WHERE AND WHEN: SCG, Saturday May 5, 7.40pm
ODDS: Sydney $1.25, Adelaide $4.15
LAST TIME THEY PLAYED: Round 15, 2011 – Adelaide 8.9 (57) defeated Sydney 6.14 (50) at AAMI Stadium
After a powerful victory against the Hawks last weekend, Sydney have risen above the radar and are firmly in the eyes of the footy faithful as a real challenger. Undefeated after five rounds, they come up against an Adelaide side who have been relatively impressive this year.
This is a clash of second and fourth and one that will be keenly watched to figure out where both teams are really heading this year.
The Swans have beaten all comers with relative ease, taking a couple of decent scalps (Fremantle, North Melbourne) and one big one (Hawthorn), while Adelaide have mainly beaten weaker teams and lost to the only real contender they have faced.
If the Crows have something to hang their hat on, it’s their recent record against the Swans. They’ve won six out of the last seven and when playing in Sydney it’s been eight years since they’ve lost against the Swans. Tall timber duo Kurt Tippett and Taylor Walker have been in strong form this year, with Walker in the spotlight after booting a career-high six goals last week.
Sydney’s counterpoint to the SCG hoodoo is they broke another one last weekend, stopping the Hawks’ huge run of victories at Launceston.
The Swans haven’t had this much spotlight on them since 2005/2006, but the ‘Bloods’ aren’t the type of playing group to let that get to their heads.
As far as personnel goes, there has only been one change between both teams after their respective wins last round. Talented forward Jason Porplyzia replaces tall Andy Otten for the Crows.
Josh P. Kennedy vs Scott Thompson – Two very talented, strong, ball-magnet mids for their respective sides. This battle won’t necessarily be head-to-head, but you can expect whoever does more damage on the stats sheets to have a huge impact on the game.
Thompson has faded ever so slightly from last year while Kennedy is in Brownlow-winning form.
If Thompson can get high numbers and extract the ball to the likes of Patrick Dangerfield and Rory Sloane, both in scintillating form last weekend, it will go a long way to winning.
On the other hand, if Kennedy has a game like he did last round, Adelaide may be powerless to stop him. At the moment it seems like he can do everything.
Ted Richards/Heath Grundy vs Taylor Walker/Kurt Tippett – A mouth-watering battle looms in the Crows’ attacking 50. Walker sits third in the Coleman race and Tippett isn’t far behind him.
Richards is in the best form of his career and if the AA squad was decided now, he would most probably be named at full back. Grundy is a hard-worker and rebounds to good effect.
If the Swans can keep the pair to under 5 goals, then victory is almost assured.
The Final Say:
Adelaide have shown glimpses of a top 4 side, but also glimpses of a bottom 8 side. It’s hard to tell where they’re at. Meanwhile the Swans are flying high and will need to win games like this at home if they’re aiming for the top 4.
If Adelaide come out all guns blazing then a win isn’t out of reach, but expect the Swans to grind out a 6-0 start as Adelaide heads into a very tough month of footy.
Swans by 18.
B: Martin Mattner, Ted Richards, Alex Johnson
HB: Nick Malceski, Heath Grundy, Rhyce Shaw
C: Kieren Jack, Adam Goodes, Lewis Jetta
HF: Ryan O’Keefe, Sam Reid, Jude Bolton
F: Jarrad McVeigh, Andrejs Everitt, Ben McGlynn
Foll: Mark Seaby, Josh P. Kennedy, Luke Parker
I/C: Lewis Roberts-Thomson, Nicholas Smith, Craig Bird, Daniel Hannebery
Emg: Jesse White, Trent Dennis-Lane, Tony Armstrong
B: Michael Doughty, Ben Rutten, Graham Johncock
HB: Matthew Jaensch, Daniel Talia, Brent Reilly
C: Rory Sloane, Patrick Dangerfield, David Mackay
HF: Jared Petrenko, Kurt Tippett, Ricky Henderson
F: Jason Porplyzia, Taylor Walker, Matthew Wright
Foll: Sam Jacobs, Scott Thompson, Nathan van Berlo
I/C: Shaun McKernan, Brodie Smith, Jarryd Lyons, Ian Callinan
Emg: Brad Symes, Brodie Martin, Josh Jenkins
In: Jason Porplyzia
Out: Andy Otten
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