Sydney only needed 30 minutes to demolish Geelong’s season and push into next Saturday’s AFL Grand Final.
The Swans scored the opening goal of the match within 30 seconds, through goalsneak Ben McGlynn, and effectively had a foot in the door of the Grand Final by quarter time, when they kicked seven goals to none to lead by 39 points.
Sydney forward Buddy Franklin, who was sensational early and racked up nine disposals and one goal in an influential first term, said he was looking forward to playing the winner of the Western Bulldogs-Greater Western Sydney preliminary final.
“It’s going to be an unbelievable game, whoever we play next week. I’ll just soak it up right now because it doesn’t happen often to get into a grand final. I’m absolutely overawed,” Franklin said.
It will be Sydney’s third grand final in five years.
The 2012 premiers jumped Geelong with the first eight goals of the match, before going on to a convincing win, 15.7 (97) to 8.12 (60).
Geelong fought back hard in the third term to create some interest in the contest, but they were coming from too far back after trailing by 55 points.
Sydney’s early domination will reignite debate about the fairness of the round-23 bye.
After Geelong beat Hawthorn in their qualifying final, it meant the Cats had played only once in 26 days before Friday night.
By contrast, the Swans lost their qualifying final and had to come through last week’s semis.
This had been widely tipped to be a tight battle, with little appearing to separate two of the league’s toughest teams.
But the Swans’ pressure initially was manic and they put Geelong out of the contest early.
Sydney kicked 7.2 to five behinds in the first quarter and the Cats did not score their first goal until four minutes into the second term.
Isaac Heeney, Lance Franklin, Ben McGlynn, Luke Parker with two goals in as many minutes, and Dane Rampe set Sydney alight in the first quarter.
The domination continued in the second term, with Sydney kicking four goals to two.
Cats defender Harry Taylor went forward in the third term and kicked two goals as Geelong worked their way back into the match.
When they kicked the first goal of the last term, they only trailed by five goals.
But Cats veteran Corey Enright mucked up a kickout and Gary Rohan pounced at five minutes to kick the steadying goal that killed off Geelong’s belated challenge.
Geelong remarkably won the inside-50 count by a whopping 72 to 40, but they butchered too many chances in front of goal and the Swans’ defence, led by All Australian Dane Rampe, was outstanding.
Swans injury concerns
Sydney will sweat on the fitness of Aliir Aliir after the in-form defender hyper-extended his knee in the opening term.
Aliir joins Jarrad McVeigh (calf) and Callum Mills (hamstring) as key injury concerns before the grand final.
The 22-year-old Aliir landed awkwardly in a marking contest with Lincoln McCarthy and had it strapped up. He appeared to be ready to come back on, but the Swans made a decision not to risk him.
Luke Parker will also be monitored after he limped from the field with a knee injury in the third quarter.