A promising performance by fit-again ruckman Darcy Cameron has given the Sydney Swans a major boost on the cusp of their finals campaign.
While Sydney faded late to lose to the Brisbane Lions by 37 points at Tramway Oval on Saturday, 24-year-old Cameron showed encouraging signs in the last round of the regular season.
The Western Australian, who last week returned for his first match since June 9, was one of the Swans’ best on his way to 21 disposals, eight marks, 20 hit-outs and a goal in the 19.13 (127) to 14.6 (90) defeat.
Sydney development coach Lloyd Perris spoke glowingly of Cameron.
“We’re really, really pleased with Darcy Cameron’s performance. He’s a very physical presence and today he definitely gave us first use out of the middle. There was a clear difference when he was in there,” Perris said post-match.
“There was a period of the game in the last quarter where he was in the ruck and he really made sure we got the ball going forward from the centre. He was a really physical presence in the air and on the ground, so we’re really rapt with his efforts.”
In further exciting news, ruckman Sam Naismith emerged from Saturday’s game unscathed in his first outing since July 28.
The 27-year-old took on limited minutes and finished the match with five disposals and 16 hit-outs.
Meanwhile, midfielder James Rose gathered a match-high 35 possessions, as well as seven marks and five tackles in a stellar showing.
Perris had high praise for the South Australian.
“James Rose was really good. He’s a very explosive player. Some of his work in and around the contest was elite. He’s got quick feet and he was able to win a lot of clearances for us,” Perris said.
“We’re really happy with the work he put in away from the footy as well. His spread was really good and we know his ball use is always elite. He really competed hard and the boys looked to him as a leader of the team.”
Sydney led at quarter-time and half-time and took a two-point buffer into the final change, before the Lions raced to 10 fourth-quarter goals to the Swans’ four.
But Perris gave his side a big tick despite the last-term drop-off.
“We were really pleased with the effort for just over three quarters,” Perris said.
“Brisbane’s such a strong side and have very few injuries, so it was just really hard to keep up with them for so long.
“There are definitely positives there and you never know what can happens in finals footy.”
Brisbane Lions 3.1 7.5 9.9 19.13 (127)
Sydney Swans 6.3 8.3 10.5 14.6 (90)
Goals – Sydney: H McLean 3, K Martin 3, S Close 2, M Rossman 2, S Thorne 2, D Cameron, S Gaden