Sydney could make some excuses going into this match against Gold Coast: missing spearhead Lance Franklin, fresh off a bag of five goals against the Giants last week, and mainstay defender Dane Rampe at the other end. But, on the end of a 40-point belting by the Suns, a few home truths need to be told.
The Swans have been one of the brightest early season stories, with four straight wins to open their account. But after giving up what should have been a winning lead to the scrapping Giants in the dying minutes of last weeks game, they should have been champing at the bit to have at the Suns at Metricon.
But it was the Suns who brought the heat. They were harder at the coalface, despite giving up a 20-75 deficit in ruck hit-outs, and were far more efficient going into attack, taking 15 marks inside 50 to eight. Emerging key forward Ben King was the biggest beneficiary kicking five goals, his biggest haul to date, and seemingly getting taller the longer the match progressed.
To be fair to the Swans, they also sustained casualties early, losing George Hewett to concussion in the first quarter, and Nick Blakey took a heavy knock that saw him gingerly return to the field with a strapped thigh. He played out the game, but was obviously restricted and was barely able to contribute thereafter.
Swans coach John Longmire lamented after the game that we had more inside 50s, but our execution with ball in hand versus theirs was at two different levels. More tellingly, he said, Its off the back of hardness, and competing. You look at what we were doing earlier in the year, it was off the back of hardness and competing Your skills follow on from that.
Touk Miller, who brought his own Sherrin in the first quarter, got the Suns going early, setting up Josh Corbett for the first goal. Rankine was also heavily involved, first cutting through traffic at half-forward then delivering to Ben Kings advantage, and hitting Ben Ainsworth with another perfect kick for the Suns third.
Ben King kicked five goals for the Suns.Credit:Getty Images
The Swans hung tough early, but with the loss of Hewett and Blakey hobbling, faced an uphill struggle. They also hurt themselves through poor delivery into the forward line, where they struggled to find a target in the absence of Franklin and the omitted Logan McDonald.
In the second quarter, the Suns combination of pressure and cleaner ball use began to be reflected on the scoreboard. King kicked his second from a marking contest as two Swans spoiled each other, and Rankine was involved again, kicking two goals at the fall of the ball to complement his two assists, the Suns taking a five-goal lead.

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