An angry Lewis Jetta was simply sticking up for good friend Adam Goodes when he directed a war dance at West Coast fans, according to Sydney coach John Longmire.
Jetta angered a small section of the 38,760 Domain Stadium crowd when he celebrated a fourth-quarter goal with the indigenous war cry dance.
As part of the routine, Jetta threw a make-believe spear at the crowd in an aggressive manner.
After the match, Longmire revealed Jetta had performed the war cry in retaliation to the crowd’s relentless booing of fellow indigenous star Goodes, who has been copping similar abuse in venues around Australia.
“Look, he (Jetta) wanted to celebrate the goal and he wanted to stick up for a mate,” Longmire said after the 52-point loss.
“I spoke to him after the game and he was upset with the booing, and he’s had enough of it.
“Lewis is a young kid who has come to Sydney and Goodesy has been such a powerful figure for him.
“He’s pretty close to Goodesy … and he was reacting and trying to show some support for a mate of his.
“We understand what he’s doing. We understand that he’s been frustrated by it, and he wants to stick up for Adam.
“He doesn’t think that Adam deserves it.”
Goodes courted controversy himself in May when he directed a war dance towards a section of Carlton supporters after kicking a goal during the AFL’s Indigenous round.
Eagles coach Adam Simpson was surprised with how some members of the Eagles crowd had treated Goodes.
“I didn’t know what was going on there,” Simpson said.
“There were a couple of times I heard some booing and thought, ‘What was that?’
“I was sort of hoping we would be better than that.
“I’m sure it’s the minority, and for the most part we do respect Adam and who he stands for and what he does.”
The incident overshadowed another impressive performance by the Eagles, whose chances of locking down a top-two berth are improving by the week.
The Eagles’ midfield was once dubbed too slow and one-dimensional.
Brownlow medallist Matt Priddis put in another best-on-field performance, while Andrew Gaff, Elliot Yeo, Chris Masten, Dom Sheed and Luke Shuey were also influential.
Ruckman Nic Naitanui caused all sorts of havoc in the air and at ground level, with forwards Jack Darling and Josh Kennedy kicking three goals apiece.
Sydney were dealt a huge blow before the match when Lance Franklin was forced to withdraw because of a back injury, with the marquee recruit joining fellow spearhead Kurt Tippett on the sidelines.
It left the Swans without their two main forward targets, but in the end it was their midfield that copped the biggest walloping in the 15.13 (103) to 7.9 (51) defeat.
The heavy loss comes just a week after Sydney copped an 89-point hiding at the hands of Hawthorn.
With three losses in their past five games, Sydney are on the slide.