SYDNEY 2.1 5.7 11.10 13.14 (92) FREMANTLE 2.2 2.4 8.6 11.9 (75)
GOALS Sydney: Franklin 4, McGlynn 2, Jack, Kennedy, McVeigh, Jetta, Parker, Roberts-Thomson, Malceski. Fremantle: Pavlich 4, Ballantyne 2, Johnson 2, Mundy, De Boer, Mzungu.
BEST Sydney: Kennedy, Rampe, Hannebery, Franklin, Shaw, Bird. Fremantle: Sandilands, Mundy, Fyfe, Pavlich, Neale, Pearce.
UMPIRES Dalgleish, Mollison, Mitchell.
CROWD 25,376 at SCG.
The Swans were challenged by coach John Longmire this week to "put the overalls on" and they responded with a blue-collar performance to beat Fremantle by 17 points at the SCG on Saturday night.
It was hardly elegant, particularly in the first half, as Sydney willed its way out of an alarming early season slump, headed by four second-half goals to Lance Franklin and season-best performances from Rhyce Shaw and Dane Rampe.
Sydney had led by as much as 35 points in the third term but the Dockers got back to within 15 in the final term, as Matthew Pavlich, in his 150th as Fremantle captain, kicked his fourth goal.
Fremantle looked more polished early and held a one point advantage at the first quarter. But what the Swans lacked in execution they compensated for with effort, producing a three-goals-to-nil second quarter for a half-time lead of 5.7.37 to 2.4.16.
Franklin's first goal in a fortnight put the Swans out by 27 early in the third quarter and the $10 million man added another two further for the term helped them to a 35-point break before the Dockers struck back late in the term with two goals to Pavlich to leave the gap at 22 points at the last change.
The Dockers' potency was evident to the last and they won the final term. But the Swans, with 34 extra tackles for the match, earned this win the hard way.
Longmire had rung in the changes, bringing in Craig Bird for Ryan O'Keefe, Brandon Jack to provide pace and debutant midfielder Jake Lloyd, as substitute, for the injured Tom Mitchell.
The Dockers, coming off a 53-point win over Essendon, gained Chris Mayne back from injury and Nat Fyfe from suspension.
They met a host whose first term zeal was written in their defence, which restricted Fremantle to Pavlich's second-minute goal and Hayden Ballantyne's individual effort nearing quarter time. The Swans' execution, however, remained off. Bronx cheers greeted Franklin's first possession midway through the term, only for him to make an ineffective disposal, closely followed by another moments later and a third nearing the break. Their toil was rewarded, however, with goals to Nick Malceski and Ben McGlynn.
The Swans stuck to what was working and emerged from the second term ahead by 21. It began awfully when Franklin hit the post from 20 metres after creating an unchallenged shot for himself. But the machine got moving when Franklin atoned, passing from the pocket for Josh Kennedy to mark and goal and put Sydney ahead for the first time. It was a turning point and Sydney stepped up the tempo, ticking over the tackle and contested possession counts leading to goals for Jarrad McVeigh and Lewis Roberts-Thomson, to create a nice buffer at the big break.
It got nicer for the Swans in the third as their consistency grew, skill errors reduced and effort was maintained. Franklin unleashed with three, adding to goals to McGlynn, Luke Parker and a great solo effort by Brandon Jack.
However, Freo would not be shaken and made it six goals each, including a pair to Tendai Mzungu and David Mundy in a 30-second burst, two goals to Michael Johnson and two from Pavlich.