Sydney gave Adam Goodes something to smile about at the end of a tumultuous week with a 52-point home win over Adelaide on Saturday at the SCG.
Coming off successive thrashings by Hawthorn and West Coast – and without Goodes, who is on indefinite leave after persistent vilification by opposing fans – Sydney powered their way to a 17.15 (117) to 9.11 (65) victory.
The win – witnessed by 38,690 spectators, Sydney’s highest home crowd of the season – moves the Swans above Richmond back into fourth spot.
Lance Franklin and Kurt Tippett, who was playing against his former club for the first time, each kicked three first-half goals as Sydney produced their highest-scoring first quarter and half of the season.
They had 6.2 on the board by quarter-time and 11.5 at halftime to establish leads of 24 and 43 points at the first two breaks.
Adelaide pulled the deficit back to 37 at the last change, but Sydney kicked four goals to two in the final quarter.
Sydney’s win was set up by much-improved performances from their key midfielders, who racked up plenty of possessions and goals after lacklustre form in the two previous games.
Dan Hannebery (40 possessions, three goals), Luke Parker (30 and two) and Josh Kennedy (32 and two) were among six Sydney players to tally 30 or more touches.
Tom Lynch kicked three goals for Adelaide with Josh Jenkins and Taylor Walker adding two each.
The Crows secured more uncontested possessions but 128 fewer disposals and lacked the penetration in midfield and efficiency up forward to trouble Sydney.
Lewis Jetta started the Sydney bandwagon rolling with a goal in the first minute and promptly produced a celebratory dance.
While Goodes was nowhere to be seen, there were plenty of tributes to him before and during the game, including the Swans’ supporters rising for a standing ovation at the seven-minute mark of the third quarter to honour his No.37 guernsey.