Sydney fullback Ted Richards kicked his first SCG goal in almost seven years, as the Swans veterans stood tall in a 39-point home win over West Coast on Saturday.
The Swans moved to 4-1 for the season, kicking the last six goals to run out 12.16 (88) to 7.7 (49) winners
The Eagles, now 3-2, were outscored 7.10 to 3.4 after halftime and mustered just four behinds in the final quarter.
They have failed to win any of their past five away matches stretching back to last season.
Richards, the oldest player on the Swans list at 33, kicked a morale boosting 51 metre goal, took 10 marks and tallied 22 touches in a best on ground performance.
The Swans next two oldest players, co-captain Jarrad McVeigh 31 and Ben McGlynn 30, were both prominent in Sydney’s decisive third quarter surge.
Like Richards, they started the season late due to injury, but on Saturday they kicked three straight goals between them, as Sydney regained the lead which they never subsequently relinquished.
Swans coach John Longmire was thrilled with his team’s effort especially after losing defender Jeremy Laidler to concussion in the first half.
“A combination of our older, experienced, leader players were fantastic and our younger kids really stood up as well,” Longmire said.
Opposing coach Adam Simpson acknowledged the influence of those Swans players on the outcome.
“We did leave it up to too few today and I thought Sydney’s leaders stood up when it really mattered and we probably could learn some lessons from that,” Simpson said.
Richards hadn’t kicked a goal since an Anzac round game three years ago in New Zealand and his last major on Australian soil was at the MCG in 2010.
“When I walked out the door I said to my son, it was his first game, he was four months old, I said I’d kick a goal for him,” Richards said.
“My wife laughed and it turns out I did.
“Deep down I knew there may not be another one.”
Richards, Heath Grundy, Dane Rampe and Callum Mills were all good as the Swans quelled the usually free-scoring Eagles.
The Eagles couldn’t capitalise on a promising start. Matt Priddis racked up 12 touches as the visitors eked out a six-point lead by the first break.
As the heavens opened in the second quarter, Sydney warmed to their task in pouring rain.
They led by nine at halftime and a Lance Franklin goal early in the third term blew their lead out to 16.
Three goals in four minutes wrested the lead back for the Eagles, but that was their last flurry.
Sydney’s relentless pressure forced turnovers, as the home team opened up a 21-point buffer at the last change.
Midfielders Dan Hannebery, Luke Parker and Josh Kennedy excelled for Sydney, while defender Jeremy McGovern was outstanding for the Eagles.
In an unfortunate incident before the game, a parachutist from the Navy’s Red Berets was taken to hospital with a suspected broken pelvis after landing awkwardly in the centre square at the SCG.