Whooping it up: Sam Reid enjoys booting a major against the Blues. Photo: Anthony Johnson
SYDNEY 2.4 6.6 16.10 18.14 (122) CARLTON 1.2 5.5 5.6 7.9 (51)
GOALS Sydney: Franklin 6, Reid 4, Goodes 2, Parker 2, Rohan, Lloyd, McVeigh, Malceski. Carlton: Henderson 2, Everitt, Johnson, McLean, White, Bell.
BEST Sydney: Franklin, Kennedy, Reid, McGlynn, Parker, Jack, McVeigh Carlton: Murphy, Gibbs, Simpson
UMPIRES Mollison, Rosebury, Harris.
At half time, Sydney were in the midst of a red-hot contest, their hopes of equalling a club record of 12 consecutive wins on the line, against a Carlton team taking the game up to the flag favourites.
The Blues were on, their spirits lifted further by Blaine Johnson's first goal in league footy on the half-time siren, which resulted in every single Blue mobbing the third-gamer.
Oops: Sydney forward Lance Franklin gets tangled with Carlton's Sam Rowe. Photo: Anthony Johnson
|View Match Statistics|
|Players||Franklin (6.2), Reid (4.0), Parker (2.2), Goodes (2.0), Rohan (1.2), Lloyd (1.0), Malceski (1.0), McVeigh (1.0), Kennedy (0.2), Bird (0.1), Jetta (0.1), McGlynn (0.1), Towers (0.1)||Scorers||Henderson (2.0), White (1.1), Bell (1.0), Everitt (1.0), Johnson (1.0), McLean (1.0), Casboult (0.1), Docherty (0.1), Judd (0.1), Thomas (0.1), Tuohy (0.1)|
But half an hour later the Swans, with another herculean performance by Lance Franklin, had slammed the door shut on the Blues and in doing so had sounded out an ominous warning to Hawthorn before the clash of the two heavyweights in a fortnight's time.
The Swans, victorious over the Blues by 71 points, have played some breathtaking football this year but they may have set a new benchmark on Saturday night.
In 35 minutes of near flawless football, the Swans piled on 10 goals, yes 10, to reaffirm their status as the team to beat for this year's flag.
Sydney Swans v Carlton Blues
Action from the Sydney Swans v Carlton Blues match held at the SCG on Saturday July 12, 2014. Photo: Anthony Johnson
Worryingly for their rivals, the Swans still have Kurt Tippett, Rhyce Shaw Dan Hannebery to return in the run into September.
Buddy was in the thick of things again, of course, this time with a bag of six, including five in the Swans' blistering third term.
Franklin had been quiet in the first half, held goalless and limited to only five possessions by Michael Jamison, but was unstoppable once the Swans clicked out of their slumber.
There was simply nothing Franklin could not do. If he was not banging them through from 60 out, he was jagging them on the run from the boundary line or killing the Blues in the air.
When he is on song it's almost as if his opposition are the Washington Generals, called in just so Franklin can do his thing.
As dominant as Franklin was, however, Sam Reid could have mounted a strong case to press the superstar for best-on-ground honours based on his first three quarters.
Whereas Franklin reigned when the Swans were on top, Reid shone when the contest was at its fiercest in the first half, kicking two vital goals to keep the Blues at bay.
Reid finished the night with four goals but, of equal importance, appears to have regained the sticky mits that make him such a powerful contested mark.
With Tippett likely to come back in a fortnight, Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson, missing Brian Lake and Josh Gibson, faces close to mission impossible to find the manpower to quell Sydney's star-studded forwards.
He will have no hope if the Swans midfield dominates in the manner they did in the third term against the hapless Blues, who managed just one behind.
Sometimes numbers do not paint the whole picture, in this case they did. The Swans won the possession count 110-57, were up 48-22 for contested possessions and 60-30 for the uncontested ball.
It translated to a lop-sided inside 50 count of 17-3 and turned a half-time lead of seven points to 70 by the last change.
Not surprisingly, the likes of Josh Kennedy, Luke Parker, Jarrad McVeigh and Kieren Jack held sway, aided by Mike Pyke, who turned in arguably his best game of the year.
The pyrotechnics of the second half were in marked contrast to the first two quarters when the Blues, led by Marc Murphy and Bryce Gibbs, provided stiff resistance.
The Blues matched the Swans in intensity and hung tough though what happened after half time provided a reality check for where the once mighty club sits.
Carlton's forward thrusts were rare, though they forced some uncharacteristic errors from Ted Richards and Heath Grundy but failed to make the Swans pay.
The Blues, not lacking in endeavour, were able to trap the ball in their forward 50 for long periods in the second term but for little reward, whereas the Swans were able to capitalise on Carlton's lapses in concentration.
For example, the Blues controlled much of the play in the first 15 minutes of the quarter but had just one goal, to Simon White, for their efforts. The Swans, through Reid, jagged two in a minute from their next two forward 50 entries, blowing the margin out to 19 points.
The Blues fought their way back into the game admirably but were to have no answer to what came after half-time.