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Opinion

Player ratings: Sydney Swans vs Richmond Tigers

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Roar Guru
4th April, 2021
1

Wow, what a team and what a performance. We smashed the Tigers at their own game, and we never gave them a chance to break back.

Sure, half-time rolled around, 40-points up and the nerves were there, bubbling away just below the surface. Surely we couldn’t hold back this champion team, could we? A team that’s won three of the last four premierships?

Yeah, we could, and we did. 57-point lead before three-quarter time put an end to their resistance, or whatever it was they dished up because they were garbage. But, that’s down to the way the Swans played. They never relented and never gave the Tigers to play their under-10s rolling maul style.

I spoke with Heather on the podcast on Thursday night about the way to play to beat Richmond. Don’t fall into the trap of the loose player, don’t bomb down the line, don’t let them set up.

The first quarter saw a bit of that, but by that point, the signs of an upset were well and truly there as Richmond wasted the ball time and time again, while the Swans just sprayed the goals and couldn’t punish the Tigers.

By the end of the quarter though, the Swans were playing controlled football wide, dragging the Richmond midfielders and defenders to the boundary, then using precise kicking to split their lines through the centre and go fast inside 50.

Richmond was hopeless to stop it, their zoning defence just couldn’t deal with the way the ball was coming in, and the second quarter will no doubt be studied by opposition coaches for the year, as the Swans torched the Tigers.

Sam Wicks was given no respect and he booted two before half-time and should have had a third, but gave it off to Campbell. An indicator later in the game when he missed a set-shot from a similar distance was that it dropped short.

Fatigue played a big part as well, but the Swans hung tough and didn’t let the Tigers blitz their way back to a respectable score, unlike the Eagles and Port.

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Isaac Heeney celebrates a goal

(James Elsby/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

The third week in a row the Swans have scored 100+ points, the third week in a row the Swans have lead by 50+ points, and the third week in a row the Swans have scored 70+ points from turnovers.

Come to the end of the round, the Swans will be the number 1 ranked team in a lot of categories, given their thorough dismantling of the reigning premiers.

It was damn good to be at the ground to watch it too.

B: J. Dawson, T. McCartin, H. Cunningham
HB: J. Lloyd, D. Rampe, G. Hewett
C: J. McInerney, L. Parker, N. Blakey
HF: E. Gulden, H. McLean, C. Warner
F: I. Heeney, S. Reid, S. Wicks
FOL: T. Hickey, C. Mills, T. Papley
INT: L. McDonald, J. Kennedy, O. Florent, B. Campbell

Chad Warner – 8.5
Another 20-disposal, two-goal game from the young star. This kid is just awesome. Definitely ‘The Chad’ from now on. Swans are calling him it, the AFL, the commentators, it’s infectious!

Isaac Heeney – 8
Quiet first-half, but still snagged a few big-time goals, kicked a ripper from the boundary and took a handful of superb contested marks.

Logan McDonald – 8
This kid is coming along leaps-and-bounds. Tongues were wagging over the King siblings, but this guy has them covered and then some. Two goals in another head-turning performance at full-forward from the 18-year-old. The impact Logan’s having cannot be underrated – he’s already ranked elite for goals per game (2.3) and kicks (8.3)!

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Harry Cunningham -8
Another game where Harry is the consummate professional. He just plies his trade and doesn’t do it with a lot of fanfare. Rarely beaten today, the only one that comes to mind is the Riewoldt mark, and he shanked it anyway.

Tom Papley – 9
Four goals, superb performance, could have had five, 17 disposals, eight score involvements, 15 pressure acts, just bloody terrific.

Josh Kennedy – 8.5
Winding back the clock, when all pundits and commentators are declaring the big, brute mids are dead, Josh Kennedy just says ‘hold my beer’ and gives Richmond’s midfield an absolute hiding. 27 disposals, 15 contested, 6 intercept possessions, 13 pressure acts, seven clearances – five centre (game-high).

Oliver Florent – 8.5
Not really a coming of age game, but one where his confidence will definitely swell. Good really, 29 disposals, one goal assist, nine marks and four clearances. He’s sort of becoming our Hannebery, getting from contest-to-contest, a great transitional player to have.

Callum Mills – 9
Another BOG performance, it’ll be daylight robbery if anyone takes the 3 votes from him, bar Wicks or Hickey. 31 disposals, walloped Cotchin – who had a down match and was shifted to the back flank, wishing he could just go and hide in row Z, eight clearances (4 centre) and 12 pressure acts. Two BOGs in the midfield already.

