AFL 2020: Sydney v Bulldogs – Round Four Knee Jerk Reaction

The Bulldogs completed their ‘Sydney Sweep’ with victory over the Swans at the SCG. What else did we take away from the Round Four clash?

SCG, Home Sweet Home No More?

As impressive as the Bulldogs victory was on Thursday night, we were left to ponder what it means for the Sydney Swans. What was once an almost impenetrable fortress for visiting teams is now a ground the home team finds particularly difficult to win one.

For much of the 2010s the Swans took full advantage of the distinctive size of the famous old ground but, in losing to the Bulldogs, they have now lost 10 of their last 15 at the ground. When compared to the 36 wins they recorded in their previous 50 matches, it is a sharp fall from grace.

After a lengthy stay in the competitions upper echelon, the Swans face a long wait on the outside unless they can arrest this worrying trend. Until they can return the SCG to the graveyard it once was for visiting teams, they will remain a shadow of the great teams of the 2000s and 2010s.

How the game was won.

Like they have all season to date, the Swans missed the start and quickly found themselves behind on the scoreboard. With Marcus Bontempelli instrumental for the Bulldogs, the visitors punished their slow starting hosts and had a three goal buffer by the first break.

Despite a game ending ankle injury to Aaron Naughton, the Bulldogs continued to press their advantage in the second quarter. Their skipper was particularly busy throughout the term, his efforts punctuated by a team lifting mark in the defensive half that set up their fifth goal.

Tom Papley showed again why the Swans were so desperate to thwart Carlton’s off-season advances. The small forward was a one-man band up forward for the hosts and, despite limited supply, kicked four of their five goals.

While Sydney struggled to support Papley, the visitors had a wide spread of contributors. Jack Macrae (22 disposals) shook off a George Hewett tag, while Bailey Smith (20 disposals) combined with ruckman Tim English (22 disposals) as the Dogs were far cleaner around stoppages. 

With Sam Lloyd’s night also coming to a premature end, the Bulldogs were down on rotations as the game progressed. The Swans looked to take advantage of this as the game progressed and made a charge in the final quarter. Despite this, and a far more risk taking approach they were unable to bridge the gap with the Bulldogs deserved 28-point victors.

What the coaches said.

Luke Beveridge praised the efforts of his captain post match. “He ignited us. That mark going back with the flight, the force he hit that with, if you’re not inspired by that as a teammate, you never will be,” he said. “I thought he was quite brilliant in the first half and really solid after that. He was really productive and had an influence.”

John Longmire was left to lament his teams slow start. “You can’t get off to a start like that,” he said. “We didn’t use the ball going forward as well as what we could have. We didn’t play with the speed that we needed to and we didn’t adjust quick enough and they get you on the counter-punch on the way back.”

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SYDNEY                           0.1     1.3     2.8     5.9     (39)
WESTERN BULLDOGS     3.2     6.3     7.4     10.7     (67)

 Papley 4, Kennedy
Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli 2, Dale, Naughton, Lloyd, Vandermeer, Bruce, West, Macrae, English

 Papley, Parker, Heeney, Kennedy, Lloyd
Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli, Smith, Macrae, English, Daniel, Crozier

 Naismith (knee)
Western Bulldogs: Naughton (ankle), Lloyd (shoulder)

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