Sydney have kept its unbeaten start to the season intact, digging deep to edge Essendon by 3 points at the SCG on Thursday night.
The two sides are known for their fierce competition – with the Round 4 encounter the fifth of their past seven contests decided by 10 points or less and ruckman Tom Hickey said the game was a tough contest.
“This is a game where we’ve really had that arm wrestle, and we fought back and got the chocciess," Hickey said.
"The boys showed a lot of character, dug in and got the job done."
Newly re-signed wingman Nick Blakey believes the Swans gutsy display was a good test for the team following their successful start to the 2021 season.
“We will learn a lot out of that," Blakey said.
"It’s probably the first real close game and red time game that we’ve really had so we’ll learn a lot from it. It's good to come at this stage in the season, and be ready for it when it comes again.
"They had elite pressure that whole game, but our pressure has been through the roof as well and I think it showed on the scoreboard how close it was.”
The Swans didn’t get through unscathed however, with star forward Isaac Heeney facing time on the sidelines with a broken hand.
Head coach John Longmire activated his medical sub almost immediately following the incident, with James Bell coming into the contest.
Hickey said 22-year-old Bell was ready for the challenge when his moment came.
“Belly [James Bell] has been ready for a long time, his pre-season was incredible," Hickey said.
"He was really good, he brings a spark. Obviously Isaac [Heeney] is going to be missed if he’s gone for a little bit, but we’ve got guys coming through so it’s exciting for them.”
Blakey echoed Hickey's sentiments saying the depth at the club was valuable come such circumstances.
“We’ve got lots of boys playing really well in the reserves. One boy goes down and it gives an opportunity for another guy to step in and Belly came in and played his role perfectly.“ Blakey added.
The Swans now turn their focus towards Sydney Derby XX against GWS, with Blakey predicting another tight contest at the SCG.
“It’s always a close game when we play them, it’s always really hot around the contest. The Sydney Derby will be a good game that’s for sure.”
Be there LIVE as we face GWS at the the SCG in the Sydney Derby XX next Saturday April 17. Click here for tickets.