Gritty Swans hand Kangaroos first AFL loss

Sydney Swans have returned to the AFL winners’ list and handed North Melbourne its first defeat of the season, triumphing by 11 points at Docklands.

The Swans overcame a slow start on Saturday afternoon to seize control of the contest, taking the lead early in the second term and never looking back, going on to win 10.11 (71) to 8.12 (60).

The result leaves both teams in the top half of the ladder on two wins and one loss apiece.

North Melbourne suffered a blow before the opening bounce with midfielder Ben Cunnington a late withdrawal due to a back issue, replaced by former GWS player Aiden Bonar, who made his club debut.

The Kangaroos flew out of the blocks with Ben Brown booting the first two goals of the match before Sydney’s run of five-consecutive majors.

North Melbourne were left to rue wastefulness up forward — booting just three goals across the second and third quarters to Sydney’s eight.

The Swans rallied from their round-two loss to Essendon with an impressive performance, with slick ball movement from the midfield on display, especially in the third term.

Tom Papley and Isaac Heeney sparked the Swans to a three-goal lead early in the third quarter and they extended it to 27 points by the final break.

The Kangaroos mounted a final-quarter comeback, booting three goals while keeping the Swans goalless, but were unable to claw back Sydney’s lead.

Midfield stalwart Josh Kennedy and young gun Ollie Florent were excellent with 22 disposals apiece, while Luke Parker and James Rowbottom also impressed.

The Kangaroos clearly missed Cunnington’s grunt work in midfield but Jy Simpkin continued his strong start to the season, racking up 26 disposals, eight clearances and a goal, while Todd Goldstein (35 hitouts) was superb in the ruck.

Sydney tall Tom McCartin came from the ground in the final quarter after a heavy landing from a marking contest and did not return.

The Swans made a late pre-game change, with Hayden McLean replacing Justin McInerney to give the Swans extra height.

Loading

AAP