Sydney coach John Longmire says his forward line is still building synergy after a 30-point AFL win over Collingwood at the SCG, where returning young gun Isaac Heeney kicked three goals.
Both sides struggled to find space and move the ball freely, with a swirling breeze and lots of pressure ensuring the turnover-riddled game was not much of a spectacle.
Jordan De Goey helped the Magpies shoot out to an 18-point lead early in the first quarter, but the visitors failed to boot a single goal in the second or third terms.
The Swans worked their way into the scrappy contest, seized control in a dominant third quarter and eventually triumphed 10.12 (72) to 5.12 (42).
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley praised the “excellent” effort of Brayden Maynard, who helped restrict four-time Coleman medallist Lance Franklin to two goals.
Small forward Tom Papley also booted two goals in the low-scoring tussle, while key forward Hayden McLean grabbed a game-high five contested marks.
It was the first AFL game in which Franklin, Heeney and McLean have shared a forward line.
“They (Sydney’s forwards) haven’t played a lot together, haven’t done a lot of training together,” Longmire said.
“We’ve had players coming in and out.
“So to get some synergy working together is important.
“Our energy was a bit low at the start … once we got our pressure up around the ball, we were able to turn the tide of the game.”
Heeney, who missed the club’s tight loss to Melbourne at the MCG last weekend because of an ankle injury, also had 22 possessions and six marks in a productive comeback.
“Feeling better physically, you get the results,” Longmire said.
“Isaac’s energy and work-rate is fantastic. He’s a class player and just needs a good run at it, physically.”
Ruckmen Tom Hickey and Brodie Grundy finished with a team-high eight and six clearances respectively, while Callum Mills, Justin McInerney and Jake Lloyd were influential for the hosts.
“They only scored 10 goals, defensively we held up for the most part,” Buckley said.
“We just dropped away with our execution.”
Heeney’s third goal, coming in the 17th minute of the final quarter, proved the sealer as Sydney made it a 6-3 start to a season in which they were widely tipped to finish outside the top eight again.
The Swans next face Fremantle, Carlton, St Kilda and Hawthorn as they seek to clamber into the top four, while Collingwood host Port Adelaide at the MCG.
Papley’s second goal was due reward for a spectacular piece of hard work.
The 24-year-old took possession of an in-dispute ball on the half-back flank, danced past a would-be tackler, fended off Steele Sidebottom then had a bounce as he sprinted through the middle of the ground.
The Sherrin passed to Sam Wicks and McLean before returning to a hard-running Papley, who nailed his set shot after holding a mark in the forward line.