Sydney fans turned out in the hope of watching Lance Franklin get his 1,000th AFL goal but it was another Swans champion, Luke Parker, who starred with five goals in their 20-point win over GWS.
Franklin, who started the game on 995 goals, added just one in the second quarter and was well held by Phil Davis.
Sydney kicked seven straight goals either side of three-quarter time to break open a previously close game, with the visitors winning 17.10 (112) to 13.14 (92) in front of 25,572 spectators.
Parker ignited the Swans’ second-half charge with four majors and it was his second five-goal haul of a 236-game career, equaling his effort against Geelong at the same venue in 2015.
With fellow midfielders Oliver Florent and Isaac Heeney each kicking three goals and Hayden McLean two, Sydney won comfortably despite a quite game from Franklin, who notched eight touches, three marks and two score assists.
Franklin brought up goal 996 in the second quarter when he split the big sticks after GWS key defender Sam Taylor gave away a free kick.
Parker kicked three of his four goals in the third quarter, which ended with Sydney leading by six points.
He added another early in the fourth and then handballed to Heeney for his second goal, with a third coming soon after as Sydney finished over the top of the Giants.
The first half was a wildly entertaining shootout, GWS kicking 10 goals to nine to lead by nine points at half-time.
Sydney booted three of the first four goals to lead by 12, but the Giants slammed on the last flour of the term to lead by 15 at quarter-time.
Daniel Lloyd kicked two trademark long distance goals and Harry Himmelberg also bagged an opening-quarter double on his way to a team-high three majors.
Up against this old nemesis in Davis, Franklin made a subdued start to the game, not logging a possession in the first quarter.
Tom Green was one of the Giants’ best earning 31 touches, eight clearances and two goals.
Lions finish strong to beat Port in scrappy affair
Brisbane have overcome sloppy skills and one calamitous Joe Daniher blooper in a comeback 11.14 (80) to 10.9 (69) AFL home win over Port Adelaide on Saturday night.
The Power led by 24 points late in the third quarter before the Lions finally found their groove with a five-goals-to-one final term, Lachie Neale leading the charge after Marcus Adams had earlier kept the hosts in the game.
Daniher finished with four goals but produced a forgettable moment on half-time, handballing after taking a huge mark at the top of the goal square just before the buzzer sounded.
It cost the Lions the half-time lead and, after a sloppy half from both sides, Port skipped away with three goals to begin the third, Dan Houston, Travis Boak (32 touches) and Ollie Wines (29) slowly taking control.
But the Lions lifted late in the third quarter, with Neale (31 disposals), Nakia Cockatoo, Lincoln McCarthy (two goals) and Noah Answerth playing a crucial part in the recovery.
Their ball movement returned just in time, Daniher kicking his third and fourth goals before McCarthy, Oscar McInerney and Charlie Cameron kicked truly.
Houston (36 touches, two goals, 10 inside 50s) was arguably best on ground, launching from outside 50m and hitting the post with 90 seconds to play and his side down by 10.
Travis Boak (32 keys) and Ollie Wines (29) were also influential for the visitors.
Port lost Xavier Duursma (collarbone) in the first quarter following a collision with Mitch Robinson in which the Lion was reported.
Brisbane captain Dayne Zorko, playing off half-back, was substituted at three-quarter time with an apparent lower leg injury while Jarrod Berry also came off late with what seemed a shoulder injury.
With scores level midway through the final term, Port’s Trent McKenzie landed awkwardly and badly jarred his knee and had to be wheeled off the Gabba in the buggy.
Brisbane had new face Darcy Fort to thank for their early lead, the Geelong pick-up booting both their first-quarter goals in a perfect introduction in front of 25,100 fans.
Free-flowing Cats obliterate disappointing Dons
Reports of Geelong’s demise have been greatly exaggerated with the Cats opening their 2022 AFL campaign by obliterating a disappointing Essendon.
Veteran Cats stars Patrick Dangerfield and Tom Hawkins blew the hyped Bombers off the MCG in blistering fashion on Saturday to win by 66 points.
Dangerfield ran riot with 22 disposals and nine inside-50s before half-time, while Hawkins caused all sorts of problems for the Bombers’ defense on his way to kicking four goals and setting up numerous others.
After being written off as too old and too slow ahead of this season, the Cats smashed Essendon in the midfield on their way to a 20.18 (138) to 11.6 (72) victory.
The shell-shocked Bombers conceded seven first-quarter goals and trailed by 60 points at half-time.
Essendon fought harder in the second-half but the damage was already done with a meek early effort against their hardened opponents.
It was a brutal reality check for a team supposedly on the rise after surprisingly surging into an elimination final last year.
Geelong could barely have been more impressive following an off-season of upheaval after their embarrassing preliminary final exit to Melbourne last year.
Crucial to the Cats’ resurgence was an extraordinary game from Tyson Stengle in his first game for his third club.
Sacked by Adelaide for a string of off-field indiscretions last year, Stengle booted four goals in an electric performance first-up for Geelong.
Now under the tutelage of legendary AFL small forward Eddie Betts, the 23-year-old Stengle is set to be an important member of the aging Geelong team.
The Cats’ perfect outing was ruined by star forward Jeremy Cameron being subbed out of the match, with the club saying he hurt his hip.
But Cameron was taken to hospital midway through the final quarter, indicating a possible broken rib.
Cameron, who kicked two early goals, collided with Bombers defender Jayden Laverde during the first quarter and both players pulled up sore.
Laverde was able to come back on the ground, but Bombers teammate Kyle Langford’s day ended early after suffering a hamstring injury.
On a dirty day for the Bombers, ruckman Sam Draper faces a nervous wait to learn if he is cited by the match review officer after appearing to strike Geelong big man Esava Ratugolea.
But the undoubted shining light for Essendon was the debut of Nic Martin, who was comfortably the Bombers’ best player with five goals and 27 touches.