Sydney has kept its finals hopes alive while handing Gold Coast a 10th straight defeat, winning by 42 points at the SCG on Saturday, but a serious shoulder injury to ruckman Callum Sinclair has dealt a massive blow to the home side's slim September dreams.
Sinclair dislocated his right shoulder in the first minute of the match, and while he returned to the field after receiving treatment in the rooms and having it heavily strapped, it popped out again before the first break and he didn't return after quarter-time.
With their ruckman missing, the Swans were forced to throw key defender Aliir Aliir up against seasoned SUN Jarrod Witts, who as expected dominated the hit outs, and young forward Tom McCartin moved to the backline.
Despite being a man down for most of the game, Sydney eventually managed to fend off the plucky visitors with eight goals to two in the second half, winning 14.9 (93) to 7.9 (51).
Veteran defender Jarrod Harbrow did a superb job in limiting the influence of Tom Papley for most of the game, and Brad Scheer did well as a defensive half forward on the prolific Jake Lloyd, while David Swallow, Anthony Miles, Pearce Hanley and Brayden Fiorini were others to have an influence for Stuart Dew's side.
The SUNS opened the game with the first goal after a brilliant solo effort from Alex Sexton, and while the Swans booted a couple in a row, a clutch set shot from Scheer had the visitors in front at the first change.
Witts continued to have a big impact against Aliir in the second term and Gold Coast took advantage to gain control in the clearances where Swallow and Miles took it right up to the experienced Sydney onballers.
But two late goals in the second term gave the home side a half-time advantage, and four more to Gold Coast's lone major in the third quarter had the Swans up by 23 points at the last break.
Papley's second, less than three minutes into the final quarter, virtually ended the SUNS' hopes of a second straight upset at the SCG after last year's boilover, and a couple for Isaac Heeney pushed out the margin and capped off a solid night out for the Swans.
Sydney: Sinclair popped his right shoulder in the first minute, and while he got it strapped and returned to the field, he dislocated it again just before quarter-time and played no further part in the match.
Gold Coast: Ben King was groggy after a tackle in the opening term and was checked out for concussion in the rooms at the first break, but was cleared to return.
The Swans head to Melbourne to take on Essendon at the MCG in a massive clash for the finals chances of both sides, while the SUNS host Richmond at Metricon Stadium, with both games on Saturday afternoon.
SYDNEY 3.3 6.3 10.6 14.9 (93)
GOLD COAST 2.3 5.5 6.7 7.9 (51)
Sydney: Reid 2, Blakey 2, Ronke 2, Papley 2, Heeney 2, Jones, Aliir, Kennedy, Hayward
Gold Coast: Macpherson 2, Wright, Sexton, Scheer, Day, Miles
Sydney: Dawson, Parker, Rampe, Hewett, Kennedy, Heeney
Gold Coast: Harbrow, Swallow, Miles, Hanley, Macpherson, Scheer
Sydney: Sinclair (shoulder) O'Riordan (head)
Gold Coast: King (head)
Umpires: Meredith, Findley, Dore
Official crowd: 26,194 at the SCG