Swans swat away Tigers by 48 points - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Swans swat away Tigers by 48 points

By Tom Wald 22/07/2006 11:29:25 PM Comments (0)

Rookie Swan Heath Grundy has proved there is plenty of life in the reigning premiers without the AFL services of Nick Davis.

The 20-year-old forward was a late inclusion and impressive on debut, booting three goals and grabbing seven marks, in Sydney's 48-point demolition of Richmond at the SCG.

The reigning premiers brushed aside the Tigers' (8-8 win-loss record) challenge with a five-goal-to-one third term before easing to a 14.17 (101) to 7.11 (53) victory to firm up their spot in the top eight.

It was a welcome performance for the Swans (9-7) who endured a tough week on the public relations front with the freezing out of colourful forward Davis proving unpopular with fans.

There was a "Save Davis" banner in the crowd as the premiership player kicked two goals in the reserves match against the Tuggeranong Hawks.

However his teammates, who have felt let down by Davis's perceived breach of team ethics, showed they have got their groove back after a run of one win in five matches.

However there was some pain for the Swans in the first minute of the fourth term with Richmond's Shane Tuck accidentally booting Sydney co-captain Brett Kirk in the side of the head.

The Tiger was kicking for goal and in his follow through cleaned up Kirk, who was trying to smother the kick.

Kirk was knocked out well before he hit the ground with the gutsy onballer flopping like a rag boll onto the turf.

But the resilient Kirk was back on his feet just seven minutes later, although he did not return to the playing field.

It was Grundy who was a surprising standout for the Swans with the 192cm, 92kg player having initially missed the draft and only been elevated off the rookie list this season.

Richmond spearhead Matthew Richardson had a dirty night, although the delivery to the big man wasn't great.

The Tigers started with him on the bench as Swans forward Ryan O'Keefe returned to his dangerous best with three goals in the opening half.

Barry Hall found some form in front of goals with two majors.

South Australian Grundy proved a thorn in the Tigers' defence all night, outmuscling Patrick Bowden for one major before setting up O'Keefe's third.

He then booted the Swans clear with two goals in the first seven minutes of the third term to set Sydney on the path to victory.

He slotted the first goal from a simple set shot after Richmond's Matthew White was caught for running too far out of defence.

The Norwood product then showed another side to his game by crumbing his third goal after having earlier set up a simple marking opportunity for Hall which squeezed out of the star forward's grasp.

Michael O'Loughlin then booted two goals before second-gamer Simon Phillips recorded his first league goal after roving the pack.

To top a fine night for the Swans, Ted Richards and Amon Buchanan showed off their brilliant soccer skills with the oval ball by combining for an impressive goal with their feet late in the clash.

Sydney plays Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium next weekend while the Tigers meet St Kilda at the MCG.

O'Loughlin, who was coming off four hours sleep on a hospital floor because of the birth of his daughter Taya, said the Swans had started to show some of the signs of the form that led them to last year's flag.

"Yeah it was sort of back to the Swans of old there a little bit," he said.

O'Loughlin has played a mentoring role to Grundy but apologised to the youngster after not being able to help him out after Grundy's elevation.

"Not a bad debut at all," O'Loughlin said.

"Heath just wants to learn all the time and was pretty unlucky not to get drafted straight out of the under 18s.

"He had to work his way to be where he is at today, he is one of those kids you just love being around, he just wants to know everything about playing league footy."

Sydney coach Paul Roos described Grundy's debut as outstanding.

"He handled it very well, the (good) supply from the midfield and the fact we were playing very well helped him," said Roos.

"I think he also took some pressure off the other forwards and took it off Mick (O'Loughlin), and (Barry) Hally and Ryan O'Keefe and the forward line functioned very well," he said.

Roos said Kirk had suffered a fat lip and bruising to his cheek after being on the wrong end of Tuck's boot in the last term.

Richmond coach Terry Wallace felt the Swans' physical approach and their better use of the football was too much for the Tigers.

"We came up short that is pure and simply where we are at," he said.

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