Sydney 2.9.10 82 defeated North Melbourne 9.11.65.
Ultimately the buffer of two second-half super goals sealed the win for the Swans in front of 2042 hardy souls at a sodden Bruce Purser Oval in the outer-western Sydney suburb of Kellyville.
The Swans made the best of the slippery conditions early, with their tall targets – including Irishman Tommy Walsh – up forward proving a handful and former Tiger Mitch Morton snaring the first six-pointer of the game. Mark Seaby converted after taking a great contested grab, while Ted Richards was keeping Drew Petrie quiet at the other end.
Norths’ handball-heavy, and largely boundary skirting, attacking forays only returned three behinds for the quarter, with Marty Mattner cleaning up repeatedly and Nick Smith rebounding dangerously.
The Kangaroos provided the most entertaining play of the game, when a forced turnover and a deft almost volley ball-esque touch by Firrito found an ever-lurking Boomer Harvey running into space. Yet in a quarter of missed opportunities – with the Swans themselves kicking 2.4 – only a minor score eventuated.
The Roos’ rallied in the second quarter, with Jamie Macmillian taking a great mark within the opening minute, but missing the set shot. A further behind followed before Matt Campbell finally slotted the Kangas first goal from a free.
Petrie finished off some dashing ball movement from a turnover after Jesse White spilled the ball in the Swans attacking fifty for the Roos’ second of the quarter. Harvey added a classy goal, and if it wasn’t for a costly five behinds for the quarter, North could have been in front at the break.
A late opportune goal, where a foot-race from a long, quick barrel out of defence was won by Sydney’s ‘super-sub’ Gary Rohan, who just got a toe in after a 60-metre-sprint to scrub through a six-pointer.
Andrejs Everitt roved a pack to snare a late goal and give the Swans a five point-lead at half time, while a huge tackle by Canadian Mike Pyke on North ruckman Hamish McIntosh sent him off to the oranges a bit worse for wear.
The half-time stats showing the Roos’ reliance on hand, leading the handball count 81 to 51, while typically the Swans were out-tackling their opponents 24 – 18.
The second half saw the Roos play a more open forward structure, with a line of four; Aaron Black, Lindsay Thomas, Petrie and Aaron Edwards with lots of room ahead resulting in an early goal to the latter, slotting a check-side banana from a tight angle after a free.
The introduction of the imposing Mumford in the ruck and Lewis Roberts Thompson down back for the Swans saw them stem the forward flow of the Roos. The pace of the dangerous Jetta enabled him to break free and kick a running supergoal, while two classy six-pointers to Craig Bird saw the Swans take a 53 to 34 lead into three-quarter time.
Harvey began the Roos last-quarter fight back off his own boot, kicking the first goal of the last quarter, but his red and white nemesis Kieran Jack trumped him soon after with a supergoal of his own.
Promising hard-nut Paul Kelly look-and-play-a-like, Harry Cunningham popped up for a Swans goal, and when Craig Bird kicked his third, closely followed by Nick Malceski goaling at the end of some quick, precise ball work around the ruck, the result was inevitable.
The tireless Harvey kicked a couple late to add some respectability and Lindsay Thomas chipped in with two goals of his own, one after the final siren to make the final margin 17 points.
Jack Ziebell was dangerous in the middle for the Roos, bursting out for a number of clearances, Shaun Atley showed some composure down back while Ben Speight also provided some pace through the centre.
For the Swans McVeigh and Malceski had some classy touches in the second half, while Seaby and Bird both staked claims for what will be some hotly contested forward line positions in the red and white this year.
Goals: Sydney – Supergoals: Jack, Jetta; Goals: Bird 3, Cunningham, Everitt, Malceski, Morton, Rohan, Seaby.
North Melbourne – Goals: Harvey 3, Thomas 2, Black, Campbell, Edwards, Petrie.