Sydney celebrates a Joel Amartey goal against Hawthorn in round two, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

A RED-HOT Sydney has outclassed Hawthorn to secure a commanding 81-point triumph as a pair of emerging key forwards made the most of being the focal points in attack.

The Swans were too powerful and polished for the young Hawks and all but cruised to their 17.16 (118) to 4.13 (37) victory as Logan McDonald and Joel Amartey enjoyed breakout performances at the SCG on Sunday.

SWANS v HAWKS Full match coverage and stats

The highly-touted McDonald has been earmarked as Lance Franklin’s successor since being taken with the No.4 pick at the 2020 draft, and made the most of his star teammate's absence due to suspension to finish with a career-high five goals.

The talented 20-year-old was able to hit the scoreboard in a variety of ways while having as much impact roaming outside the forward 50.


Amartey lit up the first half in just his 14th AFL match after coming in for Franklin, and had a career-high four goals to half-time that could have been more if not for a couple of easy misses.

The 23-year-old was quieter in the third term in his return from being sidelined with hamstring issues, and was substituted out at the last break.

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"(McDonald) moves well, we know he's a good player, works on his craft really well. He's humble, he's a beauty, and he got reward on the scoreboard,” Swans coach John Longmire said.

"(Amartey) missed a bit of preseason and wasn't able to work on some of his craft that he'd like to do, but he's got back in pretty good nick.


"His hands in those marking situations were strong. He was able to provide a real forward presence for us.”

Small forward Tom Papley was typically busy and finished with two majors, while also taking an early mark of the year contender when sitting on teammate Chad Warner's shoulders to pull down a soaring grab.

Co-captains Callum Mills (28 disposals, two goals) and Luke Parker (27, 1) controlled the midfield, while Errol Gulden (28) and Oli Florent (25) stood out with their pace and clever kicking.


The Hawks battled hard around the stoppages and more than matched the Swans at clearances, winning those 35-27, but the hosts proved to be far more organised with ball in hand.


Will Day again impressed in a more central role for the Hawks with 26 touches and seven clearances, while revitalised onballer James Worpel (22, 6) took charge at the coalface and Dylan Moore (23) was a threat in attack and around the ball.

Skipper James Sicily was a rock in defence on a difficult day for the Hawks with 25 disposals, while the visitors can take something from notching the last two goals.


"We've got some challenges," Hawks coach Sam Mitchell said.

"They took six contested marks in their forward 50 in the first half. That makes it tough when they're just bombing it in there, and Amartey caused us a lot of trouble early in the game and McDonald later on.

"We just weren't able to stop their aerial presence and then at the other end we really couldn't score."

The Swans are likely to face a tougher test when they meet Melbourne at the MCG on Sunday, while the Hawks can chase a breakthrough victory against North Melbourne in Launceston on Saturday.


What Grand Final hangover?
A lot of the talk heading into 2023 was around a potential Grand Final hangover for the Swans after they were belted by 81 points by Geelong in September's decider. But Sydney has moved on, improving to 2-0 and silencing all that talk. The Swans were the 11th team since 2000 to suffer a Grand Final loss by 40-plus points, but they are just the second to start the next season 2-0. The other was Sydney in 2015.

Papley flies high over two
He grew into the game in a big win and Tom Papley flew high for a tremendous mark early in the last quarter. The small forward climbed over teammate Chad Warner and Hawthorn's Finn Maginness for a hanger. Unfortunately, his finish didn't quite match the mark.


Hawk continues to grow
It has been a difficult start to 2023 for Hawthorn, but the form of Will Day would be pleasing. There are more midfield opportunities at the Hawks following the departures of Tom Mitchell and Jaeger O'Meara at the end of last year and Day has stepped up. He had 26 disposals, a game-high seven clearances and 11 contested possessions and looked the best of the Hawks on a rough day.


SYDNEY                4.6      8.7      13.11      17.16 (118)
HAWTHORN          1.5      2.7       2.9         4.13 (37)

Sydney: McDonald 5, Amartey 4, Papley 2, Mills 2, Heeney 2, Parker, Hayward
Worpel, Moore, Meek, Breust

Sydney: Amartey, Mills, McDonald, Gulden, Parker, Florent
Day, Moore, Worpel, Newcombe

Sydney: Nil

Sydney: Matt Roberts (replaced Joel Amartey at three-quarter time)
Sam Butler (replaced Ned Reeves in third quarter)

Crowd: 37,052 at the SCG