the scrutiny, with the umpire figuring it out on the field that he made a mess of it. Just bin this garbage.
There were more handbags at half-time with the Roos trying to "man up" but really being sat on their backsides. The Swans blew them out of the water at the start of the 1st, with Reid bagging another beauty inside the first minute and Hannerbery staking his claim for man of the match honours with another goal.
The game settled into back and forth for the next 10 minutes, with Buddy struggling to beat his tagging defender, receiving a rapturous applause from the local ferals when he kicked a behind.
While the Roos started working their way back into game with sustained pressure, the Swans stamped it out with Papley kicking a wonderful solo goal on the run. Hewett finished the quarter off a another goal and put the Swans well and truly in control with a 43 point lead.
The Roos put in a bit of effort in the last quarter, but it was a case of too little too late. They scored the first goal of the quarter, but the Swans answered back through Papley after great work. The Roos answered back through Sideshow Bob when he actually took a mark inside 50, instead of making a meal of it. Anderson put through another for the Roos, making it three of four for the quarter and dragging the margin back to 5 goals.
The Swans weren't going to let the game slip, with Franklin kicking a ridiculous snap over his shoulder in the square with his tagger hanging off him.
The game settled into a stalemate, with both teams playing out the result without any impact. Hayward capped off a fantastic Swans team performance with his first goal of the game before the final siren.
In the end, the Swans won by 42 points with a solid and at times fantastic team performance.
McVeigh suffered hamstring tightness early in the 1st and played out the first half, spending close to half the game on field, but did not reappear after half time.
Nick Smith suffered a "significant" corked thigh late in the 2nd quarter, but played out the game.
Sam Naismith went down on his knee during a contest with Todd Goldstein in the 3rd quarter. He did not reappear in the fourth quarter.
The Swans face the high flying Saints next week in the early Saturday game. The Saints will have to make do without veteran star Nick Riewoldt, while the Swans will no doubt have injury concerns of their own. Tippett should come straight back in for Naismith, who'll most likely be rested, and Rohan in for McVeigh.
Reid 3, Heeney 2, Parker 2, Hannebery 2, McVeigh 2, Papley 2, Jones, Franklin, Hewett, Kennedy
Newman, Kennedy, Parker, Hannebery, Heeney, Mills, Reid
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