The VFL Sydney Swans have kicked-off their 2021 season with a 26-point victory over the GWS Giants at Lakeside Oval.
Colin O'Riordan starred with 31 disposals, while Lewis Taylor (31 disposals and one goal), Ryan Clarke (30 disposals) and James Bell (23 disposals and two goals) starred while Harry Morrison and Hayden McLean also impressed with three goals each.
The Swans raced out to an early three-goal lead thanks to majors from Taylor and Morrison in a relentless opening raid, but the Giants held strong to claw their way back and earn a one-point lead at the first break.
Bell then took it upon himself to ignite Bloods with a handful of classy touches, while Marc Sheather and James Rowbottom applied plenty of pressure around the contest to help claim a comfortable 28-point advantage at half-time.
Adam Gulden produced a fine captain's display with 15 disposals, while two goals from Darcy Cordell in the third quarter ensured the Swans would keep their lead heading into the final term.
Sydney 15.6.96 (Goals: H.McLean 3, H.Morrison 3, J.Bell 2, D.Cordell, J.Amartey, M.Sheather, C.Sinclair, L.Taylor, S.Thorne) def. Giants 10.10.70 (Goals: J.Hogan 3, Z.Sproule 3, T.Bruhn 2, F.Kelly, R.Pollock) at Lakeside Oval.
FT' Siren sounds and the Swans claim a 26-point victory to start their VFL season. Sydney 15.6.96 def GWS 10.10.70.
27' Ball out the back of the contest close to the goal square and Thorne is there to push the lead out to 26 with his first of the afternoon.
24' Rowbottom scoops up a loose ball, drills one inside 50 and Gulden handballs to Morrison who kicks his third of the afternoon!
20' Swans continue to bring the pressure as Kelly kicks a behind for the opposition. Swans still holding a 20 point lead.
5' McLean kicks his third of the afternoon to extend the lead
0' Final quarter is underway!
Score update: Swans 12.5.77 Giants 8.9.57
3/4 time: We have a 20-point lead heading into the final quarter!
Bell having a cracking game with 21 disposals and two goals, while Clarke continuing to impress with 25 touches.
30' McLean gets another to take a four-goal lead with just minutes remaining in the third term.
21' Darcy Cordell ignites the Bloods with his second goal of the quarter, courtesy of a brilliant kick from captain Adam Gulden.
Sam Gray will take no further part in this match as he has been named as the emergency substitute for Sydney Derby XX.
10' The Giants claw their way back with a couple of goals after half-time.
Ryan Clarke (21), Colin O'Riordan (19), Sam Gray (18), James Bell (17) amongst the most disposals.
0' Second-half underway!
Score update: Swans 9.4.58 Giants 4.6.30
HALF-TIME: A strong half comes to a close with Hayden Mclean kicking one right on the siren!
Morrison (2), Bell (2), Taylor, Amartey, Sinclair, Sheather, McLean the goal-scorers while Ryan Clarke, Sam Thorne, and James Rowbottom are seeing plenty of the footy.
26' Marc Sheather nails another to take a four-goal lead with the half-time siren drawing near.
17' James Bell has been everywhere and he snags a goal to help earn a three-goal lead for the Bloods.
10' Sinclair kicks a well-deserved goal to give the Swans a healthy buffer after trailing at 1/4 time.
3' We hit the front through Joel Amartey off the back of a strong contest in the air from Hayden McLean.
0' We're back! Keep going Swans!
Score update: Swans 3.2.20 Giants 3.3.21
1/4 time: The Giants fight back and earn a slight lead at the first break.
23' The Giants kick back-to-back goals in quick succession to cut the deficit to five. Not long remaining in the first quarter.
15' Morrison nails another! Our dominant start to the game continues.
11' The Swans remain in control with a handy two-goal lead.
4' Harry Morrison extends our lead with a beautiful set shot from 50m.
2' BANG! Lewis Taylor gets our first goal of the afternoon thanks to a classy touch from Callum Sinclair.
0' We're underway! Let's go Sydney!
Coach Jeremy Laidler has named a strong line-up for Round 1, with some familiar names set to don the red and white.
Gun midfielder James Rowbottom returns from injury, while Kaiden Brand, Ryan Clarke, and Callum Sinclair will provide a wealth of experience in the first game of the new-look campaign.
The squad also boasts plenty of QBE Sydney Swans Academy products, including Jake Bartholomaeus and Darcey Cordell, while Adam Gulden has been named captain of the side.