Highlights: Giants v Swans
GWS and the Sydney Swans meet for their third Battle of the Bridge
GREATER Western Sydney gave a glimpse of an ominous future, but the Sydney Swans still rule the Harbour City following a 30-point victory over their noisy neighbours to begin their AFL premiership defence.
The Giants have already taken a decent step forward and will take heart from their display, yet the Swans' extra polish and experience proved telling in their 16.10 (106) to 11.10 (76) triumph in front of 23,690 fans at ANZ Stadium.
Billed as the 'Battle of the Bridge', the Giants have bridged the gap on their cross-town rivals, but the Swans held sway for most of the evening and always seemed likely to bank the four points.
The usual suspects of Josh Kennedy, Kieren Jack (three goals) and Ryan O'Keefe were terrific for the Swans, with Jack taking out the Brett Kirk Medal for best afield.
Shane Mumford dominated in the ruck and up forward, with Adam Goodes, Jude Bolton, Mike Pyke, Sam Reid and Ben McGlynn all kicking two goals.
Adam Treloar, Dylan Shiel and Steve Coniglio performed well in the GWS midfield, with Callan Ward and Tom Scully showing strong leadership and tackling pressure.
Jonathon Patton kicked three goals for the Giants and had an entertaining duel with Heath Grundy and top GWS draft picks Lachie Whitfield and Lachie Plowman settled well after nervous starts.
The Swans will certainly improve as the season progresses, but coach John Longmire was more than content with their start to the new campaign.
"First game of the season you want to make sure you get off to a good start and I thought that's what we did," he said.
"We had a 30-point win. I'll take that every day of the week.
"I think we can improve all aspects of our game, (but) we got some positives out of tonight."
The Swans, who sat back and listened to confident mutterings from the Giants' camp about taking it right up to their opponents, kicked four goals to zero in a one-sided opening quarter.
There was some real intent from the Swans as they asserted their stronger, more mature bodies on the contest.
It was a different story up the other end, with neither GWS key forward Patton or Jeremy Cameron touching the ball in the first quarter.
But the opening 15 minutes of the second quarter will be a discussion point throughout the week and be used as a portent of things to come as the Giants dominated possession and kicked five straight goals.
Patton kicked two, including one from well outside 50m, and their run was capped by a piece of individual brilliance from Devon Smith as the upstarts found themselves in front.
"We could've gone a bit longer, but it let people know we're a lot better football team than we were last year," coach Kevin Sheedy said of their second-quarter surge.
"This year we were always going to be more attacking and it gives us a look at our players' talent."
A contentious Jude Bolton free kick and goal halted the Giants' momentum and the Swans closed the term with five goals and a 27-point lead, but GWS demonstrated just how dangerous it will soon become.
Having lost by 63 and 94 points against the Swans last season, the Giants were still within four goals late in the fourth quarter in an admirable display, but the premiers were ultimately comfortable winners and still rule the roost.
First gamer Lachie Whitfield is hotly pursued by Sydney Swan Josh Kennedy. Picture: AFL Media
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 0.4 5.4 7.8 11.10 (76)
SYDNEY SWANS 4.5 9.7 12.9 16.10 (106)
Greater Western Sydney: Patton 3, Sumner 2, Treloar, Smith, Shiel,
Greene, Giles, Cameron
Sydney Swans: Jack 3, Reid, Pike, Bolton, Goodes, McGlynn 2, Mumford,
Greater Western Sydney: Shiel, Scully, Treloar, Coniglio, Ward Patton
Sydney Swans: Jack, Kennedy, McVeigh, Mumford, Bolton, Hannebery
Greater Western Sydney: Hoskin-Elliott (leg)
Sydney Swans: Rampe (leg)
Greater Western Sydney: Will Hoskin-Elliott replaced by Taylor Adams
at three-quarter time
Sydney Swans: Dane Rampe replaced by Tony Armstrong in the fourth quarter
Reports: Tom Scully (GWS) reported for tripping in the first quarter.
Umpires: Leppard, Fila, Chamberlain
Official crowd: 23,690 at ANZ Stadium
James Dampney is a reporter for AFL.com.au. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_JD