SYDNEY looked like the premiership fancies at the Gabba on Saturday night and not Brisbane, running and gunning to an upset 31-point win on the back of its exciting crop of youngsters.
After conceding the first three goals of the game, the Swans dismantled Chris Fagan's team, kicking 15 goals across the second and third quarters to run out 19.11 (125) to 14.10 (94) winners.
LIONS v SWANS Full match coverage and stats
Debutants Errol Gulden (three goals and three assists from 19 touches), Logan McDonald (three goals) and Braeden Campbell (12 disposals) were major contributors for a Swans team that punished any Brisbane mistake.
Sydney played a thrilling brand of football, moving the ball swiftly at any opportunity, hitting targets with ease and finishing their work around goal with precision.
Callum Mills' move to the midfield paid instant dividends for John Longmire, as the 23-year-old gathered 29 disposals at a polished 86 percent efficiency and kicked two goals in a best on ground display.
Isaac Heeney (three goals and four assists) was also tremendous after missing much of 2020 with an ankle injury, while Tom Hickey was tireless in the ruck in his first game for his fourth club.
Brisbane looked lethargic. Sydney's 23 marks inside 50 to the Lions' five showed both a lack of attention and an inability to transition following turnovers from the home team.
After its fast start it was hard to find a Lions winner on the ground.
They kicked the final three goals of the game to add a semblance of respectability to the score.
The first half was a game of wild fluctuations as both teams traded haymakers that staggered their opponent but couldn't knock them out.
Sydney gained ascendency around the stoppages after its tardy start and slammed on seven successive goals either side of quarter-time to jump to a 25-point lead.
The Lions steadied, with Bailey and the gifted Keidean Coleman leading the way.
Coleman's overhead flick to Jarryd Lyons and sublime snap on his unnatural right foot highlighted the comeback as the teams went to the sheds locked up.
Sydney's three debutants all showed they were well-and-truly up to the level, but a 10-minute burst from Errol Gulden to open the second term will live long in the memories of Swans fans. The Academy graduate kicked two goals and set up two more as the Swans ran riot on the back of their No.32 draft pick and his exquisite left foot kicking skills. Gulden finished with three goals for the night and three assists from his 19 touches, while No.4 pick Logan McDonald bombed a first quarter goal from 50m and kicked three for the night and No.5 pick Braeden Campbell showed composure in a frantic contest.
Big Joe's mixed bag
After his off-season free agency move from Essendon to Brisbane, all eyes were on Joe Daniher, and the big full forward experienced just about everything. Following a flawless pre-season Daniher started with a bang, kicking the Lions' third goal with what could generously be described as a wobbly left foot snap. It was slim pickings from there though, as Dane Rampe nullified the former Bomber’s influence to keep him to two goals. Daniher will also come under scrutiny of the Match Review Officer after being reported for a strike on Rampe in the opening term.
Hickey answers Sydney's ruck call
Playing for his fourth club in his fourth state, Tom Hickey could hardly have started better for Sydney. After Oscar McInerney got the better of him in the opening exchanges, Hickey was a major reason for the Swans first steadying the ship and then gaining control. He had five first quarter clearances to stem the bleeding and then flourished away from the contest. Hickey finished with 23 disposals and a game-high nine clearances. He was instrumental in the win.
BRISBANE 3.3 8.4 10.7 14.10 (94)
SYDNEY 2.4 8.4 17.6 19.11 (125)
Brisbane: Bailey 3, Daniher 2, McCarthy 2, Berry, Coleman, Lyons, McCluggage, McInerney, Hipwood, Zorko
Sydney: Gulden 3, Heeney 3, McDonald 3, Mills 2, Parker 2, Reid 2, Wicks 2, Blakey, Papley
Brisbane: Bailey, Zorko, McCarthy, Coleman
Sydney: Mills, Gulden, Heeney, Hickey, Rowbottom, McCartin
Brisbane: Mathieson (unused)
Sydney: Hayward (unused)
Crowd: 22,762 at the Gabba