GEELONG has made a significant statement at the SCG, knocking off the Sydney Swans by 21 points to remain undefeated this season and send a warning to the rest of the competition.
With skipper Joel Selwood at his brilliant best, the Cats put their foot down after half-time en route to an eye-catching 19.10 (124) to 16.7 (103) win over the reigning premiers.
Five talking points: Sydney Swans v Geelong
Just as the Swans had done to North Melbourne last week, it was a third-quarter blitz that gave Geelong its match-winning lead in front of 31,060 fans.
With Tom Hawkins dominant up front and Selwood and Steve Johnson pulling the strings, seven goals to one in the third term gave the Cats a 31-point lead at the last change.
"Outstanding" Selwood turns the tide
Selwood filled the stat line with 30 possessions, nine tackles, seven clearances, seven inside 50s and a goal, while Hawkins and Steven Motlop kicked three goals each for Geelong.
Click here to vote for the three best Geelong players from this game
It was an uncharacteristically flat display from the Swans, who lacked their usual defensive intensity and were guilty of some poor discipline.
Dan Hannebery (29 disposals, two goals) was the home side's best despite battling a leg problem and Nick Malceski battled hard, but a number of their stars were well beaten.
Josh Kennedy had just 16 touches to three quarter-time and 23 for the game, with fellow midfielders Ryan O'Keefe, Kieren Jack and Luke Parker also unable to have their usual influence.
Click here to vote for the three best Sydney Swans players from this game
They also have some injury concerns, with versatile big man Lewis Roberts-Thomson substituted in the second quarter with a right knee injury.
The game started at a frenetic pace, featuring some of the most breathtaking football sighted anywhere in the country this season.
Two sides that usually relish a fierce, contested style found acres of space on the confines of SCG, leading to a stunning 15-goal first quarter.
Jude Bolton's second goal late in the term gave the home side a five-point quarter-time edge.
"I think I picked the wrong style of game," David Parkin said on ABC Radio after his prediction of a hard-fought, lock-down evening.
"What happened to Swans footy? This is amazing to watch," added former Swans defender Craig Bolton.
The first quarter was a concern to Cats coach Chris Scott, but he was ultimately full of praise for their performance.
"Against high quality opposition, especially the way they scored in the first quarter, the signs were looking a little bit ominous," he said.
"Fortunately, we were able to score as well and when the game got a bit tighter, I thought our guys in close were really influential."
Swans counterpart John Longmire also had alarm bells ringing in that first term.
Numbers don't lie for Swans
"It was an eight-goals-to-seven first quarter, which wasn't something that I was enjoying too much," he said.
"I think we had 12 tackles in the first quarter and ended up with 47 tackles for the game.
"That's not how we should be playing our footy."
It was a pace that was never likely to be maintained, and the contest duly slowed down in the second quarter.
With both teams lifting their intensity, no doubt after some none-too-subtle reminders by the respective coaches, it was suddenly a very different style of game.
Two early goals to the Swans gave them a 19-point lead as they tried to break the game open, but the Cats were able to answer, kicking two goals of their own as the five-point margin remained at half-time.
From that point it was all Geelong as they inflicted the first defeat of the season on the Swans.
James Dampney is a reporter for AFL.com.au. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_JD
GEELONG 7.2 9.4 16.7 19.10 (124)
SYDNEY SWANS 8.1 10.3 11.3 16.7 (103)
Motlop 3, Hawkins 3, Taylor 2, Chapman 2, Stokes 2, Horlin-Smith, Podsiadly, Smedts, Johnson, Selwood, T. Hunt, Christensen
McVeigh 3, Goodes 2, Bolton 2, Hannebery 2, Malceski 2, Reid, Roberts-Thomson, Pyke, McGlynn, Kennedy
Selwood, Taylor, Hawkins, Motlop, Corey, T. Hunt
Hannebery, Bolton, Pyke, O'Keefe, Malceski, Goodes
Roberts-Thomson (right knee)
Billie Smedts replaced by Josh Caddy at three-quarter time
Lewis Roberts-Thomson (right knee) replaced by Mitch Morton in the second quarter
Donlon, Stevic, Stewart
31,060 at the SCG