THE SYDNEY SWANS stormed to the top of the Eastern Conference ladder with an emphatic 41-point victory over Queanbeyan at Dairy Farmers Park yesterday.
The Swans jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter and were never headed, and despite a late game fightback by the home side, the Swans ran out convincing winners 20.17-137 to Queanbeyan 14.12-96.
With a host of AFL-listed talent on display, it was the Swans who got the jump on the injury-hit Tigers, piling on seven goals to one in a dominant first-quarter display.
The ball movement was crisp, and the big men were masterful with Jesse White and Mark Seaby doing as they pleased in the centre of the ground. Mitch Morton up forward opportunistically pounced on anything that came his way, kicking three goals in the first quarter.
The Tigers were sloppy, unable to hit the easiest of targets and missed simple tackles.
Morton, who ended the game with eight goals, spoke of the importance of forcing the Tigers into making uncharacteristic turnovers.
''We knew we had to shut them down with our pressure and we knew after that the goals would come,'' Morton said.
The game looked to be headed towards a 100-point margin when the Swans kicked the first three goals to open the quarter to make the margin 60 points, but it was a hard-fought, clean-skilled possession movement by the Tigers culminating in a James Kavanagh goal at the 15-minute mark that seemed to breathe life into the contest.
Kavanagh was the man spearheading his team's revival, kicking three goals in the second quarter, and along with Jarrod Atkinson kept the Tigers in the match in the first half.
The third quarter saw the Tigers dictate most of the play through the centre of the ground, but they just could not execute their skills well enough to have a impact on the scoreboard.
Yet the Tigers were able to rein the Swans back in to a 29-point margin at the last change, and with the first three goals of the final term drawing them within 12 points, it seemed momentum would carry them to a famous victory.
However, it was Morton who again popped up for the Swans, with the enigmatic forward kicking a wonderful snap after evading three tacklers and a huge pack mark just minutes later to snuff out any potential comeback.
Queabeyan coach Kade Klemke was left to lament his side's poor start.
''Our first quarter just wasn't up to standard and it really hurt us … if you take the first quarter away it was an even game.''
AT A GLANCE
TIGERS 1.3 6.4 11.9 15.14 (75)
SWANS 7.7 12.10 15.14 20.17 (137)
Goals: Queanbeyan: J. Kavanagh 6, S. Jolliffe 3, K. Stevens 3, R. Quade , P. Franchi. Sydney: M. Morton 8, J. White 2, H. Cunningham 2, D. Lycakis , D. Mcneil , A. Wynn, S. Biggs , B. Jack, D. Cullen , T. Walsh, J. Potter