GONE in 15 minutes.

That was the time it took for Sydney to put enough distance between itself and Adelaide to never be completely threatened at the SCG on Saturday afternoon, despite the Crows outscoring the Swans across the final three quarters.

Sydney kicked those five early goals in a rampaging start and finished with 9.3 – from just 20 inside 50s – to record the highest opening quarter score of the season, before doing enough to defend its early advantage across the rest of an intriguing battle to eventually win by 33 points.

SWANS v CROWS Full match coverage and stats

When Callum Mills kicked Sydney’s tenth goal 45 seconds into the second quarter, the margin was 48 points and things looked ominous for Adelaide.

But bit by bit, Matthew Nicks’ side halted the Swans momentum and gradually pegged back the margin to ensure John Longmire endured a frustrating day on the interchange bench before it finished 17.16 (118) to 12.13 (85).

06:59 Mins
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Highlights: Sydney v Adelaide

The Swans and Crows clash in round 19

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The Crows will return home without the sixth win of the season they were searching for, but they will return with some confidence after kicking 10 of the 16 goals registered after quarter-time in a head-scratching game in conditions that started wet but finished dry.

Sydney’s trio of star forwards – Lance Franklin (three goals), Isaac Heeney (two goals) and Tom Papley (two goals) – had days where they could have finished with more, but did enough to lead the Swans to a third straight win and 12th overall to move them level with fourth-placed Brisbane, half a game adrift of Fremantle which drew with Richmond on Friday night.

Papley was the instigator early. The 2021 All-Australian burst out of a centre bounce with the ball, got it back and then drilled a goal on the run from 55m out, celebrating almost as soon as the ball hit his boot, slotting two first quarter goals in a term that was reminiscent of a fortnight ago against the Western Bulldogs. 

00:45 Mins
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Double trouble kick Swans clear

Back-to-back goals from Chad Warner and Tom Papley extend their side's lead midway through the first term

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But the early minutes of the second quarter onwards, Papley and the Swans had a performance where they flaunted the gulf in class between the two sides – one is a premiership threat, the other is a bottom four side – and were never fewer than three goals ahead.

Franklin was engaged in an intriguing contest with Adelaide key defender Nick Murray, who limited the four-time Coleman Medallist for a large part of the game, but couldn’t prevent the Sydney star from continuing his rise up the record books.

Months after becoming just the sixth player in AFL/VFL history to kick 1000 goals, Franklin surpassed Geelong icon Gary Ablett snr (1031 goals) to move up to No.5 on the all-time goalkicking leaderboard and finished the afternoon with 1033 next to his name.

With Greater Western Sydney, North Melbourne, Collingwood and St Kilda to come in the final month of the season, Sydney is well placed to unseat one of the current top four and arrive at the start of the September with the double chance.

Ball magnet does it again
Rory Laird has been doing it all year – and for years – and he did it again at the SCG. This time the two-time All-Australian amassed 38 disposals, 11 clearances, six tackles and 848m gained to clearly be the most dominant player on the ground. Only Clayton Oliver averages more disposals per game than the 28-year-old, who is putting his hand up for a third All-Australian blazer.

Rory Laird in action during round 19, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Welcome back to the SCG
Jordan Dawson was one of the most high profile trades of last October, and he returned to the SCG for the first time since leaving the Swans last year to return to South Australia. It wasn’t the most memorable return. Ryan Clarke shadowed him for the first quarter before Matthew Nicks moved Dawson to half-forward, forcing John Longmire to drop that tag. The locals let him have it when he took a set shot late in the third quarter. No one forgets.

Buddy surpasses God
Months after becoming just the sixth player in AFL/VFL history to kick 1000 goals, Lance Franklin reached another milestone on the SCG again. This time he is up to No.5 on the all-time goalkicking leader board after kicking three on Saturday. Sitting on 1033 goals, Franklin is now ahead of Gary Ablett snr (1032) and could surpass another Geelong great in Doug Wade (1057) before his career is over, whenever that is. Nick Murray did a decent job on the four-time Coleman Medallist, but couldn’t completely shut out the ageing superstar.

00:50 Mins
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Brilliant Buddy surpasses Gary Ablett snr

Lance Franklin snaps through his 1032nd goal which pushes him past Gary Ablett snr on the all-time goalkicking list

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SYDNEY           9.3       11.7      13.14      17.16 (118)
ADELAIDE        2.3       6.5        9.10        12.13 (85)

Sydney: Franklin 3, Hayward 3, Heeney 2, Papley 2, Amartey, Clarke, Gulden, Mills, Reid, Stephens, Warner
Adelaide: Walker 3, Berry 2, Dawson, Fogarty, Laird, McHenry, Milera, Murphy, Soligo

Sydney: Blakey, Mills, Papley, Stephens, Parker, Warner, Franklin
Adelaide: Laird, Berry, Keays, O’Brien, Walker

Sydney: Nil
Adelaide: Shane McAdam (corked quad)

Sydney: Sam Wicks (unused)
Adelaide: Brayden Cook (replaced Shane McAdam in second quarter)