Swans young gun Will Hayward had only played one Sydney Derby before the side’s 16-point win over the Giants at the SCG on Saturday night.
But he said post-match “they’re always a really hot contest” and was thrilled with the win.
“It’s unbelievable to be in the winning sheds after a rough loss last week,” Hayward said.
“To bounce back against the Giants is a great feeling. I think the Sydney Derby is growing and growing, so credit to the boys tonight for a great win.”
The intensity of the midfield battle generated a lot of media attention in the lead-up to Sydney Derby XIV and the clash of the on-ballers didn’t disappoint.
Swans skipper Josh Kennedy and vice-captains Luke Parker and Dan Hannebery were set to come to a head with Giants captain Callan Ward and fellow midfielders Dylan Shiel and Lachie Whitfield.
Kennedy (25), Hannebery (23), Ward (24) and Shiel (23) all racked up 20-plus disposals on Saturday, while Sydney pipped GWS 362-360 in the disposal count and the Giants edged the Swans 142-141 in contested possessions.
The match-up of the Giants’ forwards and Swans’ defenders was to make for a mouth-watering contest of its own as Sydney (159) conceded the least amount of goals in 2017 and GWS ranked second behind Adelaide for most goals kicked.
Hayward said Sydney’s second-half grit saw the Swans through.
“I put the win down to our determination,” Hayward said.
“We didn’t drop off after half-time like we did against Port. We kept our intensity up and GWS are a high-pressure side and they really showed that, but we held our own and reacted well and got the four points.
“The coach’s message at half-time was the Giants would come out and be firing, so we would need to match that and hold our own and play our brand of football.”
Defender Callum Mills took out the Brett Kirk Medal for best on ground and Hayward said his influence was immense.
“He was a brick wall and didn’t let anything through,” Hayward said.
“He’s a really important player for us and tonight he really highlighted that.”