Isaac Heeney celebrates a goal during round four, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

STAR Sydney midfielders Isaac Heeney and Errol Gulden have continued their strong starts to the season as the Swans ground out a 26-point win over a spirited West Coast.

The Swans withstood a strong first-half challenge before pulling away for a 15.14 (104) to 11.12 (78) victory at Mount Barker on Saturday.

West Coast outscored an opponent in a quarter for the first time this season - kicking 5.6 to 3.2 in the second term - and held a narrow five-point lead at the main break.


But they were overrun in the second half as Sydney's class prevailed in front of 9225 fans.

Making matters worse for the Eagles, Luke Edwards was substituted out with a hamstring injury and Ryan Maric was taken to hospital with rib damage after he was cannoned into by teammate Jack Darling in a marking contest.

Heeney (26 disposals, seven clearances) and Gulden (27, seven) stepped up at the right times and kicked two goals each - a tally matched by Will Hayward, Joel Amartey and Logan McDonald.


James Rowbottom (19 disposals, six clearances) and Nick Blakey (25 touches) were also busy and Brodie Grundy was influential in the ruck as the Swans enjoyed a 44-32 advantage in clearances.

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Grundy had a game-high eight of those himself along with 20 disposals and 31 hitouts.

Sydney coach John Longmire was pleased his players were able to battle their way to a win that took the Swans to 4-1 going into a bye next week.

"You aim for great footy all the time but sometimes you've just got to find ways to play well," Longmire said.

"Today we were able to do that at different times and some players really lifted and were able to get us through.

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"You can't underestimate how hard it is to win AFL games. It's really tough.

"To be able to sit here after the first six weeks and to have played some good footy - we know what we can do - but also we had to roll up our sleeves and get it done today.

"It's been a solid block and we'll have a couple of days off and get back to work."


Much-hyped No.1 draft pick Harley Reid was among West Coast's best and stood out with his strength and aggression around the contest.

He kicked his first AFL goal and finished with 18 disposals in another encouraging performance.


Eagles veteran Elliot Yeo (28 disposals, six clearances) and co-captain Liam Duggan (30 touches) battled hard while defender Jeremy McGovern fought on despite losing teeth in a collision with Braeden Campbell.

The Eagles (0-4) remain winless at the foot of the ladder but coach Adam Simpson said they would take away "small wins" from an improved performance against a side that belted them by a record 171 points last season.

"We were up for the fight," Simpson said.

"The guys, I don't think they're high-fiving in there (the changeroom), but I think we can start to see a tiny bit of our identity and get a little bit of reward for the work that they're putting in."


Duggan won the toss and chose to kick against a handy breeze that Sydney couldn't take full advantage of in the opening term.

The Swans had the first eight inside-50s but found themselves behind when Reid snapped truly and Cripps slotted a superb set shot from the boundary.

The Eagles' pressure was up throughout the first half and Reid's bullocking work was a highlight, as was Jack Petruccelle's huge mark on the back of teammate Maric.

Sydney added four goals to one with the breeze in the third quarter and a crucial 50m penalty against Reid - for encroaching in the protected area - allowed Hayward to give the Swans a 15-point buffer at the final change.

Local product Matt Roberts pounced to kick the opening goal of the last quarter and Sydney kept their opponents at arm's length from there.

Taylor made it
After missing the first four matches of the season with a knee injury, Taylor Adams finally played his first game in the red and white. The former Magpie didn't take long to make an impact, kicking a goal during the opening term and finishing the day with 17 touches, four tackles and two clearance before being subbed out tactically during the final quarter.


Harley revs up with first goal
West Coast's prized No.1 draft pick wasted no time getting involved in the action, kicking his first career goal in the opening minutes of Saturday afternoon's clash. In just his fourth AFL game, the Victorian product celebrated the major by tugging at the West Coast emblem on his guernsey in a show of pride for his team.


Kicking with the wind
West Coast captain Liam Duggan raised eyebrows when he elected to kick against the wind after winning the coin toss. But his gamble looked like it was going to pay off in the second quarter when the Eagles had their turn kicking with the wind. A five-goal streak had the Eagles ahead at the main change, and gave the Swans' camp a scare. The Eagles ultimately weren't able to harness the wind again in the fourth quarter, leaving the Swans to win comfortably.


WEST COAST    2.0     7.6     8.7        11.12 (78)
SYDNEY            3.5     6.7     10.10    15.14 (104)

West Coast:
Waterman 2, Cripps 2, Reid, Long, Hunt, Petruccelle, Maric, J.Williams, Kelly
Sydney: McDonald 2, Gulden 2, Hayward 2, Heeney 2, Amartey 2, Adams, Fox, Warner, McLean,  Roberts

West Coast:
Duggan, Yeo, B.Williams, Waterman, Reid
Sydney: Gulden, Heeney, Warner, Grundy, Rowbottom


West Coast: Luke Edwards (hamstring), Ryan Maric (ribs)
Sydney: Nil

West Coast: Loch Rawlinson (replaced Luke Edwards in the second quarter)
Sydney: Caleb Mitchell (replaced Taylor Adams in the fourth quarter)

Crowd: 9225 at Adelaide Hills