Heeney, Warner star as Swans crush Blues at SCG

Justin Chadwick and Adrian Warren |

Sydney have come from behind to crush Carlton, with Isaac Heeney again pushing his Brownlow claims.
Sydney have come from behind to crush Carlton, with Isaac Heeney again pushing his Brownlow claims.

Sydney have soared two wins clear on top of the AFL ladder but were left with several concerns after crushing Carlton by 52 points at a heaving SCG.

The Blues exploded out of the blocks on Friday night to lead 27-1 midway through the opening term.

But it was all pain from that point on as Sydney piled on 14 of the next 16 goals to soar to the 17.15 (117) to 9.11 (65) victory in front of 44,047 fans.

The third quarter was particularly brutal as Sydney dominated the centre clearances 7-1 on the way to posting seven goals to two.

The result lifted Sydney two wins clear of second-placed Geelong, and marks the first time since 1945 the club has won nine of its first 10 matches.

Even if third-placed Essendon beat North Melbourne as expected on Sunday, the Swans will still be one and a half wins clear on top.

But Sydney were left with several concerns. 

Robbie Fox was subbed out in the third term after appearing to dislocate his right shoulder when he was bowled over by a sliding Jordan Boyd.

And the Swans will also be sweating on what the match review officer makes of Chad Warner’s high fend-off that struck Carlton ruckman Marc Pittonet flush in the face with a forearm/elbow.

Warner was a standout with three goals and 28 disposals. 

Star midfielder Isaac Heeney, who kicked three goals from 24 disposals in another hot display, was left hobbling after injuring his ankle late in the match. 

Sydney coach John Longmire said Heeney just copped a knock and should be OK.

Warner had 561m gained to his name by the end of the night, with his ability to sidestep and fend off opponents also a highlight.

“He was really damaging,” Longmire said. 

“He’s able to break the lines and get out of traffic so quickly, and he goes from inside to outside really fast.”

Nic Newman racked up 32 disposals for Carlton, but Sam Walsh (20 possessions) struggled for influence after being tagged by James Jordon.

Star Blues defender Jacob Weitering was subbed out at halftime after struggling through a corked quad he suffered in the opening term.

The result marks a big wake-up call for injury-hit Carlton (6-4), who were clearly out of their depth for the bulk of the match against Sydney.

“I just felt like we lacked any drive through the middle part of the ground,” Carlton coach Michael Voss said. 

“When you lack that drive and being able to own territory then the guys up front are always going to struggle a little bit.

“It was pretty clear in terms of the game that it just wasn’t us, it just wasn’t our identity, we just didn’t bring what we’ve brought to these contests over the course of the last 12 months and we fell well and truly short.”

Carlton kicked the first four goals of the match, but their hot start quickly evaporated as Heeney and Warner got to work, reducing the deficit to nine points by quarter-time. 

Sydney kicked four goals to nil in a dominant second term, with Curnow sent back late in the half to help stem the bleeding.

Curnow kicked the opening goal of the third quarter to reduce the margin to nine points.

But Sydney promptly shut the door on any Carlton comeback, producing a centre-square masterclass to kick the next seven goals and extend the lead to 52 points.