‘Sydney Slingers’ send slick statement; alarm bells as ‘tired’ Pies ‘cut to bits’: 3-2-1

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AFL: Sydney Swan Errol Gulden managed an unlikely feat in the first half against the Collingwood Magpies, hitting the sky cam with a bomb into the forward 50.

Sydney’s imposing start to 2024 — and Collingwood’s shaky premiership defence — has continued, with the young Swans blitzing the Magpies on a record-breaking night.

Nick Daicos had 37 disposals, but the fact Collingwood had 27 points kicked against it was concerning. “But at the end of the day, this is what it’s all about and the line will be put under season 2023 after tonight.” For all the Swans’ territory dominance, they couldn’t make it count on the scoreboard, while Jordan De Goey nailed a classy goal from a stoppage to give the Pies an eight-point lead.

Sydney then upped its output significantly, unleashing slick, speedy ball movement that caught Collingwood off-guard. And when Chad Warner converted a set-shot inside 50 halfway through he second term, the Swans had a 30-point lead off the back of six unanswered goals. “Too many Collingwood players are ball-watching. They’re not understanding who and where are they around them. First check your man and then you’re able to reference where the ball is.”

Some pundits tipped the Swans to finish in the top four – Jack Riewoldt reckoned they’d win the flag – while others, including Montagna, thought they’d slide down the ladder. They applied relentless pressure across the entire ground, forcing Collingwood into uncharacteristic turnovers in their defensive half. Importantly, the Swans then made the most of their opportunities off Magpies turnovers, showing off slick and explosive ball movement and transition.

The caveat is those defeats have come against two high-quality teams – who could be premiership contenders this season. Collingwood conceded 78 points off turnover — after averaging only 40 per game last year and being ranked No.1 in that category in 2023.“They’ve been defending for most of that second quarter, but if you are a forward and don’t chase your defender out, you are costing yourselves and not helping your defence.

It’s only a small sample size, but the early data suggests the Pies might’ve stood still while their hungrier contemporaries have flown past them.And while he’ll never be able to replace the retired superstar, he’s giving himself every chance to thrive as the Swans’ new No. 1 man inside 50.

 

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