Sydney upset Giants, surge to maiden AFLW victory

Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS

Sydney have made the best possible start to their 2023 campaign with a five-point win over GWS giving the Swans a maiden AFLW victory.

Winless in their inaugural season in 2022, the Swans showed a vast improvement to post a 7.9 (51) to 7.4 (46) upset at North Sydney Oval on Sunday.

In front of a sea of red and white, the plucky Swans shot down GWS after the Giants looked home as they picked apart the Swans' poor ball movement.

"This really hurts tonight," Giants coach Cam Bernasconi said.

"It's a game we really wanted to win and we had our opportunities to win it.

"In just crucial moments, we made some poor decisions and opened the door."

The Giants' Alyce Parker (22 disposals, 5 clearances) kicked the opening goal after an ill-kicked ball from first-year Swans co-skipper Lucy McEvoy (16 disposals) bounced off teammate Cynthia Hamilton (11) into the hands of Giants midfielder Jess Doyle.

Nicola Barr (12 disposals) brought the Giants their second major on the run with her non-preferred left foot in the opening minutes of the second quarter.

And just when it looked like the Swans could get on terms with a goal from Ally Morphett (one goal, 18 disposals), midfielder Rebecca Beeson (one goal, 13 disposals) provided an instant reply to increase the Giants' margin.

A third-quarter surge by GWS, thanks to goals by Madison Brazendale (one goal), Georgia Garnett (two) and Haneen Zreika (one), brought the gap to a game-high 25-point lead.

But it was former Collingwood players Aliesha Newman (one goal, 8 disposals) and Chloe Molloy (two goals, 13 disposals) who kept the Swans chances alive, booting one major each in the third stanza.

Rebecca Privitelli (two goals, 13 disposals) and another major by Molloy all but sealed the victory for the Swans.

"That's the standard for us now. We have to play like that every week," Privitelli told AAP.

"Coming out here today and winning the first game is a really important step.

"It's not about just getting the first win. It's what comes next after this and making sure we keep belief."

The Giants will no doubt walk away disappointed from the contest, having looked to put away the Swans following comments from coach Scott Gowans.

"(GWS have) got a bit of work to do … we know we're on the right path and it's really important for us to realise that we're not coming up against a side that's performed really well," Swans coach Gowans said on Wednesday.

"No disrespect to them but they're the least performing side in the inaugural clubs. We think we'll get there quicker than them."

GWS face an even bigger challenge next weekend, going head-to-head against defending premiers Melbourne at Manuka Oval.

The Swans return to North Sydney Oval to take on Geelong.