SYDNEY has snapped its two-game losing run emphatically to return to the top four with a 58-point victory over Essendon at the SCG on Saturday night.
Callum Mills was brilliant on the inside with 29 disposals including a game-high seven clearances and 13 tackles, while young gun Chad Warner had 32 touches along with 11 score involvements.
Tom Papley had his best game since returning from a hamstring injury a fortnight ago with 21 touches, two goals and a game-high 13 score involvements.
SWANS v BOMBERS Full match coverage and stats
The Bombers, who ended their own losing run last week with a come-from-behind win over Hawthorn, couldn’t muster up a special performance in captain Dyson Heppell's 200th game, with the Swans winning 14.21 (105) to 6.11 (47).
Essendon is 16th with a 2-7 record and appear certainly out of top-eight contention in 2022, having played finals under coach Ben Rutten in 2021.
Most disappointingly for the Dons, they barely threatened as Sydney had 21 scores from 33 inside 50s in the first half, finding it far too easy to use the corridor, with their inaccuracy costing them a better lead.
The Swans had lost to Gold Coast and Brisbane over the past fortnight but improved to a 6-3 record, never looking back after six unanswered goals helped them open up a 38-point half-time lead.
Sydney dominated the possessions count 394-332, with the clear difference in kicks (255-195) and uncontested possessions (249-197).
Papley, Sam Wicks, Lance Franklin and Will Hayward all kicked two goals each for Sydney, while Peter Wright booted two majors for the Dons.
Essendon kicked two of the first three goals from Aaron Francis and Ben Hobbs, before Sydney enjoyed its unanswered six-goal run. The Bombers never looked capable of getting back into the game in the second half, although the margin could have been worse.
Essendon finished with 30 tackles for the game, having had 24 in their fourth-quarter comeback last week against the Hawks.
Darcy Parish was among Essendon's best with 31 disposals, while youngster Hobbs (17 disposals) and Zach Reid (13 disposals and 10 marks) provided a glimpse of the club's future.
Swans pair set for MRO scrutiny
James Rowbottom and Tom McCartin will come under Match Review Officer scrutiny after two separate high-hit incidents which left Zach Merrett and Jye Caldwell respectively floored. Merrett stayed on the deck for a few seconds but got up and played on after he was instinctively caught high in the second term by Rowbottom, who'll likely be in hot water. Caldwell was worse off, looking dazed, clutching his shoulder and heading down to the rooms for assessment before being subbed out after being collected by McCartin when going back with the flight in the third quarter. Both players appeared to have their eyes firmly on the ball in the latter contest.
Parker sledges Shiel
Luke Parker slotted a running goal from 50m after dummying past Nick Hind with five minutes left in the first half to extend Sydney's lead to seven goals. But the part which was unusual was that Parker, who is known to be chirpy on field, appeared to sledge Dylan Shiel in the aftermath of the goal. Former Giants onballer Shiel spilled the ball in a tackle after taking possession, allowing Parker to swoop. The Swans midfielder repeatedly gestured by raising his arms and shoulders, intimating Shiel was jumpy. There didn’t appear to be much response from Shiel.
Kennedy breaks more records
A fortnight after claiming the AFL record for most career clearances, veteran Swans follower Josh Kennedy surpassed Gary Ablett Jnr for the most career contested possessions. Kennedy also went past the 4000 mark for contested possessions. The 33-year-old, who had 18 disposals with five contested possessions, capped his day with a final-quarter goal too.
SYDNEY 5.5 9.12 12.16 14.21 (105)
ESSENDON 2.3 4.4 5.7 6.11 (47)
Sydney: Wicks 2, Franklin 2, Hayward 2, Papley 2, Bell, Hickey, Gulden, Parker, Heeney, Kennedy
Essendon: Wright 2, Francis, Hobbs, Perkins, Martin
Sydney: Mills, Papley, Warner, Parker, Gulden, Franklin
Essendon: Parish, Ridley, McGrath, Heppell, Reid
Essendon: Caldwell (shoulder)
Sydney: Ryan Clarke (unused)
Essendon: Alec Waterman (replaced Jye Caldwell at three quarter-time)