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Sydney underlines flag favouritism with victory over West Coast

SYDNEY 3.4 5.12 7.14 10.19 (79) WEST COAST 2.2 4.5 6.7 7.9 (51)
Goals: Sydney: A Goodes 3 B McGlynn 2 L Parker 2 D Rampe L Franklin S Reid. West Coast: J Kennedy 2 J Cripps J Darling L Shuey M Priddis S Lycett.
BEST Sydney: L Parker, B McGlynn, J Kennedy, C Bird, L Jetta, T Richards. West Coast: M Priddis, L Shuey, A Gaff, E Mackenzie, M Rosa, S Lycett.
Injuries: Sydney: B Jack (concussion) K Tippett (knee soreness, replaced in selected side G Rohan). West Coast: M Rosa (shoulder).
Umpires: Ray Chamberlain, Luke Farmer, Robert O'Gorman.
Official Crowd: 25,076 at Patersons Stadium.

Premiership favourite Sydney climbed to the top of the AFL ladder for the first time this season on the back of its 28-point win over West Coast on Sunday.

On a weekend when some other premiership fancies fell, the Swans showed, with a 10.19 (79) to 7.9 (51) victory, that missing personnel is not a hurdle to winning.

Key forward Kurt Tippett was a late withdrawal for the wet-weather contest due to knee soreness, despite having trained in Perth on Saturday.

The Swans still managed 10 goals, even though Lance Franklin was held (often literally) by Eric Mackenzie. Buddy kicked just one goal.

The Swans also lost Zak Jones with concussion in the opening term.


The incident that forced him from the ground could cause further headaches for the 11th placed Eagles though, as Josh Kennedy looks likely to face the match review panel.

While the Brownlow Medal market may have opened up this weekend with an injury to Gold Coast champion Gary Ablett, the Coleman Medal race may also have lost a contender.

Kennedy chose to bump Jones, caught him high and then saw him subbed out of the contest with a head injury. That doesn’t look good for the Eagle, whose two goals on Sunday took his tally for the season to 37 – 11 behind Port Adelaide’s Jay Shultz.

Sydney should have been more than 13 points in front at half-time if it had better converted its chances in front of goal.

The Swans added 2.8 for the term, Ben McGlynn kicking three behinds for the quarter, with another of his shots on goal forced through by the Eagles defenders.

The Eagles then wasted a couple of chances to draw closer at the start of the third term and when Adam Goodes kicked the first goal of the second half (the second of his three) 12 minutes into the quarter, the Swans were 18 points up.

Instead of sparking Sydney, the man who has now played more AFL games than any other indigenous player (341), set the Eagles alight and they controlled the rest of the term.

Goals from Scott Lycett and Luke Shuey in less than a minute saw the margin back to just six points.

It was McGlynn who finally scored late in the term to take some of the pressure off the Swans.

While the margin was 13 points at three-quarter-time, the game was over 10 minutes into the final term when McGlynn walked into the goals for his second. It followed majors at the start of the quarter from Luke Parker, who had provided most of the run for the Swans in the first three terms, and Goodes, to take the margin to 32 points.

The fortunes of these teams could not have been more different since they played in consecutive grand finals in 2005 and 2006.

The Eagles won both contests between the sides in 2007, but hasn’t managed one against the Swans since.

Sunday’s victory was Sydney’s eighth in a row against West Coast and five of those have been earned at Patersons Stadium.

The victory also took the Swans 2014 winning streak to 11 games, with the last defeat being in round four against North Melbourne.

A win over Carlton at the SCG on Saturday will see the Swans equal their best run – 12 wins – which they have managed thrice, but not since the days of South Melbourne from rounds two and 13 in 1935. They finished that season on top of the ladder, but lost the grand final to Collingwood by 20 points.

However, in the other two seasons they managed 12 wins – 1918 and 1933 – they were premiers.

Sydney should see Tippett return for the clash against the Blues and also have Rhys Shaw and Dan Hannebery back in the next few weeks from ankle injuries.