Coach John Longmire has hailed Sydney's maturity and resilience after the Swans pushed past their latest cross-border dash to beat Essendon by seven points and put pressure on the AFL's top four.
The Bombers and Swans flew to Melbourne on Saturday afternoon to escape Queensland's lockdown and Essendon settled fastest at the MCG on Sunday before Sydney prevailed in an end-to-end shootout 17.7 (109) to 16.6 (102).
Longmire believed the latest disruption - having already spent weeks on the road - played a key role in Sydney's slow start but was pleased with how the Swans dragged the match onto their own terms.
"Within a couple of hours our whole footy club had to pack up and move, get down here, we were getting tested (for coronavirus) late at night," Longmire said.
"Our ability to get over that was great.
"We felt that early in the game we were a bit off ... really everything just took a bit of time to get going and you can probably put that down to a bit of everything that's been going on
"But our ability then to switch into the mode and do what we had to do to get the win was fantastic - it was just a really mature performance."
On his return from isolation, Swans midfielder Callum Mills (33 disposals) was exceptional alongside Luke Parker (26 touches, nine clearances and two goals), while Tom Papley (four goals) caused Essendon headaches.
Essendon's Darcy Parish (34 disposals, eight clearances) and Zach Merrett (35 disposals, 626 metres-gained) were superb, ably assisted by Kyle Langford and Jake Stringer.
Sydney kicked into gear after trailing by 12 at halftime, seizing the upper hand as the Bombers struggled to find answers for Papley and Parker, who combined for five third-quarter goals.
The game turned into a shootout - with 23 goals kicked between the two teams in the second half.
Sydney led by two at the final change then nudged out to a game-high 19-point lead with just under five minutes left in the match, then hung on as Essendon surged late.
Jayden Laverde kept Lance Franklin to two goals but suffered a shoulder injury and was substituted for Brayden Ham late - with the Bombers also running out of interchange rotations in the closing minutes.
The Bombers remain in the chasing pack outside the eight, with coach Ben Rutten believing Essendon "did enough" to win the game but cost themselves.
Rutten praised his side's resilience after nearly three weeks in Queensland and Saturday's trip from Brisbane to Melbourne that was about eight hours "door to door".
"To do what we did the last couple of weeks and to be able to then come back to Melbourne (yesterday) and perform the way we did (today) I was really, really pleased with that," he said.
Australian Associated Press