Report: Wasteful Swans blow first-half lead

Sydney's stuttering season hit another bump on Thursday night, continuing their shocking home ground form against the Demons.

Winless and staring down the barrel of an unthinkable 0-4 start to the season, the Demons had it all to play for at the SCG.

The last time the Demons had beaten Sydney was way back in Round 17, 2010; the only players from that match being Nathan Jones, and Swans pair Josh Kennedy and Kieran Jack.

Going into the match as warm favourites, Lance Franklin's 15-game winning stream, Sydney's 7-game winning streak, and Melbourne's record at the SCG looked like a mountain to climb.

Needing a win to keep their season alive, Melbourne capitalised on the wasteful Swans, who were their own worst enemy, turning a first-half deficit into a comfortable 22-point win.

In a wasteful first half, the Swans had more than 20 shots on goal, kicking just 8 goals.

With two shots out of bounds on the full, two that dropped short, and numerous missed opportunities directly in front of goals, Sam Reid and Lance Franklin were chief culprits.

Melbourne rode their luck when they pegged back an early 22-point lead to trail by 6 at half-time, with snaps under pressure fortuitously sailing through the goals.

With Braydon Preuss (2 goals) and Max Gawn (55 hit outs) dominating the ruck throughout the game, midfielders Nathan Jones (3 goals) and Clayton Oliver stirred the Demons into action, lifting their pressure and work rate, turning the game in their favour.

After Sydney opened up a 22-point lead midway through the second term, Nathan Jones (3 goals) kicked two quick goals and Demon Jake Melksham kicked their third goal in a blistering 3-minute spell, narrowing the lead to just 5 points.

https://twitter.com/AFL/status/1116285028785221639

Mature aged recruit Marty More, playing his second game of AFL football, was an inspired selection for the Demons, collecting 8 intercept possessions and 9 marks.

Combining with Sam Frost, they kept Sydney's spearheads Lance Franklin and Sam Reid to just 1 goal throughout the match, with Reid having little influence.

Young forward Jordan Dawson impressed with two goals, while winger Harry Cunningham showed his class and work rate, with 25 disposals, 22 pressure acts and 575 metres gained.

Midfielder Isaac Heeney (23 disposals, 8 tackles) and youngster Ollie Florent (25 disposals, 4 clearances) were the best for the Swans, picking up 31 disposals and 3 centre clearances between them by half-time.

But by half-time, the tide had well and truly turned against the Swans, with Demons' kicking 4.2 from 6 inside 50s late in the second quarter.

The Demons started the third quarter where they left off at half-time.

Goals to Tom McDonald, Christian Petracca and two to Jayden Hunt blew the game wide open, while the Swans would do little to halt the momentum.

Gawn - who was already on track to breaking the hit-outs record with 33 in the first half, found a way to give his midfielders first use of the ball, breaking free of the Swans shackles.

Angus Brayshaw (6 clearances), Clayton Oliver (7 clearances, 33 disposals) and Nathan Jones were influential in the Demons' resurgent third quarter, pegging the Swans deep in their defensive half

The Swans could do little as they continued to turn the ball over, with Jackson Thurlow and Jake Lloyd having moments they would rather forget.

Dane Rampe (25 disposals) and Aliir Aliir (9 intercept possessions, 7 marks) battled hard all night, but could do little to stop the avalanche of Demons football.

A brief glimmer early in the fourth quarter gave the Swans' faithful cause for hope, before Nathan Jones booted his third goal of the night, and Sam Weideman kicked truly from the pocket.

Kieran Jack provided his trademark dash and forward-half pressure, kicking two goals, while debutant Justin McInerney found the going tough, finishing with three contested possessions.

The loss now makes it four in a row for the Swans at the SCG and 6 from 7 games, with their last game against Collingwood in Round 20, 2018, by 2 points.

With games against the GWS Giants, Essendon and Collingwood at the SCG, the task doesn't get any easier for the Swans.

NEXT UP

It doesn't get any easier for the Swans next week, taking on the 2017 premiers, who're struggling with their own injury crisis.

SYDNEY   5.4  8.10  9.11  11.12 (78)
MELBOURNE   3.2  8.4  12.7  15.10 (100)

Injuries

SYDNEY: Isaac Heeney copped a knock to the hip flexor late in the second quarter, but played out the game.
MELBOURNE: Braydon Preuss, Clayton Oliver and Angus Brayshaw copped knocks, but played out the game.

Reports

Nil

GOALS

SYDNEY: Florent (2), Dawson (2), Jack (2), Sinclair, Z. Jones, Heeney, Franklin, Ronke
MELBOURNE: N. Jones (3), Preuss (2), Petracca (2), Hunt (2), Harmes, Melksham, T. McDonald, Weideman, Brayshaw, Viney

BEST

SYDNEY: Cunningham, Aliir, Heeney, Florent, Franklin, Z. Jones
MELBOURNE: N. Jones, Oliver, Gawn, Hore, Harmes, Salem

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Justin Mitchell

Justin is a passionate AFL and Sydney Swans supporter, and football blogger since 2016. All articles are of his own opinion. You can reach him by twitter and Facebook at @theswansblog

Melbourne, Australia http://theswansblog.com

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