RAMPANT Sydney has thrust itself into an already congested premiership race with an impressive 19-point upset victory over the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The 11.13 (79) to 8.12 (60) triumph was the Swans' second in succession and 10th for the season and moves them just one win away from a valuable top-four position.
DOGS v SWANS Full match coverage and stats
It was the Swans' swift ball movement and precise accuracy by foot that helped them overpower their more fancied opponents, with the Dogs unable to make their 52-47 inside 50 advantage and lopsided 46-26 edge in clearances count as they missed the chance to regain top spot on the ladder.
While Jake Lloyd (33 disposals) and Callum Mills (31) led the way for the winners, the Swans had 22 solid contributors and will be buoyed by the fact that sharp-shooters Lance Franklin and Tom Papley managed just one goal between them.
Instead it was left to Jordan Dawson (three goals) and Will Hayward (two) to fill the void as the Swans issued a legitimate warning to the rest of the competition that they are a force to be reckoned with.
The Dogs badly missed the strong marking of Aaron Naughton up forward and the experience of Stefan Martin in the ruck, with youngster Jamarra Ugle-Hagan held goalless in a debut that he would rather forget.
Reliable defender Caleb Daniel (30 disposals), young midfielder Bailey Smith (27) and Brownlow fancy Marcus Bontempelli (27) all tried hard, while the ever-consistent Jack Macrae had his colours lowered as he finished with 25 touches.
ONE DAY AT A TIME Swans thinking of NSW, Jamarra no lock for game No.2
Smith gave the Dogs the perfect start with a goal from outside 50m within the opening 18 seconds, but Dawson replied with two majors of his own as the Swans opened up a narrow six-point advantage at the first break.
Franklin - who didn't touch the ball in the opening term - had a goal disallowed on review midway through the second quarter and was being well held by Alex Keath, yet it was the visitors holding sway by 11 points at half-time.
Isaac Heeney (17 touches and a goal) snapped a beauty to get the Swans rolling in the third and, when Luke Parker (27 disposals and a goal) pounced on a loose ball to kick truly late in the term, the margin was 20 at the final break.
Swingman Lewis Young kicked truly from a fortuitous free kick early in the final term to give the Dogs hope and they could have drawn even closer had Jason Johannisen done the same moments later on the run from just 30 metres.
But Hayward marked strongly and converted his second goal with ease to help steady the Swans and Franklin added his first late in proceedings to put the icing on a super impressive performance and put the final nail in the Dogs' coffin.
O Jamarra, Where Art Thou?
It was a mixed bag on debut for No.1 draft pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan with the Dogs' key forward held goalless and managing just seven disposals and one mark in his first AFL outing. The 19-year-old did some nice things and appeared to get to the right spots on many occasions, yet failed to pull down the big mark or boot the eye-catching goal that would have filled many a highlight reel.
The Amartey Party rolls on
Sydney cult hero Joel Amartey often makes the difficult look simple and his volleyed goal off the ground late in the second term was no different. The usually reliable Taylor Duryea misfired a short kick across defence and Amartey was on hand to volley home a spectacular effort that would have looked more at home during the current European Championships in England. While the goal was superb, the follow up from Amartey's ever-growing cheer squad was just as good as they chanted ole-ole-ole-ole in strong approval of their favourite player.
Bont Brownlow watch
The Brownlow favourite certainly did some good things and was still among his side's better players, but it is unlikely that 'The Bont' will poll in this clash. Bontempelli finished with 27 touches and five clearances, but he went head-to-head with star midfielder Callum Mills for much of the contest and the much-improved Swan certainly took the honours in that battle.
WESTERN BULLDOGS 3.2 5.5 6.6 8.12 (60)
SYDNEY 4.2 7.4 9.8 11.13 (79)
Western Bulldogs: Bruce, Daniel, Richards, Scott, Smith, Wallis, Young, English
Sydney: Dawson 3, Hayward 2, Amartey, Bell, Florent, Heeney, Parker, Franklin
Western Bulldogs: Keath, Daniel, Smith, Bontempelli, Duryea, Dale
Sydney: Mills, Dawson, Rampe, Parker, Lloyd, Heeney
Western Bulldogs: Nil
Western Bulldogs: McNeil (unused)
Sydney: O'Riordan (unused)
Crowd: 24,817 at Marvel Stadium