Highlights: Sydney v Essendon
The Swans and Bombers clash in round 10
Adam Goodes celebrates one of his four inspirational goals against the Bombers
ADAM Goodes has managed to set aside a week from hell to lead the Sydney Swans back into the top four with a 44-point win over Essendon at a rain-soaked SCG.
Racially vilified twice in the most tumultuous period of his glittering career, Goodes kicked four goals to shine in a wet night as the Swans claimed a well-deserved 17.13 (115) to 10.11 (71) victory in front of 29,792 fans.
Swans coach John Longmire, who had an emotional week himself trying to support the club champion, said
over the past nine days.
"Nothing much probably surprises me with Goodesy," Longmire said.
"There were times during the week when he was exhausted and … he was still pretty tired on Thursday and then he freshened up yesterday and felt really good today, which is a real credit to him."
Josh Kennedy, Jarrad McVeigh and Craig Bird were all influential, while Heath Grundy stood tall in defence and debutant Tom Mitchell excelled when he was subbed in for Tommy Walsh.
Walsh sustained a nasty looking leg injury in the second term, while Essendon's Courtney Dempsey was taken from the field on a stretcher after Nick Smith crashed into his back.Click here to vote for the three best Sydney Swans players from this game
The Bombers were a step short for most of the evening, with Brent Stanton (36 possessions, seven clearances) their most damaging player and Stewart Crameri, Brendon Goddard and Jake Carlisle kicking two goals apiece.
"I thought we played well for patches of the game, we just couldn't probably go with Sydney for the whole game," Bombers coach James Hird said
"We had a lot of inside 50s, but the quality of our entries wasn't as good as the Swans.
"They are a terrific team."
The Swans, who are currently missing Lewis Roberts-Thomson, Rhyce Shaw, Alex Johnson, Sam Reid and Marty Mattner and can still boast seven wins and a draw from their opening 10 games.
Essendon meanwhile, has now lost three of its past four games to drop out of the top four for the first time this season.Click here to vote for the three best Essendon players from this game
After such a difficult period, every time Goodes became involved in the play it was met with thunderous applause by his adoring home crowd.
Held to just two touches in the first quarter, he set the SCG alight with some trademark moments of magic late in the second.
Firstly the 33-yer-old galloped more than 70 metres across the ground to corral Michael Hibberd – 10 years his junior – and bundle him over the boundary line.
Mitchell then sent the ball inside 50 for Goodes to outmark Carlisle and his set shot sailed through just before halftime to give the Swans a three-goal buffer at the main break.
While he seemed to put his troubles behind him when he took to the field, teammate Jarrad McVeigh made the admission after the game that Goodes' recent troubles will stay with him forever.
"We didn't talk as a group, but it was tough to see him go through that," McVeigh said.
"From here on in we'll all forget about it, but it'll still be with him, so we'll have to continue to support Goodesy throughout the rest of his career.
"We know we've got a long way to go to stamping this (racism) out, so Goodesy will always be thinking of it, so we'll always have to support him."
Nick Smith and Courtenay Dempsey collide at the SCG. Dempsey was stretchered from the ground as a result, halting play for more than five minutes. Picture: AFL Media
3.4 6.7 11.10 17.13 (115)
1.4 3.7 7.9 10.11 (71)
Goodes 4, Malceski 2, Parker, O'Keefe, Mumford, Mitchell, McGlynn, Kennedy, Jetta, Jack, Everitt, Bird, Pyke
Goddard, Crameri, Carlisle 2, Winderlich, Melksham, Hibberd, Bellchambers
Kennedy, Grundy, Goodes, Bird, McVeigh, Jack
Stanton, Goddard, Heppell, Zaharakis, Watson, Winderlich
Dempsey (chest, lungs), Gumbleton (ankle), Howlett (shoulder) replaced in the selected side by Hams
Tommy Walsh replaced by Tom Mitchell in the second quarter.
Scott Gumbleton replaced by William Hams at half time.
Donlon, Dalgleish, Rosebury
James Dampney is a reporter for AFL.com.au. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_JD