Big brother rules as Dees punish wasteful Swans
The Sydney Swans are back at panic stations, after the last-placed Melbourne Demons made them pay for a wasteful night at the SCG.
Lance Franklin had never before lost to the Demons in 15 career meetings, but the bubble burst with a rare off night with the boot summing up Sydney's third loss of the season and second straight at their one-time SCG fortress.
Melbourne trailed by 22 points midway through the second quarter, before veteran Nathan Jones (three goals) exploded against his younger brother's team and Max Gawn seized momentum in the ruck to inflict a shock 22-point win.
Despite the rousing performance of Melbourne's two under-pressure leaders, the Swans were left to rue a mountain of missed chances in front of goal, and as feared, the loss of backline linchpin Jarrad McVeigh to a long-term calf injury threatens to derail Sydney's season.
By half-time it was eight goals apiece, but Sydney's 10 behinds to 4 told the real story of the opportunity squandered as the Demons closed out 94-77 winners.
In the third quarter Melbourne had seven more inside 50s, eight more clearances and outscored Sydney by 20 points - all thanks to a dominant Gawn winning the hit-outs with ease.
Had Melbourne - 18th coming in - lost the Round 4 clash, it would have been their worst start since 2012, but instead they broke through for their first triumph without star Jordan Lewis.
Franklin kicked 1.3 for the night and also fell short of the goalsquare with some of his powerful long-range attempts that have so often set the SCG alight.
All the momentum Sydney had gained from their maiden win of the year over Carlton disappeared in a sinking second-half, and they must now brace for a tough away assignment against Richmond - who will be welcoming back Dustin Martin thanks to this week's AFL tribunal result.
The warning signs are growing louder that Sydney face their toughest fight ever under coach John Longmire if they're to keep their golden run of finals footy alive.
The major positive for Sydney on another patchy night at the SCG was the breakout performance of 20-year-old Oliver Florent.
Two goals from the young forward in the first half were beautiful kicks and in a scrappy game of footy he hit targets and looked pure class.
Florent is the son of former Australian grand slam doubles player, Andrew, who tragically lost his battle with bowel cancer just a few weeks before Oliver was drafted.
AFL experts didn't know whether an interstate club would take Florent for fear of breaking up a grieving family, but the Swans provided him an enormous amount of welfare support and welcomed him into the Bloods' fold.
Florent led the possessions count at half-time and showcased his enormous potential with a memorable night out.
Kieren Jack also made his long-awaited return to the AFL and kicked two goals.
The backyard battle between Sydney Swans midfielder Zak Jones and older brother Nathan didn't disappoint, with the Melbourne Demons co-captain finishing top of the family, much like he might have on the PlayStation 20 years ago.
The pair almost got involved in a push and shove early in the contest only for a couple of other Swans players to get in between them.
Then Zak Jones let Demon Jack Viney know all about an early first quarter goal in a sign emotions were running hot.
But in the game of Keeping up with the Joneses, it was Nathan who delivered the show-stopping moment - with his double goal burst in the second quarter the turning point in Melbourne's rousing comeback.
Jones kicked two within the space of two minutes to bring a 22-point margin back to 10, and the second - a brilliant snap moving away from the goal - he took off away from little brother Zak, offering a wry smile on his way.