Slick Swans thrash soulless Demons in AFL

Three Sam Reid first-half goals have led Sydney to a 53-point AFL victory over Melbourne at the MCG.
Three Sam Reid first-half goals have led Sydney to a 53-point AFL victory over Melbourne at the MCG.

Melbourne's horror AFL season has reached a new low, Sydney embarrassing the Demons in a 53-point thrashing on the big stage of Friday night football in front of their long-suffering fans at the MCG.

The few of them who turned up, that is, with just 23,700 fans braving the inclement Melbourne weather.

The Demons have been beaten by a greater margin in a disastrous campaign but their listless display in a 15.5 (95) to 5.12 (42) defeat is indicative of a team who have lost their way - again.

Simon Goodwin's men couldn't muster a goal in the second or third quarters against a side who had just one more win than them heading into round 22.

With one round to play, last year's preliminary finalists are all but guaranteed of finishing second bottom.

"Tonight was unacceptable and probably reflective of where we've been this year in how the game was played out," Goodwin said.

"But we're going to take responsibility.

"We're in a poor position right now as a footy club, but we're going to work really hard at getting ourselves out of it.

"The only way we're going to do that is together."

Few of Goodwin's players can walk away with heads held high, but Clayton Oliver gathered 30 possessions, Jake Melksham booted three goals and Max Gawn had 52 hitouts.

As bad as Melbourne were, the Swans deserve plenty of praise for their workman-like performance.

Oliver Florent led the way with 28 possessions, Sam Reid booted three goals and Josh Kennedy gained 10 clearances in his 21-disposal effort in an even team performance.

It says a bit about Melbourne's plight that Sydney carried a six-game losing streak into the match.

"Even though the wins haven't been there, we've still taken some steps forward and it was good to see that all come together tonight," John Longmire said.

"We made some mistakes and we still will mistakes but you've got to be able to play a certain style of footy ... we've been a bit inconsistent with that, but tonight we put the four quarters together."

Reid had the Swans off to a flyer with two of his side's first three goals, but Melksham managed to get the ball rolling for the Demons with two of his own to cut the margin to six points at the first break.

Reid added his third just seconds after the restart, the lead extended to 24 points at halftime as Melbourne's attack sputtered to a halt.

The Swans booted the only three goals of the third quarter to make it seven unanswered majors and a 38-point lead at three-quarter time.

Melbourne at least managed some sort of response with successive goals in the final term, but Sydney kicked the last three majors of the contest to improve their season record to 7-14.

Australian Associated Press