Callum Mills of the Swans

(Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Braeden Campbell – 7
Sizzling, like sausages on a BBQ, some of his kicks were insane, especially that pass in the first quarter that parted the red sea and set up a goal. Not a huge game stat-wise, but did his thing and did it well.

Sam Reid – 8
Without swearing like a sailor, he was bloody good. That 2-on-1 on the wing, that was Sam Reid 2012-like. He’s up and about, he’s fit, he’s no longer dealing with injuries, and he’s looking like he can move about the field again. Not a massive game stat-wise, his impact was huge, and. his pressure play is just out-of-this-world at the moment

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Errol Gulden – 8.5
This kid is just wow. When he’s not banging in a bazillion goals, he’s setting them. up. There’s something Ben McGlynn like with his movement, swagger and play, but with the foot skills and vision to rival the absolute best. 18 disposals, 1 goal assist, 6 score involvements – that assist was absurd by the way to Hickey. 22 pressure acts and. 4 tackles – almost all in the forward 50.

Nick Blakey – 6.5
Probably due for a rest. Played really well in patches and should have kicked arguably the goal of the year, but nailed the base of the post. Has great pace, good skills by foot and hand, and got back plenty in defence to help.

His defensive work was pretty good, especially when it’s not his strong suit. He’ll be great in a few years and will probably develop along at the same pace as Florent did.

Dane Rampe – 8.5
Beast mode. You won’t find too many stats that will rank him highly – 50 AFL Fantasy points, AFL Player Ratings had his middle of the group, but his opponent? Nada. Riewoldt had a stinker, Lynch couldn’t break free when he went on him, and his ball use was sublime. After a stinker last week, he backed up with a great match.

Dane Rampe

(Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Luke Parker – 9
Captain’s game, just like Kennedy and Rampe, the three really stood up. Not much I need to say really, the vision says it all. Bagged a goal for his effort – his 35m torpedo, on the other hand, might need to work on that.

Justin McInerney – 6.5
This kid is coming along! Was prominent early in the match but faded in the second half. The pressure work he’ll need to lift, but did ok with 15 pressure acts. Generally, a good user of the ball and presents well as a target.

George Hewett – 8
Impact Dustin Martin had inside 50? Nil.

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Tom McCartin – 6.5
He’s going to struggle on the Lynch and Hawkins’ types but did well when he had a crack at the contest. He’s uncompromising and gives it his all, and is really clean with the ball. Dropped a few sodas, but given nerves and pressure, that’s understandable. Wouldn’t say he had his colours lowered, but he was beaten by Lynch in the second half.

Tom Hickey – 9.5
Eating humble pie here didn’t like the trade in the offseason, yeah, I was wrong. This guy has been phenomenal for us. Finished with just 15 hit outs – overall there were about 40 to be had for the game anyway, and Nankervis finished with 17.

His impact? Ten hit-outs to advantage, the Swans obliterated the Tigers in centre clearances (17-11), and half those hit-outs went straight down Kennedy’s throat. 3 intercept marks in the first half and two goals. He’ll be stiff to miss out on votes, let alone the 3.

Jordan Dawson – 8.5
Superb user of the ball, great first quarter, I keep waxing lyrical about this fella every week and have done so for a while, virtually begging for the Swans to play him. Now that he’s a locked-in regular, there’s no punting him from the side.

Hayden McLean (R) – 7
Contested well, took a great contested mark to kick his goal, and worked wonderfully as a target for the Swans inside 50. For a guy who’s never going to set the AFL world on fire, he’s doing a damn fine job.

Jake Lloyd – 8.5
Just paddin’ them stats! Heh, he was good, great even. Shai Bolton did zip all when he went forward, and same with Sausage Rolls Rioli. Lloyd’s developed a bit of defensive nous to go with his accumulation. Over 550 metres gained and even laid a tackle.

Sam Wicks (R) – 10
Yeah… I may have been a bit harsh on ol’ Cattle Dog lately, but this was as good a performance as you’re ever going to see from a small-to-medium forward.

21 disposals, 3.2 (should have finished with 5), 13 marks, 3 tackles, 2 goal assists, 8 score involvements, 22 pressure acts, over 300 metres gained (goals don’t count!), this was better than Errol’s debut, and he’s played just 10 games!

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Ranked elite this season for disposals (15.3), Kicks (10), Marks inside 50 (2), goals (2), goal accuracy (66.7%), tackles (5) and is above average with tackles inside 50 (1). Hope you had him in your AFL Fantasy/Supercoach team because his value just skyrocketed!