|Brownlow Medal||3 Isaac Heeney (SYD)||2 Sam Reid (SYD)||1 Heath Grundy (SYD)|
They may only have a 4-7 record but it would be a brave or foolish person to write off the Sydney Swans in season 2017 after they summarily dismissed the reigning premiers the Western Bulldogs at the SCG on Thursday night. The Swans inflicted the Dogs first defeat of more than 25 points in almost a year, getting on top almost from the very beginning and powering away to a 46-point win. The result leaves the top-eight door ajar for Sydney and leaves the Bulldogs' own place in the eight vulnerable.
Sydney made it clear that it would attempt to intimidate the Bulldogs when several of its player targeted Dogs players - in particular Jason Johannisen - with pre-game bumps. The tactic did appear to put some Bulldogs off, with several ultimately having little impact. When play began, Dan Hannebery set the tone for the night in playing terms when poor marking from the Bulldogs at a ball-up saw him rove a throw-up unchallenged and run into an open goal to kick the first of the night.
Goals proved hard to come by after that, but the Bulldogs levelled the scores with a goal to Toby McLean and actually hit the front with a rushed behind soon after but after Tory Dickson added behind soon after, a long goal from Lance Franklin after a mark gave the Swans a lead they would not relinquish for the rest of the night. The home side led by an even goal at the first break.
The Swans looked dominant early in the second term but could not translate that onto the scoreboard. They added three behinds, including misses from Will Hayward and Franklin, and the Dogs made them pay when Caleb Daniel marked and (with the aid of a 50-metre penalty) goaled against the run of play to cut the margin to just three points. The relentless Swans eventually started to make an impact on the scoreboard, however, and majors to Franklin, Tom Papley and Franklin again saw them go to the long break with a 23-point lead, one that should have been greater given the control of the game Sydney had had to that point.
The Western Bulldogs were dealt a blow when Marcus Adams was ruled out of the game at half time with a foot injury. In his absence Sydney extended its lead to 30 points when Sam Reid goaled early in the third quarter but two in a row from the Bulldogs through Jake Stringer and Dickson saw them back within 19 points. Reid and Josh Kennedy added two more for the Swans but a goal from acting captain Easton Wood, who had been moved forward, and another from Luke Dahlhaus somehow had the Bulldogs back within 21 points in time-on of the term. But Sydney again dominated the final minutes of the quarter, a goal to Papley putting the Swans 29 points clear at the final turn.
When Luke Parker goaled within the first minute of the final quarter and George Hewett added another three minutes later, the Swans were 41 points ahead and the game very much had a 'dam wall about to burst' feel about it. But the Bulldogs' renowned defence held firm, and Jake Lloyd's major at the nine-minute mark was Sydney's only other goal of the match. The problem for the Bulldogs was that they could not score themselves, and the match ended with them goalless in the final term - the fourth time this year they have gone through a quarter without a goal - as Sydney cruised to a 46-point win.
Isaac Heeney (31 possessions, five marks), Kennedy (37 touches, three tackles) and Lloyd (31 disposals and 10 marks) stood out for the victors, while Jack Macrae (32 touches, five marks) and Dahlhaus (28 possessions, five tackles) continued their consistently good form to be amongst the Bulldogs' best.
While Sydney will come away from the match full of confidence and the Dogs perhaps plagued by doubts, the simple fact is that the Bulldogs are two games clear of the Swans on the ladder and in the eight, and such has been the fluctuating form of all sides this year, the reigning premiers should not be panicking just yet. Sydney, on the other hand, are perhaps the form side of the league, but its 0-6 start to the season means that it is still two games away from a place in the top eight. The Swans will take on fourth-placed Richmond at the MCG next Saturday, while the eight-placed Dogs will play the sixth-placed Demons the next day at Docklands. Both sides have six wins.
