Sydney Swans development coach Lloyd Perris has lauded a “classic Kieren Jack performance” after his charges powered to a 52-point practice-match win over the Canberra Demons on Saturday afternoon.
The former co-captain played his first match of the year after a pre-season hampered by a knee injury, and Perris praised the 31-year-old’s attack on the footy in the 17.9 (111) to 8.11 (59) victory at Waratah Oval in Sutherland.
First-year draftee James Rowbottom, 25-year-old Robbie Fox and small forward Ben Ronke also made significant contributions on the inside of the midfield contest, but it was Jack who paved the way in Sydney’s second of three practice matches.
“Kieren played 60 minutes and he was really good. It was a classic Kieren Jack performance,” Perris told Swans Media.
“His pressure around the ball and his hit, the trademark of his game, was there for the 60 minutes he played.
“He’ll be much better for the hit-out after an injury-interrupted pre-season.”
Rowbottom was assigned to the centre circle from the first bounce of the game and maintained a high standard all day, winning plenty of footy in space and particularly impressing at the stoppages.
The Oakleigh Chargers product joined names like Josh Kennedy and Luke Parker at the coalface of the contest in Sydney’s two JLT Community Series fixtures, and Perris underlined Saturday’s game as another chance for the hard-at-it midfielder to take notes on one of the best.
“He’d be learning a fair bit off Kieren,” Perris said.
“For him it’s about playing big midfield minutes and doing what he does best, which is winning the inside ball and being a real competitor in there. And to learn off someone like Kieren, who’s done that for 10 years or so, is a great learning experience. He’ll continue to learn off Kieren and James has been really proactive in that area: in asking questions, learning and developing.”
Recruit Jackson Thurlow and rising backman Colin O’Riordan provided smart decisions and a wealth of drive from defence, while wingmen James Bell and Zac Foot found a stack of the footy and troubled the opposition with their speed.
Second-year Swan Ryley Stoddart again showed he’s a player of outstanding versatility, with the 19-year-old influential in defence, dangerous on a wing and booting two goals when rotating through the forward line.
Darcy Cameron’s return from injury gave towering recruit Hayden McLean a chance to spend plenty of time in the forward line, although McLean – who last week played as the Swans’ primary ruckman just days after arriving at the club – also impacted in the ruck.
A total of 10 Swans combined for the 17 goals and Rowbottom, Ronke, Stoddart, James Rose, James Bell, Sam Wicks and John Pawle all snared doubles.
After taking an 11-point buffer into quarter-time, Sydney set up victory via a five-goal-to-zero second term and continued to apply the pressure in the third stanza.
In one of the most exciting periods of the game, Wicks crumbed and goaled deep inside 50 in the third term before Foot produced a carbon-copy goal just a minute later.
Perris was rapt with the high number of goal-kickers on the scoresheet.
“It was a really even spread,” Perris said.
“The boys really shared the load, which is really pleasing and exactly what you want as a coach.”
The Swans sailed to victory to the cheers of an eager crowd, and Perris tipped his hat to those who showed their support.
“It was a good reception down here in the Shire,” Lloyd said.
“We had a lot of love from the Shire community, which is really good.”
Sydney Swans 5.2 10.5 13.8 17.9 (111)
Canberra Demons 3.3 3.5 6.7 8.11 (59)
Goals – Sydney: J Bell 2, B Ronke 2, J Rose 2, J Rowbottom 2, R Stoddart 2, J Pawle 2, S Wicks 2, Z Foot, T McCartin, J Rayner