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Swans made to work but prove too strong for SUNS

James Dampney  April 6, 2013 6:54 PM

Swans-made-to-work.jpg

Swans made to work but prove too strong for SUNS

We just needed a bit of luck, but having said that Sydney's pressure was fantastic, caused a few easy turnovers … and they are going to make you pay
THE SYDNEY Swans continue easing themselves into the new season, holding off a plucky Gold Coast side by 41 points at the SCG on Saturday.

The Swans are yet to find their best form early in their premiership defence, but did enough to secure a 17.12 (114) to 11.7 (73) victory in some terrible conditions in Sydney.

Coming off a stirring round one win over St Kilda, the SUNS weren't overawed on their first game in the harbour city, leading at quarter-time and taking it right up to the premiers.

But the class of Jarrad McVeigh (27 possessions, four goals) and Ryan O'Keefe (27 possessions, two goals) proved telling on the day the Swans unveiled their 2012 premiership flag.

Kieren Jack kept Gary Ablett to 24 touches, with some help from Nick Smith, while Karmichael Hunt showed his talents as a tagger, holding Josh Kennedy to 11 disposals in the first half.

In just his second AFL game, Gold Coast teenager Jaeger O'Meara also excelled, finishing with 25 disposals and seven tackles.

Luke Parker, Mike Pyke and the returning Andrejs Everitt all kicked two goals for the home side, with Charlie Dixon (three goals) and Aaron Hall (two) the multiple goal kickers for the SUNS.

Afterwards, Swans coach John Longmire was content with the job done on Ablett, who had carried the SUNS to victory over the Saints.

"It's not an easy job," Longmire said.

"'Smooch' (Smith) had him when he was forward and Kieren in the midfield and I thought they did a pretty good job.

"(Jack) was the logical match-up for Gary in the middle of the ground.

"Gary still got a bit of the ball, he was always going to get it, but it was under pressure and we restricted his influence to the point where it allowed us to be competitive and win the game."

The last time the Swans unveiled a flag, back in 2006, Port Adelaide ruined the party with a 26-point win, but there would be no repeat performance this time around.

The rain came down hard as the game started, which seemed likely to assist the Swans, who kicked the opening goal of the game through McVeigh.

Surprisingly, though, the SUNS then took control, using long kicks to pin the ball in their forward half for long periods and putting the home side under constant pressure.

Jack Hutchins took on the defence and kicked a lovely solo goal before a Dixon snap gave Gold Coast a lead it would hold until quarter-time.

McVeigh then decided it was time to take over, kicking two goal and hitting the post with another snap as the Swans broke out of their slumber.

A Ben McGlynn major made it a four-goal lead before Dixon's second had the SUNS trailing by 18 points at the main break.

The teams kicked five goals apiece as the Swans led by 22 points with one quarter to play, with the home side then easing to a second straight win to start the year.

Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna was pleased his side had avoided a let-down after the highs of last week's upset win and felt the Swans' extra polish and experience had proven the difference.

"I said to the boys leading into this week it is going to be a mental challenge to see if we can back up after our result in round one and I thought they did," he said.

"It was just purely Sydney's class.

"We just needed a bit of luck, but having said that Sydney's pressure was fantastic, caused a few easy turnovers … and they are going to make you pay."

SYDNEY SWANS            2.1   6.4   11.10   17.12 (114)
GOLD COAST SUNS      2.2   3.4    8.6      11.7 (73)


GOALS
Sydney Swans: McVeigh 4, Parker, Pyke, Everitt, O'Keefe 2, McGlynn, Kennedy, Jetta, Jack, Bolton
Gold Coast SUNS: Dixon 3, Hall 2, Smith, Shaw, May, Matera, Hutchins, Day

BEST
Sydney Swans: McVeigh, Jack, O'Keefe, Smith, Bolton, McGlynn, Hannebery
Gold Coast SUNS: Dixon, Harbrow, O'Meara, Prestia, Ablett, Hunt

INJURIES
Sydney Swans: Nil
Gold Coast SUNS: Nil

SUBSTITUTES
Sydney Swans: Rhyce Shaw replaced by Craig Bird in the final quarter
Gold Coast: Jack Hutchins replaced by Jared Brennan in the third quarter

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Farmer, Bannister, Leppard

Official crowd: 20,372 at SCG