West Coast Eagles 10.9 (69) – 18.13 (121) Sydney Swans
The Swans stayed top of the AFL table courtesy of a mighty 52-point win against the Eagles way over in Perth.
West Coast started brightly in front of their 39,152 home fans, scoring the first three goals, before Sydney took firm control. The brilliant Lewis Jetta kicked 4 goals, while the Swans’ workhorse midfield was outstanding to win the contested ball – Daniel Hannebery had a best-on-ground 42 disposals and Ryan O’Keefe managed 39 plus eight clearances.
Perhaps most crucially, Sydney’s ruckmen Shane Mumford and Mike Pyke managed to conquer their opposite numbers – star duo Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui. Swans coach John Longmire would be thrilled, having labelled the two Eagles as ‘arguably the best ruck combination in the competition’.
Sydney was the last team to defeat West Coast in Subiaco (over a year ago), and this was their fifth win in a row against their modern day rivals. It was also their sixth successive victory in this season.
The stakes for this match were high, and the Eagles were the ones to pay the price – dropping from second to fifth on the ladder. West Coast coach John Worsfold admitted his team had been well beaten in contested ball (179-150) but insisted injuries and suspensions had greatly affected the result.
“We were shuffling players around to get a team out there a little bit today,” he claimed. “They’re probably close to the most experienced team in the competition and tonight we were fairly inexperienced in names and also in positions where guys were trying to play for us.
The Swans may have snapped the Eagles’ 18-match winning streak at Patersons stadium, but fans are mindful of not getting too carried away because it’s true West Coast was missing a huge number of players. Shuey, Waters, Lynch, Hams, and Hill were absent in addition to long-term injury casualties Lecras, Kennedy, and Nicoski.
“I’m just really pleased with the style of footy we are playing and that’s what we have got to try to keep doing,” he said. “The challenge ahead of us is to keep playing that strong contested ball, two-way footy and try and keep that going for as long as we can. That’s all we worry about. That other stuff we don’t worry about at this point in time.”
The red-and-whites are already gearing up for the highly anticipated match against St Kilda next Sunday. The Saints were the last team to inflict defeat upon the Swans, back in Round 9, and Longmire’s men are out for revenge.
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