Fightback falls short
Sydney Swans 4.4 9.7 11.9 14.10 (94)
Fremantle 2.2 3.3 9.4 12.9 (81)
Sydney Swans: Kennedy, McVeigh, Johnson, Roberts-Thomson, Reid, Bird
Fremantle: Sandilands, Mayne, De Boer, Pearce, Crowley
Sydney Swans: Reid (3), Jetta (3), Goodes (2), McVeigh, O’Keefe, Rohan, Malceski, Roberts-Thomson, McGlynn
Fremantle: Mayne (4), Crowley (2), Anthony, Sandilands, Pearce, Mzungu, Bradley, Johnson,
Sydney Swans: Mumford (back) replaced in selected side by Seaby
Fremantle: Duffield (rib), Mellington (corked leg)
Umpires: Nicholls, Jennings, Mollison
Official crowd: 22,242 at the SCG
Fremantle has produced a fierce second-half fightback against the Sydney Swans but it wasn’t enough, losing by 13 points at the SCG on Saturday afternoon.
The Swans led by 45 points and were absolutely cruising early in the third term before six straight Fremantle goals turned the match on its head and reduced the margin to just 11 points.
But the home side steadied to run out 14.10 (94) to 12.9 (81) winners for its second straight victory to start the season.
The Swans lost ruckman Shane Mumford (back) before the game, replaced by Mark Seaby, and Aaron Sandilands took full advantage, finishing with a stunning 55 hit-outs.
But he largely played a lone hand in a solid, if inconsistent, Swans display.
Josh Kennedy (36 disposals) was again influential, while Sam Reid and Lewis Jetta kicked three goals apiece.
Nat Fyfe, who dominated the last match between the teams in round 17 last year, managed 28 disposals but didn’t have much impact, well contained by Craig Bird.
Chris Mayne kicked four goals for the visitors, but he lacked support in the forward half, with skipper Matthew Pavlich particularly quiet.
Lewis Roberts-Thomson, in his 150th match, also had some terrific moments for the home side.
Fremantle was within two goals late in the third quarter when Roberts-Thomson chased down and tackled the far quicker Adam McPhee and his subsequent free kick found Adam Goodes about 30m out on a slight angle.
The co-captain kicked truly to give the Swans a 17-point buffer at the final change and they survived some nervous late moments to claim the four points.
Swans coach John Longmire had identified ball security and discipline as keys for his side after they gave up eight free-kick goals in the 11-point loss to Fremantle last year.
But his charges didn’t heed the warning, giving away three early free kicks before two Swans turnovers led directly to Freo goals.
The home side steadied and a late Reid major gave the Swans a 14-point quarter-time lead.
Reid then lit up the SCG at the start of the second term, snaring a terrific contested mark and unleashing a bomb from around 65m that bounced through as the Swans pulled away.
Freo sent a scare through the home crowd with its stunning 15-minute burst in the third quarter, but the Swans did enough to remain unbeaten in 2012.