The Sydney Swans gave Voxson Oval spectators an impressive display of pace and pressure on Saturday afternoon as they sailed to a 12.13 (85) to 7.7 (49) win over the Aspley Hornets.
Now asserted four-points clear in third spot, the Swans have locked away their finals place in 2019.
Despite only fielding 12 listed players, the Swans seemed to control the match from minute one, against an unusually clumsy Hornets outfit, as the debut of Brisbane’s Royal Show brought it’s traditional onslaught of wind across south-east Queensland.
Swans coach Jeremy Laidler was glad to see the way his side responded to both the weather conditions, but also the work of their opposition.
“Credit to our boys, we had a real dip inside, and it was pretty trying conditions with the wind,” Laidler told neafl.com.au.
“I thought we adapted quite well and it was quite an even performance from the whole team.
“They’re a quality side Aspley, and we knew they were a really contested team.
“We beat them in contested ball, clearances and hit-outs, and the Hornets are top-three in all of them."
The brutal wind acted as an extra player for the side kicking toward the clubhouse, that being the Swans in the opening term, seeing youngster Joel Amartey drill the match-opening major from 50 metres, a sight that was about to become far less unusual as the match wore on.
Renowned Aspley tagger Callum Carseldine paid heavy attention to star Swans midfielder James Rose early in the match, but as Rose added Sydney’s second into an open goal, his impact looked to be typically scintillating.
Connor Stackelberg and James Nelis combined for a soccering effort in the goalsquare to allow the Swans an eight-point lead at quarter-time.
The Swans’ buffer was flipped to the tune of two goals at the main interlude, as a four-goal to two quarter from the home side saw Aspley lead by four points at half-time.
To this point the Swans had been far cleaner in possession than their opponents, as well as more intent with their pressure, yet the Hornets were able to hit the scoreboard more efficiently with 5.5 to Sydney’s 4.7.
Sydney’s on-field dominance began to pay dividends on the scoresheet, as the Swans stacked four goals to Aspley’s one in both the third and fourth quarters.
Jackson Barling bagged a pair in the second half, while mid-season draftee Cody Hirst slotted two of his four for the afternoon in a lively display of pace and skill.
James Rose was praised for his X-factor and for good reason. The midfielder gathered 31 disposals, four tackles, seven inside 50s complemented with two goals.
Riley Stoddart (24 disposals, six rebound 50s, electric pace) was impressive, while big men Michael Knoll (25 disposals, seven tackles, 28 hit-outs) and Joel Amartey (20 disposals, 22 hit-outs and two goals) had days out.
Teenager Tom Baulch lead the stats for the Hornets with 24 disposals and a miraculous curling goal in the third quarter, while veteran Gavin Grose was elite in defence with seven marks and nine rebound 50s.
Next week, the Swans will hope to take their strong form back home to face the dangerous Suns while Aspley head to the capital to take on the Demons.
Aspley Hornets v Sydney Swans at Voxson Oval
SYDNEY 2.4 4.7 8.9 12.13 (85)
ASPLEY 1.2 5.5 6.6 7.7 (59)
GOALS – Sydney: C Hirst 4 J Amartey 2 J Barling 2 J Rose 2 J
Rayner S Thorne. Aspley: T Baulch L Dawson J Giles W Murphy J Nelis M Payne C Stackelberg.
BEST – Sydney: L Melican C Hirst T Pink J Rose S Wicks J McInerney. Aspley: G Grose J Craven T Baulch.
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