Sydney added a classy touch to his win over Carlton at Friday night’s SCG.
The Swans kept their AFL season alive with a 26-point win over the ailing Blues thanks to some brilliant performances from Nick Blakey and Chad Warner.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Michael O’Loughlin is among the previous players featured in the team song.
Analysis, local football and biggest moments: Seven and 7plus are home to football shows for every fan. Stream them all for free 7plus >>
It was the culmination of a brilliant evening for the club after a brand new statue of two-time Brownlow Medalist and Swans Indigenous legend Adam Goodes was also unveiled ahead of the game.
Goodes’ iconic war dance in celebration of a goal against Carlton in 2015, performed as a mark against racism, was enshrined in bronze outside of the SCG.
And in the Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round, the Swans capped off a perfect evening with a touching moment in their post-game celebrations.
The team came to the rooms to sing their famous song but refused to begin without including their former Indigenous stars in the circle.
The song was about to begin when players called on Michael O’Loughlin to join.
Former First Nations players Derek Kickett and Lewis Jetta were also featured on the song.
On the field, it was a brilliant display from an underpowered Sydney defense that proved crucial in defeating the failed Carlton and giving the Swans a timely boost to their SCG finals hopes.
Sydney started the clash with an unheralded defense against the Blues’ two Coleman medalists, but made a mark when she ran 11.11 (77) to 6.15 (51) on Friday night.
Key defenders Robbie Fox, Aaron Francis and Lewis Melican – in his first game since the 2021 elimination final – were crucial as together they limited the much-lauded Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay to a single goal.
The Swans’ (5-6) defense was also led by Jake Lloyd (35 dismounts) and Blakey (26), with quick ball movements that were too good for a Blues team that struggled with field kick and close proximity to goal .
Young talents Warner (29 disposals, two goals) and Errol Gulden (22, one) were great for the Swans, while Luke Parker (21) played a key role in his 100th game as captain.
Isaac Heeney spent more time in midfield and often kept a close eye on Carlton captain Patrick Cripps as the Swans’ All-Australian bounced back from a slump in form in 2022 and had 19 dismounts and season-highs for clearances (six) and tackles (10).
Lance Franklin remained goalless for the fourth time in six games but Hayden McLean stayed top with four contested points and two goals, while small forward Sam Wicks also scored twice in his first game of the season.
The Blues (4-1-6) have now lost four straight games and lost six of their last seven as their hopes of a breakthrough at the finals suffered another setback.
The Blues’ key forwards could have made a lot more impact if they hadn’t unleashed a few idiosyncratic shots. Curnow was the dominant forward on the field early on but finished at 1.3 while McKay shot 0.3 from limited opportunities.
Curnow had the Swans’ better defense in the air and took six contested points but failed to reward them on the scoreboard.
Rising great Tom De Koning helped bolster the Swans’ defense and impressed in his first game since Round 5 with 13 knockdowns and a goal but failed to affect the result.
Sam Walsh (31 disposals) and Adam Cerra (24) enjoyed ample possession while captain Patrick Cripps (19) fought hard despite attention from Heeney before limping off the field late in the game.
The Blues lost a key on-baller when former Swan George Hewett was hit in the head by teammate Nic Newman in the shoulder as the pair faced Franklin early in the second season.
Newman was later sidelined with a hamstring injury while Ollie Hollands was also sidelined with a shoulder injury last season.
Jesse Motlop was the Blues’ top scorer in a failed forward streak with two goals, but ultimately the visitors lacked both legs and chances.
– With AAP