Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy after the Opening Round match between Melbourne and Sydney at the SCG on March 7, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

SYDNEY coach John Longmire has lauded ruck recruit Brodie Grundy as "enormous" for rising to the occasion with a starring role against his former side Melbourne at the SCG.

Grundy was unable to break into the Melbourne line-up with captain Max Gawn preferred ahead of him late last season after a much-debated move from Collingwood the previous summer.

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The 29-year-old played like he had a point to prove in his Swans debut with an influential performance that helped his new side run away to a 12.14 (86) to 9.10 (64) victory on Thursday night.

"His second half was huge," Longmire said.

"He just kept going, just kept ploughing through. His second and third efforts, his work around the footy was enormous.

"I just feel really pleased for him. He's got that one out of the way and now he can settle into his season now, and he's got another big one next week against the Pies."


Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin had no regrets about letting Grundy leave after only one season despite the ruck returning to haunt his former side.

Grundy was traded to the Demons ahead of the 2023 season after 177 matches in 10 years at the Magpies, but the one-two ruck partnership with Gawn failed to work as well as hoped.


The 202cm ruck had an immediate opportunity to respond against his former teammate and finished with more disposals (22-15), clearances (9-2) and marks (4-1) than Gawn.

"He played exceptionally well, clearly he's a very good player. We know that, we've had him in our environment," Goodwin said. 

"We know what he's capable of doing, and seeing him thrive in Sydney's a good thing for footy.

"So credit to Brodie, he was well prepared. He played well and executed well."


The Swans were able to overcome an injury-riddled midfield as they dominated the contested disposals 87-64 and beat the Demons at their own game in the second half.

The Demons' midfield was boosted by the return of Clayton Oliver as he played with the senior side for the first time since a disrupted pre-season.

The three-time All-Australian did not look off the pace as he gathered 29 disposals and six clearances without quite having his usual influence around stoppages.


"It was a typical Clayton game, he was pretty tough around the clinches and the contest," Goodwin said.

"He's still got some work to do, he probably fumbled the ball a little bit at times.

"But he'll just evolve and get better the next few weeks, but it's just great to see him happy, healthy and back in the program and we'll get him back to his best pretty quick." 

The Demons will be sweating on the fitness of Jake Bowey after the defender injured a shoulder while diving to prevent a mark inside the Swans' forward 50.


Bowey left the field in significant discomfort in the third term and was later ruled out for the remainder of the contest.

"It's probably looking more like a collarbone at this stage. We just need to make sure we get some scans and get that looked at," Goodwin said.

"It was a pretty courageous effort from him. He put his body on the line and came off second best, but that's what we love about him."