SYDNEY has ended North Melbourne's red-hot start to the season, downing the previously undefeated Kangaroos by 11 points at Marvel Stadium.
KANGAROOS v SWANS Full match coverage and stats
The 10.11 (71) to 8.12 (60) win is the Swans' sixth from their past seven games against North Melbourne.
Swans star Isaac Heeney (18 disposals, one goal) was a handful all day for the North defence while Josh Kennedy (22 disposals, six clearances) and Luke Parker (19 disposals, five clearances) were important in the midfield.
Jy Simpkin (26 disposals, eight clearances, one goal) continued his exceptional start to 2020 with another brilliant display in the midfield in the absence of Ben Cunnington (back), while Todd Goldstein (18 disposals, 35 hitouts, nine clearances) was prolific but made some uncharacteristic errors early in the game.
North started brightly with two goals in the first five minutes, both through Ben Brown, but the Swans wrested back control and asserted their dominance, booting seven of the next eight goals to give the Swans a 27-point lead at the final change.
The Kangas rallied midway through the final term to boot three goals in six minutes, starting with Brown's third, but the Swans held firm to seal the victory.
Sydney's celebrations were soured by concern for forward Tom McCartin, who failed to play out the game after hitting his head on the turf in a marking contest during the final quarter.
Many hands make light work for Buddy-free Swans
Sydney's forward line looks to be hitting its straps in the absence of its superstar, Lance Franklin. All eyes were on Isaac Heeney to become the focal point of the Swans' attack and while he hasn't disappointed, the increased contribution of his lesser-heralded teammates has been just as notable. Along with Heeney, Tom Papley sparked the Swans' five-goal run in the first half while mid-sized forward Will Hayward and the long-kicking Jordan Dawson stretched the North defence. Nick Blakey's height and mobility gave Robbie Tarrant trouble at times, while Lewis Taylor's speed at ground level complements Papley's zip and aggression. There might be no Buddy, but when the Swans are on song, they're mighty difficult to stop.
Simpkin's simple brilliance
North's lack of so-called superstars has long been a talking point and the Roos' ultimately unsuccessful pursuit of big names Andrew Gaff, Jordan De Goey and Dustin Martin has fuelled the talk in recent seasons. That conversation could be irrelevant sooner than expected if Jy Simpkin's astonishing rise to the League's upper echelon continues. After a standout performance in the stunning win over GWS in round two, Simpkin was clearly the Roos' best against the Swans. In a brilliant all-round game, he won a game-high 26 touches to go with eight clearances and a goal that gave North the faintest sniff of hope late in the final quarter. The 22-year-old offers a combination of brute power at the clearances, canny decision-making on the outside and a keen eye for goal that makes him among the most damaging players in the game.
No worries for road warriors
The Swans' victory made it three wins from four games for teams that have travelled interstate since the season's restart in round two. North and Essendon both won in NSW after flying to Sydney for their matches last Saturday, while the Giants weren't as successful against the Western Bulldogs after catching a plane to Melbourne on Friday, just hours before their game. The Swans had the best part of 24 hours in Melbourne ahead of their clash against the Kangaroos but the extra time didn't affect them. It's only a small sample size, but the new-look travel protocols for hit-and-run matches doesn't seem to be affecting the teams hitting the road.
NORTH MELBOURNE 2.3 3.9 5.11 8.12 (60)
SYDNEY 2.1 5.3 10.8 10.11 (71)
North Melbourne: Brown 3, Zurhaar, Ahern, Hall, Dumont, Simpkin
Sydney: Papley 2, McLean, Hayward, Dawson, Blakey, Heeney, Rowbottom, Taylor, Parker
North Melbourne: Simpkin, Goldstein, Tarrant, Hall,
Sydney: Heeney, Kennedy, Parker, Florent, Lloyd
North Melbourne: Ben Cunnington (back) replaced in selected side by Aiden Bonar
Sydney: McCartin (concussion), Justin McInerney replaced in selected side by Hayden McLean