WEST COAST 4.3 7.7 8.8 10.9 (69)
SYDNEY SWANS 5.1 10.4 13.8 18.13 (121)
The Sydney Swans have asserted their spot at the top of the AFL ladder with a 52-point victory over the Eagles in Perth.
The Swans ended an eighteen game winning streak for the Eagles at home, and extended their streak to six straight victories over their recent rivals. West Coast threatened to blow the game apart early, kicking the first three goals of the game within eight minutes before Lewis Jetta and Ben McGlynn clawed a couple back for the Swans.
The intensity of the contest and the keenness for the ball from both sides was at September levels and the tight and tough man-on-man set up harked back to the classic mid-2000’s rivalry between the two sides. A goal to Sam Reid in the dying moments of the first quarter saw the Swans take the lead for the first time and they soon extended it when they kicked the first three majors of the second quarter.
The ferocity at the ball by both teams was highlighted when Lewis Roberts-Thompson was knocked senseless – and later hospitalised – after a fierce head clash with Jacob Brennan, who was similarly single-minded in his hardness for the footy.
While the Eagles had successfully subdued the Swans old guard of Adam Goodes and Jude Bolton possession-wise, with barely ten touches between them til half-time, they each still chipped in with a goal-apiece. Even the big Canadian Mike Pyke showed surprising dexterity to dibble a ball through from the outside of his foot while under extreme duress from Darren Glass.
A fast-break goal to Schofield for the Eagles was countered with two late goals to the Swans who went into half-time fifteen up from an accurate 10-4-64 to West Coasts wasteful 7-7-49.
The third quarter saw the Swans miss a number of chances to put West Coast away, their inaccuracy with three goals and four behinds keeping the Eagles – who managed just one goal for the quarter, and lost Jack Darling to a hamstring injury – in the contest. Ryan O’Keefe was huge for the visitors, with ten disposals and numerous clearances, while for West Coast, Selwood was getting plenty of the ball, yet seemed to be kicking it exclusively to Ted Richards.
Despite their five-goal lead, Sydney started the last quarter tentatively, the Eagles capitalised with Masten scoring in the second minute to give the slightest of hopes. Yet two goals to Bolton and a classy 55-metre finish from Josh Kennedy sealed the deal. Reid kicked his third and Jetta his fourth late to secure an impressive 52-point win for the Swans.
The pairing of Pyke and Shane Mumford matched the imposing Eagles ruck pair of Dean Cox and Nic Natanui – only losing the hit outs 46-50 – while O’Keefe and Hannebery racked up the stats with 39 and 42 disposals respectively.
The Swans easily won the contested ball count, the Inside 50s 65 to 48 and ran the Eagles, who on top of injuries and suspension also lost Ashton Hams pre-game, ragged with quick and good handballs releasing players in motion.
3 – O’Keefe
2 – Hannebery
1 – Kennedy
West Coast: Masten 3, Darling 2, Scott Selwood, Sheppard, Cox, Newman, Naitanui
Sydney Swans: Jetta 4, Bolton 3, Reid 3, McVeigh, Bird, McGlynn, Goodes, Pyke, Roberts-Thomson, Everitt, Kennedy
West Coast: Masten, Scott Selwood, Priddis, Kerr, Shepphard
Sydney Swans: O’Keefe, Hannebery, Kennedy, Richards, Jetta, Mumford, Jack
West Coast: Jack Darling (hamstring tightness)
Sydney Swans: Lewis Roberts-Thomson (head)
West Coast: Koby Stevens replaced Jack Darling (hamstring tightness) in the third quarter
Sydney Swans: Andrejs Everitt replaced Lewis Roberts-Thomson (head) at half-time
Umpires: Margetts, Stevic, Findlay
Official crowd: 39,152 at Patersons Stadium