WHERE AND WHEN: ANZ Stadium, Saturday June 30, 7.40pm
LAST TIME: Sydney Swans 14.16 (100) d Greater Western Sydney 5.7 (37), round one, 2012 at ANZ Stadium
The Greater Western Sydney Giants return to the scene of their AFL debut to play the Sydney Swans, the side who first beat them, and it should be a match to watch.
The Swans were somewhat blasé in their win over the Giants in round one, winning by 63 points – which was below most estimates – and they’ll be looking to improve on that coming in with good form.
The Giants, however, will have a point to make, having improved every week, and are no doubt a stronger and more skilled outfit that the one from thirteen weeks ago.
It’s been well-noted that the Swans are in very good form this year, having won four of their past five games to sit second on the ladder coming into Round 14.
John Longmire has caused some fantastic improvement from the Swans who, despite barely falling out at all from their premiership and runner-up performances in 2005 and 2006 respectively, can now be said to be legitimate premiership contenders.
Their midfield so far has been nothing short of brilliant, with Josh Kennedy still a genuine chance at taking out this year’s Brownlow Medal. Kieren Jack, Jude Bolton, Ryan O’Keefe and Lewis Jetta have all also been superb.
But their number one ruckman’s form in Shane Mumford has been questionable ever since his back injury and then return, and you’d hope that he can get back to his best, which is just about the competition’s best.
Given their rock-solid backline, their talented and diverse forwards and their clearance-winning, goal-kicking midfielders, it’s hard to spot a real weakness in the Swans’ current side.
Nick Malceski as an emergency, not being able to make the side, just goes to show that strength.
GWS have had a good introduction to AFL footy, despite only winning one game – Kevin Sheedy’s emphasis on the basics in contested footy, discipline and effort has paid dividends so far and will continue to do so.
Combine that with a talented group of midfielders such as Dylan Shiel, Toby Greene and Adam Treloar and it will soon become one of the best in the competition.
Although Taylor Adams will miss this week due to a club-enforced suspension, there’s no reason why the Giants can’t perform well through the centre.
If they want to win they’ll need to give Jeremy Cameron and Jonathon Patton as much opportunity as possible to take the contested grabs they’re capable of.
Former Port Adelaide ruckman Jonathan Giles will need a huge game to give the Giants first opportunity, as their defense likely cannot sustain a bombardment of inside 50s.
It’s in the middle where they can pinch this.
Players to Watch
Adam Goodes: On his return from the left quad he tore in Round 6, Goodes struggled to have a real impact and was eventually substituted out. You’d hope for the Swans’ sake he was warming back to AFL footy and should get more game time this week.
James McDonald: One of the senior leaders at the Giants, the former Melbourne captain should cop some heat for his hit on Luke Parker in Round 1. However, he should have the mentality to ignore this, and will need to play well for the Giants to leave an impression.
GWS have been impressive so far in their debut season with their competitiveness and determination to win the contest no doubt the standout features.
However, at ANZ, the Swans are simply too hard around the contest and too quick and classy on the spread for the Giants to nullify.
Sydney by 58
B: Rhyce Shaw, Heath Grundy, Alex Johnson
HB: Nicholas Smith, Ted Richards, Jarrad McVeigh
C: Martin Mattner, Ryan O’Keefe, Lewis Jetta
HF: Ben McGlynn, Sam Reid, Jude Bolton
F: Lewis Roberts-Thomson, Adam Goodes, Andrejs Everitt
Foll: Shane Mumford, Josh P. Kennedy, Kieren Jack
I/C: Craig Bird, Daniel Hannebery, Mike Pyke, Tony Armstrong
Emg: Nick Malceski, Trent Dennis-Lane, Harry Cunningham
Greater Western Sydney:
B: Luke Power, Tim Mohr, Shaun Edwards
HB: Chad Cornes, Phil Davis, Tomas Bugg
C: Tom Scully, Callan Ward, Adam Treloar
HF: Toby Greene, Jeremy Cameron, Adam Tomlinson
F: Devon Smith, Jonathon Patton, Nathan Wilson
Foll: Jonathan Giles, James McDonald, Dylan Shiel
I/C: Curtly Hampton, Rhys Palmer, Dean Brogan, Adam Kennedy
Emg: Sam Darley, Mark Whiley, Nick Haynes
In: Curtly Hampton, Adam Tomlinson, Chad Cornes, Adam Kennedy
Out: Sam Darley, Jack Hombsch, Mark Whiley, Taylor Adams