Sydney has cemented itself in the top eight thanks to a blistering start with the Western Bulldogs trailing five goals before they had a chance to move.
But then again, the Bulldogs could have ruined their final hopes with two disastrous quarters at the SCG.
In what was billed as an eight point contest as both sides still fight for a locked top eight spot, it was the Swans who were able to build momentum and walk away with a 53 point win.
Reflecting an extremely hot first-quarter performance from the home side, John Longmire clearly fired up his troops as they scored seven goals from 15 shots in the first term.
AFL Nation’s Gerard Healy speculated that the Swans players stole a bin from their coach pre-match, saying: “The Swans look like they’re playing the way John Longmire told them to wear the mouthguard this week (in training).”
“The dogs are dead quiet at the moment and in the kennel.”
By the first break, Sydney had won the embattled footy by nearly 20, won the distances 14-6 and efficiency dominated their strikers 50 68-27 per cent.
Callum Mills had six tackles with eight minutes left in the opening quarter in a showcase of the Swans’ fire, with the co-captain making 23 touches, 15 tackles and a goal.
The Swans make it look easy.
— Fox Footy (@FOXFOOTY) July 8, 2022
He was well supported by Sam Reid (13 tackles, 15 contested possessions) and Chad Warner (25 disposals, two goals).
And while Tom Papley didn’t get over his woeful goals from last week – he kicked 2.5 on the SCG turf – he was still among the best handful on the ground, with 17 goals, some seven more than any other. player on the ground.
Midway through the first quarter, the Swans had five goals on the board, wreaking havoc early in the game. The Dogs claimed the rest of the half, but the Sydney defense held out, by a 29-point margin at the main break.
Despite the minor comeback, Luke Beveridge’s troops undone all their good work when they put out a terrible third quarter.
They conceded six more goals in the Premiership term. All in all, the Dogs won a quarter of the clash and lost the latter by just four points, but were still 53 on the scoreboard at the final siren.
It’s an impressive move from the Swans as they admitted their share of momentum swings in 2022.
That is sublime footwork from Isaac Heeney!
— AFL (@AFL) July 8, 2022
Just a few weeks ago, the Swans looked like a strong chance to book a top four ticket, and the win only bolsters their credentials which could be quite exciting to watch.
However, as Healy points out, it’s hard to read the Swans given how bad the Dogs were at Thursday night patches.
Beveridge never saw his side play their style of play, their midfield well beaten and the story only got worse from then on.
“This is a sensational win for the Swans… but it’s hard to know how good they’ve been because the Dogs were terrible. Worst I’ve seen them play all year,” Healy said.
— AFL (@AFL) July 8, 2022
The Bulldogs are under no illusions about the much publicized difficulty of their run home and they are now two games out of the top eight with six games left.
“When you get two out of eight games, you’re almost done, aren’t you?” Healy added.
Meanwhile, the Swans are suddenly fifth on the ladder, an example of how close the competition is.
Sydney: 7.8, 9.11, 15.15, 17.18. (120)
Western Bulldogs: 2.1, 5.6, 8.8, 9.13. (67)
Sydney: Heeney 4, Amartey 2, Franklin 2, Papley 2, Warner 2, Clarke, Hayward, Mills, Rowbottom, Stephens
Western Bulldogs: Naughton 2, Weightman 2, Bontempelli, Engels, Johannisen, Schache, Ugle-Hagan
Sydney: Papley, Parker, Mills, Warner, Reid
Western Bulldogs: English, Bontempelli, Treloar, Liberatore, Dale
Sydney: Ladhams (thumb)
Western Bulldogs: Scott (concussion)