WHERE AND WHEN: SCG, Friday June 22, 7.50pm
LAST TIME: Sydney Swans 15.9 (99) d Geelong 12.14 (86), round 23, 2011 at Simonds Stadium
With things tightening up at the top end of the ladder, it’s matches like these that gain that little bit extra required in order to turn them into classics.
Both sides are coming off a bye and should be refreshed and willing to hit the contest hard. When you’re playing at the SCG against the Swans, a hard contested battle in the middle is almost a guarantee.
The Swans regain co-captain Adam Goodes, who will provide extra spark up forward and is a threat wherever he roams. With his inclusion the Swans immediately become a better side, which is impressive for a team that has only lost three times this season.
With both sides within reach of a top four spot and the all important double chance, a win tonight would go a long way to securing a home final.
The Cats failed to escape media scrutiny during their rest week, with Jesse Stringer receiving attention for all the wrong reasons. Geelong is a side that has proven itself more than capable of handling external pressures, and tonight they get a chance to prove it all over again, although there are more questions that need to be asked of this current Geelong side.
Namely, are we ever going to see the form that saw them win three of the last five flags again?
The Cats wouldn’t be overly alarmed, but they have yet to produce anything near the standard of play that makes them a premiership threat. Their 12 point win over Carlton was plagued with fumbles, missed targets and missed opportunities, characteristics foreign to this great side.
The bye has presented a chance to sort out whatever may be hindering their performance, as a win against an in form Swans side would be the perfect start to their build up towards the finals.
Adam Goodes – We all know what Goodes is capable of, but the question tonight is how much of an impact he can have on the game. Goodes hasn’t played since round six, which is more significant as Goodes has managed to spend most of his career injury free. There is little doubt that Goodes will be ready to go, but there may be some rust on his play as he works his way back into the action.
Joel Selwood – In the world of Australian Football, winning the contested ball has never been more important. It’s one thing both these sides stress, and it is precisely where Selwood thrives. With Josh Kennedy and Jude Bolton opposing him, Selwood must consistently get his hands on the ball first. If Kennedy and Bolton are able to negate Selwood, the Cats could find themselves in a spot of bother.
The Swans have suffered some poor defeats so far this year, but when they have played well they have looked like a side that is capable of challenging for the flag.
Conversely, the Cats have proven they are up to that task over the years, but simply haven’t shown it in 2012.
Swans by 16 points
B: Nicholas Smith, Heath Grundy, Alex Johnson
HB: Martin Mattner, Ted Richards, Jarrad McVeigh
C: Rhyce Shaw, Adam Goodes, Lewis Jetta
HF: Craig Bird, Sam Reid, Jude Bolton
F: Ryan O’Keefe, Lewis Roberts-Thomson, Mike Pyke
Foll: Shane Mumford, Josh P. Kennedy, Kieren Jack
I/C: Daniel Hannebery, Ben McGlynn, Andrejs Everitt, Tony Armstrong
Emg: Nick Malceski, Jesse White, Trent Dennis-Lane
In: Adam Goodes, Ben McGlynn
Out: Nick Malceski, Trent Dennis-Lane
B: Tom Lonergan, Matthew Scarlett, Corey Enright
HB: Josh Hunt, Harry Taylor, Taylor Hunt
C: Steven Motlop, James Kelly, David Wojcinski
HF: Mitch Duncan, James Podsiadly, Mathew Stokes
F: Paul Chapman, Tom Hawkins, Steve Johnson
Foll: Trent West, Joel Selwood, Jimmy Bartel
I/C: Joel Corey, Andrew Mackie, Dawson Simpson, Allen Christensen
Emg: Cameron Guthrie, George Horlin-Smith, Lincoln McCarthy
In: Dawson Simpson, Allen Christensen, James Podsiadly
Out: Jesse Stringer, Cameron Guthrie, Orren Stephenson