Without their Bondi Billionaires, a gutsy Sydney turned Port Adelaide into AFL paupers on Thursday night with a stirring 10-point AFL home win over the Power at the SCG.
Missing suspended forwards Lance Franklin and Kurt Tippett, Sydney lost Gary Rohan and Ted Richards to injury during the game, but rallied to score a 14.10 (94) to 12.12 (84) victory.
Adam Goodes and Sam Reid stepped up in the absence of the two strike forwards, each kicking 3.1.
The win lifted Sydney to 10-3 and second spot, but Port slipped to 5-8 and at least two wins out of the eight, with their finals’ hopes looking slim.
Port held a one-point lead on several occasions, but Sydney made a decisive third-quarter surge when they looked to be at their lowest ebb.
The game was held up for several minutes when Richards was taken off on a stretcher in the third quarter, having been knocked out after hitting the ground head first following a bump by Jay Schulz.
It looked a fair challenge by the Port forward as neither the Sydney crowd nor any of the Swans’ players vented any displeasure at Schulz.
The setback seemed to spur Sydney, who had conceded the first two goals of the third quarter to let an 11-point halftime lead slip.
They poured on the next four goals and 27 points either side of the last change, with Kieren Jack and Dan Hannebery adding majors to a third-quarter brace from Goodes.
It was the 35-year-old Goodes who lifted the Swans with a sizzling burst out of centre field and a kick from almost 50 metres for the goal of the game.
Port booted four goals to two in the last term, but couldn’t get the deficit down to single figures.
The Swans suffered a big blow in the second quarter when injury-prone Rohan, who was playing well, limped off with what appeared to be a hamstring problem.
Sydney held an early 24-13 lead following two goals from Josh Kennedy, who finished with 33 possessions and 11 clearances, but Port fought back to level by quarter-time.
The Swans dominated the early stages of the second quarter with Reid kicking two goals and debutant Toby Nankervis one and were up by 11 at the long break.
Chad Wingard kicked three goals for Port and lively forward Robbie Gray racked up 32 touches.
Port suffered a blow before the game when Jackson Trengrove withdrew after falling ill and was replaced by Paul Stewart.