Sydney: Franklin 3; Reid, Papley 2; Hannebery, Kennedy, Parker, Hewett, Lloyd
Western Bulldogs: McLean, Daniel, Stringer, Dickson, Wood, Dahlhaus
BEST - AFL.COM.AU
Sydney: Heeney, Kennedy, Papley, Lloyd, Grundy, Hannebery
Western Bulldogs: Dahlhaus, Daniel, Macrae, Wallis
BEST - THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
Sydney: Kennedy, Hannebery, Papley, Parker, Reid, Franklin, Heeney, Grundy
Western Bulldogs: Macrae, Daniel, Dahlhaus, Wallis, Suckling
Sydney: Jack (fingers)
Western Bulldogs: Adams (foot)
UMPIRES: Nicholls, Hay, Findlay, McInerney
TELEVISION BROADCAST: Seven Network
|23||Franklin, Lance 'Buddy'||13||9||3||16||3||5||0||2||1||1||30y 129d||258||822|
|39||Grundy, Heath||12||7||10||22||0||0||0||2||1||0||31y 6d||224||23|
|4||Hannebery, Dan||12||6||16||28||1||0||0||4||0||1||26y 104d||181||90|
|9||Hayward, Will||9||6||2||11||0||2||0||3||1||0||18y 225d||10||11|
|5||Heeney, Isaac||17||5||14||31||0||1||0||4||2||0||21y 34d||45||50|
|29||Hewett, George||8||5||4||12||1||0||0||1||2||2||21y 161d||35||21|
|15||Jack, Kieren||9||2||7||16||0||1||0||2||1||1||29y 345d||216||147|
|10||Jones, Zak||8||1||8||16||0||1||0||3||1||1||22y 85d||42||9|
|12||Kennedy, Josh||15||2||22||37||1||0||0||3||2||1||28y 353d||194||124|
|44||Lloyd, Jake||23||10||8||31||1||0||0||0||1||0||23y 261d||80||19|
|31||Marsh, Harry||10||6||5||15||0||0||0||0||1||0||23y 146d||15||0|
|43||Melican, Lewis||8||4||6||14||0||0||0||2||2||0||20y 216d||7||0|
|14||Mills, Callum||10||9||4||14||0||0||0||3||0||2||20y 67d||33||1|
|35||Naismith, Sam||4||1||4||8||0||0||33||3||2||1||24y 327d||19||3|
|28||Newman, Nic||14||7||4||18||0||0||1||3||0||0||24y 144d||8||3|
|41||Papley, Tom||9||0||12||21||2||1||0||8||1||0||20y 330d||28||40|
|26||Parker, Luke||15||4||8||23||1||0||0||8||0||1||24y 226d||138||109|
|24||Rampe, Dane||8||6||8||16||0||0||0||2||0||1||27y 6d||102||6|
|20||Reid, Sam||10||10||6||16||2||2||0||2||0||0||25y 163d||109||111|
|18||Sinclair, Callum||5||1||11||16||0||0||31||4||2||0||27y 258d||54||32|
|40||Smith, Nick||12||4||6||18||0||0||0||1||1||0||28y 361d||178||10|
|22||Towers, Dean||10||1||5||15||0||0||0||3||1||1||27y 35d||36||20|
|Western Bulldogs||Match Stats||Career|
|25||Adams, Marcus||9||7||5||14||0||0||0||1||0||2||23y 343d||21||4|
|24||Biggs, Shane||12||4||7||19||0||0||0||3||1||0||25y 307d||48||7|
|4||Bontempelli, Marcus||12||6||6||18||0||1||1||11||0||5||21y 196d||74||70|
|5||Boyd, Matthew||14||7||8||22||0||0||0||2||2||1||34y 285d||290||85|
|13||Cloke, Travis||5||3||3||8||0||0||2||4||0||1||30y 95d||252||447|
|6||Dahlhaus, Luke||12||2||16||28||1||0||0||5||0||1||24y 291d||126||99|
|31||Dale, Bailey||6||1||5||11||0||1||0||0||1||2||20y 321d||19||10|
|35||Daniel, Caleb||8||1||20||28||1||0||0||4||1||1||20y 336d||43||20|
|29||Dickson, Tory||4||2||8||12||1||1||0||5||0||0||29y 255d||82||142|
|44||English, Tim||0||1||7||7||0||0||8||3||0||0||19y 302d||2||0|
|7||Hunter, Lachie||9||3||13||22||0||0||0||1||0||0||22y 177d||73||34|
|39||Johannisen, Jason||5||0||4||9||0||0||0||1||0||0||24y 212d||75||23|
|46||Jong, Lin||4||1||9||13||0||0||0||4||3||2||24y 4d||50||26|
|11||Macrae, Jack||9||5||23||32||0||0||0||4||1||0||22y 309d||88||21|
|16||McLean, Toby||9||2||12||21||1||0||0||5||0||3||21y 128d||27||23|
|42||Picken, Liam||13||2||10||23||0||0||0||3||1||0||30y 311d||187||70|
|18||Roberts, Fletcher||2||1||3||5||0||0||0||3||0||0||24y 5d||46||0|
|23||Roughead, Jordan||5||2||4||9||0||0||5||5||1||0||26y 217d||115||24|
|9||Stringer, Jake||6||1||5||11||1||2||0||1||0||0||23y 44d||82||156|
|1||Suckling, Matt||11||6||9||20||0||0||0||1||1||1||28y 318d||130||63|
|3||Wallis, Mitch||10||3||14||24||0||0||0||2||1||1||24y 227d||96||43|
|10||Wood, Easton||11||5||4||15||1||0||0||3||0||2||27y 277d||118||17|