Essendon brought its edge but, in the end, it was Sydney that flexed its muscle with a 30-point victory in a fiery clash at the SCG.

The Swans were two goals and a man down within the opening few minutes, but slowly reeled in the Bombers then ran away late for a 19.17 (131) to 15.11 (101) triumph on Saturday night.

Peter Wright sparked the fireworks early with the Bombers’ spearhead making high contact with Cunningham with the Swans’ defender taken from the field on a stretcher before being subbed out of the match in the first term.

Spot fires continued to break out across the first half, with combative rucks Brodie Grundy and Sam Draper each giving away an unnecessary free kick that led to an opposition goal in the second term.

The Swans eventually settled, and with their turnover and transition game in full flow, were able to wear down the Bombers before piling on late goals to stretch the margin.


Zach Merrett was crucial for the Bombers throughout with 32 disposals and helped them stay in the contest with two final-term goals, while Jake Stringer (three goals) also hit the scoreboard late and Jade Gresham (three) showed his class.

Wright, brushed aside the boos from the SCG faithful to finish with two goals.

It was a Bombers blitz from the opening bounce as Merrett set up two goals in the opening three minutes with precision kicking inside 50.

The Essendon skipper received the first hit-out of the match from Draper and quickly found Jade Gresham, while Merrett’s next touch picked out Nik Cox closer to goal to seal the fast start.

The Swans got the game back on their own terms with blistering ball movement and booted the next three majors to snatch the lead at the first change.

It was a see-sawing contest from there with the lead changing six times until the Swans pulled away late to extend their red-hot start to the season with a third straight victory.

SYDNEY        4.4    8.9    13.13    19.17 (131)
ESSENDON   4.1    8.5     10.8     15.11 (101)

Sydney: Papley 4, Hayward 3, McLean 2, Ch.Warner 2, Gulden 2, Amartey 2, McDonald, Heeney, Blakey, Jordon
Essendon: Gresham 3, Stringer 3, Wright 2, Merrett 2, Langford 2, Goldstein, Draper, Cox

Sydney: Papley, Heeney, Gulden, Warner, Florent, Grundy, Blakey
Essendon: Merrett, Setterfield, Martin, Gresham, Caldwell, Durham 

Sydney: Cunningham (head knock)
Essendon: Nil

Sydney: Nil
Essendon: Jake Kelly (illness) replaced in selected side by Alwyn Davey jnr 

Sydney: Corey Warner (replaced Harry Cunningham in the first quarter)
Essendon: Alwyn Davey jnr (replaced Sam Draper in the fourth quarter)

Crowd: TBC at the SCG