Sports

Melbourne Demons humbled again as young Sydney Swans shock reigning premier

Goodwin said it was too early to talk about dumping the out-of-form forward. Sam Weideman was dropped this week and overlooked for Mitch Brown as McDonald’s replacement. Mitch Brown was also ineffective.

Such are their woes in attack, their most potent marking option was ruckman Max Gawn, who starred with three goals, 28 possessions and 29 hitouts in a best-on-ground performance.

“Ben is not at his best at the moment, but he’s a very good player and he hits the scoreboard,” Goodwin said. “So our challenge as a coaching group, first and foremost, is to get him back into some really good form.

“There’s no doubt it’s competitive for spots with our key forwards at the moment and they’ll all be assessed as they go.”

The idea that Steve May is the Demons’ most important player is gaining more traction after the Demons buckled under the Swans’ fierce pressure.

Sam Reid and Logan McDonald each kicked three goals against a defense which is lacking its usual assuredness without May calling the shots.

One loss can be dismissed as an aberration, but two in a row warrants deeper analysis. Twice, the Dees built what should have been a match-winning break only for the hungry Swans to come back.

Clayton Oliver, Christian Petracca and Gawn all had productive nights but the Dees’ forward line was impotent.

Logan McDonald kicked three goals in the Swans’ win.Credit:AFL Photos/Getty Images

On a chilly winter’s night, the 74-53 tackle count spoke volumes of the heat John Longmire’s men brought.

If there was a play which summed up the night, it came in the second quarter when Gawn lost the ball amid the chaos at half-back, paving the way for Chad Warner to storm up the guts and kick long to Papley, who converted on the run in a vacant forward 50.

The Swans slammed four of their run of five goals in the second quarter while – but not because – Harry Petty was off the field having what appeared to be a shoulder injury assessed.

It was during this period that they gained ascendancy at the contest and lifted their tackling pressure.

Reid was influential in Franklin’s absence, kicking three goals and impressing with his high marking against Adam Tomlinson, who is yet to adjust to the pace of the game after a year out.

The gusto in which the Swans celebrated on the field and sung the song was indicative of the significance of the win, which puts them two games inside the eight.

“It was a beauty,” Longmire said.

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BOWEY FLINT HARD

There’s not much to Jake Bowey but do not judge a book by its cover. He is tough as teak! The Demons defender, who famously won his first 17 games, fought well above his weight division in taking on Tom McCartin for a ground ball. Giving up 25kg to the Swan, Bowey went low and hard into McCartin to halve the contest and keep play locked in his team’s front half. Full credit as well to McCartin, who was equally committed to the ball. The two clashed heavily but with strong technique neither left themselves open to head-high contact.

QUALITY OVER QUANTITY

Kysaiah Pickett is one of those players who can make a big impact without big numbers. He showed that in the first term with one of the better two-possession quarters you’ll see. He was the architect of two goals, the first of which came after he spun out of heavy traffic with twinkle-toe footwork to set up Luke Jackson. He did not get a stat for his second play when he had the presence of mind to keep a boundary-bound ball in play, allowing Gawn to snap truly.

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