Tom Papley celebrates a goal during the R5 clash between Sydney and Richmond at Adelaide Oval on April 14, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

EVERY time Richmond came at Sydney, there he was again. Every time Sydney needed him, up he popped. Even when the game was done, he wasn't. 

Last week Sydney celebrated seconds too early. On Friday night, Tom Papley spent most of the second half celebrating. 

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Papley was instrumental in the Swans' 44-point win over the Tigers, kicking a new career-best six goals from 25 disposals in a dynamic, best afield showing through the forward line and midfield. 


His goals – all scored in the second half – were pivotal in the 18.14 (122) to 11.12 (78) win at Adelaide Oval, as the Swans left Gather Round breaking a two-game losing streak and the Tigers officially getting 'Papped'. 

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It leaves Richmond's season in a desperate spot with just one win from the opening five rounds and an extensive injury list with the likes of Tom Lynch, Toby Nankervis and Jack Graham missing.


Sydney, too, was without a number of its first-choice stars against the Tigers, with its defence decimated by injuries to Dane Rampe (neck) and Paddy and Tom McCartin (respective concussions). 

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But the performance of Nick Blakey in the back half was pivotal, with the versatile Blakey answering the call and collecting 29 disposals, in front of a crowd of 42,134 fans. 


The night started off with Sydney's tall threats proving trouble for the Tigers, with Logan McDonald and Joel Amartey working in tandem in attack. In the absence of Lance Franklin (knee), Amartey booted two goals for the opening quarter and was the focal point of Sydney's forward half.

Sydney jumped to a 21-point break, capitalising on their clearance and inside-50 advantage, before some Noah Cumberland spark helped the Tigers get back to within 14 points at quarter-time.

But the game had a twist in the second term when Amartey limped from the field clutching at his hamstring and was substituted out of the game. 


Already stretched for height with the McCartins sidelined with concussions, the Swans had to make their adjustments on the run. McDonald hit the scoreboard himself, before Corey Warner and Justin McInerney slotted majors to help steer the Swans to a 21-point lead at half-time.

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An early goal in the third term stretched Sydney's lead to 28 points, but Richmond's response was significant. The Tigers kicked seven of the next nine goals of the 36-minute quarter, with Jack Riewoldt's pack mark and conversion getting them to within seven points at the final change. 


It was a mix of the young and old in Richmond's run, with Cumberland, Samson Ryan and Judson Clarke all hitting the scoreboard, while steady hand Liam Baker also floated forward to show his class. 

But Richmond's dash had been made, with the Tigers managing just another goal for the game as Papley's four in the final quarter produced the knockout blow.   

Papley's primetime moments
It was another night of highlights for Tom Papley, the Swans' energiser who is one of the competition's best gamebreakers. His third quarter was particularly devastating, with his first goal a classic front-and-centre crumb and the second even better as Richmond was making its charge. Papley kicked from outside the 50-metre arc, saw it sail through and then made a 30-metre celebration run. Papley's capacity to impact the game in the middle, set up others and finish his own work made him a threat all night, with his four-goal final quarter seeing him go home with the best haul of his electric 146-game career.  

Tom Papley celebrates a goal during the R5 clash between Sydney and Richmond at Adelaide Oval on April 14, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Another one joins the club
The 'first kick, first goal' WhatsApp group administrator added a new number on Friday night after Corey Warner snagged a goal in the second quarter on debut for the Swans. After a brilliant piece of play from Papley, who twisted and turned and spotted Warner free inside 50, the left-footer coolly went back and kicked the important goal for Sydney. All the Swans players on the field swamped Warner however his older brother, gun midfielder Chad, was stuck on the bench for the memorable moment. 


Jack's bloody start
It was a nasty start to the contest for Richmond veteran Jack Riewoldt, who returned to the senior side after being managed last week. Riewoldt suffered a bad cut to the head in the opening stages of the game that saw him leave the field with a rare amount of bloody streaming down his face. Fortunately, the accidental clash was quickly fixed up with a headband and Riewoldt swiftly returned. Riewoldt was influential, too, having the best game of his season with four goals and plenty of strong contests in attack. 


RICHMOND          2.2    3.8    10.9   11.12 (78)
SYDNEY               4.4    7.5    11.10   18.14 (122) 

 Riewoldt 4, Cumberland 2, Ryan, Pickett, Mansell, Clarke, Baker
Sydney: Papley 6, Heeney 2, Amartey 2, Campbell, Corey Warner, Chad Warner, Rowbottom, Stephens, Mills, McInerney, McDonald

 Baker, Riewoldt, Hopper, Prestia, Taranto
Sydney: Papley, Blakey, Warner, Lloyd, Gulden, Heeney 

Sydney: Amartey (hamstring) 

 Maurice Rioli (replaced Trent Cotchin in the third quarter)
Sydney: Will Gould (replaced Joel Amartey in the second quarter)

Crowd: 42,134 at Adelaide Oval