Top of table Swans continue winning streak over Eagles
West Coast coach John Worsfold hopes his team’s personnel crisis will ease over the coming weeks after watching the Eagles slump to a 52-point AFL loss to arch rivals Sydney at Patersons Stadium on Sunday.
Swans speedster Lewis Jetta booted four goals, while midfielders Ryan O’Keefe (39 possessions), Dan Hannebery (42) and Kieren Jack (29) starred as Sydney retained top spot on the table with a dominant 18.13 (121) to 10.9 (69) triumph on enemy territory.
The Eagles’ fourth loss of the year and sixth straight defeat to the Swans saw them slump from second to fifth spot, while their intimidating 18-game winning streak in Perth was also brought to a grinding halt.
West Coast entered the match without eight of their best 22 players due to injury and suspension, and were dealt a further blow when forward Jack Darling was subbed out of the game in the third quarter due to hamstring tightness.
The loss of Darling was particularly telling in a forward line already missing Josh Kennedy (ankle), Quinten Lynch (suspended), Mark LeCras (knee), Mark Nicoski (hamstring), Josh Hill (hamstring) and Ashton Hams (soreness).
In their place, ruckman Dean Cox (one goal) had limited influence, while defenders Will Schofield, Jacob Brennan and Patrick McGinnity also failed to have any significant scoreboard impact.
After the match, Sydney coach John Longmire played down the significance of the win given the amount of talent missing from West Coast’s line-up.
Worsfold hoped the return of Lynch for Saturday’s crunch clash with Adelaide at AAMI Stadium, plus the possible inclusions of Hams and Hill, would start a trend of regaining key players.
Midfielder Luke Shuey has one more week of his suspension to serve, while wingman Andrew Embley (shoulder) could return in a fortnight.
“There were times today when I think we had three defenders playing in our forward line trying to hold up for us, replacing those guys that were out,” Worsfold said.
“I thought they did a pretty good job just working hard when the ball got in there, but we were shuffling players around to get a team out there a little bit today.
“Lynch is available next week. Hopefully Darling’s all right and we could potentially get Hill and Hams back.
“So it’s all up (from here).”
Sydney utility Lewis Roberts-Thomson was taken to hospital for assessment after copping a heavy knock to the head in a hard but fair bump from Brennan.
Roberts-Thomson was given the all-clear, and is a chance to play in next Sunday’s clash with St Kilda at the SCG.
Longmire said his team wouldn’t get caught up in outside hype despite the impressive nature of their victory.
“It doesn’t worry us internally,” Longmire said.
“What happens outside the Sydney Swans footy club is really up to everyone else. We have very little control over that.
“I understand people want to talk about September now but I don’t focus on it because it’s only July.
“I’m just really pleased with the style of footy we’re playing and that’s what we’ve got to try to keep doing.”
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