Sydney hold off brave Adelaide in AFL

·3-min read

Fast-starting Sydney held off a gallant Adelaide to continue their push for a top-four finish with a 33-point triumph at the SCG.

The Swans stormed to an eight-goal lead early in the second term but had to withstand a brave Crows comeback until steadying late to finish with a 17.16 (118) to 12.13 (85) victory on Saturday.

The Crows seemed to be stuck on Central Australia time as they allowed the Swans to kick 10 of the opening 12 goals before waking up to give the premiership fancies a second-half scare.

Small forward Ned McHenry had an opportunity to cut the margin to 15 points when the Crows had all the momentum in the third term as he sprinted toward an open goal with ball in hand, but Nick Blakey dived to smother the kick and rush it through for a behind.

Blakey's desperate effort helped turn the contest back in his team's favour although the Crows continued to fight hard through a final term that included a 70m goal to Taylor Walker (three goals) and a brilliant banana kick from Jake Soligo until the Swans settled it with the last two goals.

"We know he can run and carry with the ball in hand but the defensive aspect of his game today, particularly late, was really important to us, " Swans coach John Longmire said of Blakey.

The in-form Swans (12-6) have now won three consecutive matches for just the second time this season and with a favourable run home are well-placed to claim a double chance in the finals.

Co-captains Luke Parker (29 disposals) and Callum Mills (27, one goal) joined young gun Chad Warner (25, one goal) to ensure the Swans had too much midfield firepower, while Dylan Stephens (25, one goal) had arguably his best game at senior level.

Lance Franklin booted three majors to reach 1033 career goals and pass Gary Ablett Snr as fifth on the list of all-time leading goalkickers in VFL/AFL history, while Will Hayward also finished with three.

Rory Laird (game-high 38 disposals, one goal) and the emerging Sam Berry (24 touches, 14 tackles, two goals) battled hard around the stoppages but the Crows were often found wanting once the ball got on the outside.

Adelaide's ball movement was partly restricted by Swans stopper Ryan Clarke limiting the influence of Jordan Dawson who was playing against his former club for the first time.

"We knew they'd come for him, that's the Sydney way. They're competitive, they won't let you get an easy one," Crows coach Matthew Nicks said.

"Jordy knew it was coming. He spent enough time at Sydney and understands the culture."

The Crows lost Shane McAdam in the first term after the high-flying forward bravely attacked the ball in the air but received a heavy knock on the thigh that forced him to be subbed out of the match.

Despite the better performance after quarter-time, the struggling Crows (5-13) have lost four in a row and are all but set for a third consecutive bottom-four finish.

They face another tough test against a top-four contender when they meet Carlton at home next Saturday night.

Sydney have won their past five matches on home turf by an average of 35 points and will look to extend that streak when they clash with crosstown rivals GWS at the SCG on Saturday.

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