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Young Swans far too good for dismal Demons

Highlights: Melbourne v Sydney The Demons and Swans clash in round 22

SYDNEY has snapped a six-game losing streak and showed some positive signs for the future with a 53-point victory over a disappointing Melbourne at the MCG on Friday night. 

The Swans gave their supporters something to cheer with a dominant performance, earning their seventh victory of the season with the 15.5 (95) to 5.12 (42) triumph on a wet and cold winter's night at the home of football.

John Longmire's side booted the first three goals of a scrappy contest to claim a lead they never relinquished, and never really had to get out of second gear as they held the Demons goalless during the second and third quarters to ensure they registered an easy win.

While the victory didn't help them rise from their lowly 15th placed ladder position, it provides them with some hope heading into another winnable game next week against St Kilda and what lies ahead for their 2020 campaign.

Experienced trio Jake Lloyd (26 disposals), Luke Parker (25) and Josh Kennedy (21) won plenty of the ball and veteran big man Sam Reid (three goals) impressed up forward, but even more promising for the Swans was the performance from a host of their younger players.

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Oliver Florent (28 touches), Nick Blakey (17 disposals and one goal), James Rowbottom (two goals) and Tom McCartin (two goals) showed excellent signs, indicating the future could be bright for the Swans and a return to the finals might come quicker than many thought.

For the Demons, their season can't end quickly enough.

Barring any miracles over the next fortnight they will finish the season in 17th place, which is a huge fall from grace following their efforts to reach the preliminary final last year.

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Star ruckman Max Gawn racked up a whopping 52 hitouts and his output would have put a smile on those lucky enough to still be fielding fantasy sides.

But his dominance in the air over Aliir Aliir and Reid meant little on ground level as the Swans won the clearances 38-37 and, even more strangely, held the edge in centre clearances 10-9.

Clayton Oliver (30 disposals), Jack Viney (25) and Angus Brayshaw (24) tried hard, but you aren't going to win many games in the modern era when you are held to just five goals for an entire match.

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Jake Melksham (three goals) played a lone hand up forward, but finding consistent goalkickers must be high on Simon Goodwin's list if the Demons are to return to the finals next year.

The loss was further soured with the fact Gawn ended the match on the bench, having gone up the race and into the rooms for observations late in the final quarter with a suspected injury.

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But that will matter little for the Swans, who did as they liked to register a confidence building victory.

MEDICAL ROOM
Melbourne: Veteran Jordan Lewis limped off with a calf concern midway through the second quarter, but he quickly shook it off and returned to the field shortly after. Ruckman Max Gawn went to the rooms late in the contest for observations and failed to return to the field. 

Sydney: The Swans look to have escaped from the match with no fresh injury concerns.

NEXT UP
Melbourne gets the chance to finish its disappointing season on a high when they travel to Hobart to take on North Melbourne at Blundstone Arena on Saturday, while the Swans head home to host St Kilda at the SCG on the same afternoon.

MELBOURNE     3.1   3.3    3.7    5.12 (42)
SYDNEY            4.1   7.3   10.3   15.5 (95)           

GOALS
Melbourne: Melksham 3, Fritsch, Neal-Bullen
Sydney: Reid 3, Dawson 2, McCartin 2, Menzel 2, Papley 2, Rowbottom 2, Bell, Blakey 

BEST 
Melbourne: Melksham, Oliver, Viney, Gawn, Hibberd, Brayshaw
Sydney: Florent, Reid, Blakey, Kennedy, Parker, Rampe 

Fans' Best on Ground, in partnership with Google: Aliir Aliir

INJURIES 
Melbourne: Salem (leg), Gawn (hamstring tightness)
Sydney: Nil 

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Stephens, Findlay, Glouftsis

Official crowd: 23,700 at the MCG