Sydney have thumped a Jonathan Brown-less Brisbane by 79 points at the Gabba to jump into the AFL top eight for the first time this year.
No Jonathan Brown. No Lance Franklin.
And in the end, it was no contest as Sydney thumped dead-last Brisbane 18.15 (123) to 6.8 (44) at the Gabba on Saturday night to break back into the AFL top eight for the first time this season.
Brisbane needed all the help they could get to break their hoodoo against Sydney, even after the Swans opted to rest $10 million man Franklin (knee) and again keep Kurt Tippett (rib) on ice.
But their odds of notching their first win over the Swans since 2009 did not improve after Lions coach Justin Leppitsch sidelined a fatigued Brown.
And their fortunes did not improve as the Swans held off early resistance to seal their 16th win in 18 games against Brisbane dating back to 2004.
The third straight win by Sydney (4-3) extended the 2014 woes of cellar dwellers Brisbane (1-6).
The Lions started the game still buzzing from their season’s maiden win – last round’s three-point victory over St Kilda.
However, back-to-back goals to Australian of the Year Adam Goodes helped Sydney grab a 12-point lead by the first break.
The hosts cut the deficit in the second to just nine before the Swans took flight, banging in four unanswered majors to jump to an 8.8 (56) to 3.5 (23) lead at the main interval.
When Rhyce Shaw – in his 200th game – slammed home Sydney’s sixth straight major, and the Swans’ second overall for the third term, the visitors cruised to a 45-point lead.
Then it became ugly.
Sydney extended their lead to 14.11 (95) to 5.6 (36) by the final interval before finishing all over the top of the hosts in front of 17,957 fans.
For the Swans, Goodes kicked three goals and Jarrad McVeigh had 35 touches.
For the Lions, Tom Rockliff had 30 disposals and a goal.
Swans coach John Longmire’s only complaint was Mike Pyke’s hamstring injury in the second term.
He said scans on Monday would reveal the full extent of the complaint.
But there was plenty to be pleased about ahead of Friday night’s blockbuster against Hawthorn after dual Brownlow Medallist Goodes impressed in his first full game in 10 months.
“He looked really good. We had forgotten what he was like moving like that,” Longmire smiled.
Meanwhile, a philosophical Leppitsch tried to put the result in perspective after a Brown-less forward line of Daniel Merrett and Luke McGuane struggled.
Brown could not back up from their last-round win.
“We have to look out for our 30-plus-year-olds as much as our 18-year-olds,” Leppitsch said.
Still, he could see some light at the end of the tunnel after youngsters such as Sam Mayes, James Aish and Marco Paparone tried hard.
“We just have to tough it out,” Leppitsch said.
Vice-captain Rockliff was inspirational, powering on while battling a virus that made him ill in the first term.