With the Lions making an unforeseen mid-year surge the stakes for this game have risen higher than ever. With both the races for the top 4 and 8 tightening by the minute this becomes a valuable tussle for 4 points.
With the Lions having a poor record at the SCG, their recent form spike could see them attempt a win to put the final 8 in their sights, and can possibly damage the Swans top 4 aspirations.
Why should you tune in?
Sydney: The midfield and ruck duels will be the key given the small confines of the ground so Ben Hudson will have to be at his best against Shane Mumford, with the Swan an expert at shovelling the ball out if it does go to ground. Down back, the Lions could be stretched without Maguire, if Daniel Merrett again plays forward. Adam Goodes and Sam Reid will spend most of their time forward and look to exploit a lack of height if it pans out that way.
John Longmire’s squad has the AFL’s best defensive record this season. But they come up against a Brisbane Lions side that has kicked 18 goals in each of its victories over the Bulldogs and Melbourne. Ted Richards, Heath Grundy, Alex Johnson and the rest of the Swans’ back six will need to be on their game at the SCG.
Brisbane: What it will come down to is the ability of the Lions’ aforementioned youngsters – Rockliff, Redden, Rich, Hanley, Polkinghorne and Ryan Harwood – who are running hot, need to match it to the likes of Kieran Jack, Josh Kennedy, McVeigh, Jude Bolton, Daniel Hannebery and Ryan O’Keefe through the middle.
Most obvious element breathing life into the Lions’ season is their willingness to play-on and spread the ball quickly. This flair has started from the halfback line with the laser left boot of Josh Drummond, the increasingly reliable Mitch Golby and the dash of Irishman Pearce Hanley all features. Teams like to lock-down Drummond, but, as he showed with 24 touches and three goals against the Demons, Hanley can do just as much damage.
Prediction: The Lions won’t be able to match the grit of the Swans. The in and under players and tight confines of the SCG will see the Swans look to strangle and suffocate the Lions outfit.
Swans by 29.
B: Rhyce Shaw, Heath Grundy, Alex Johnson
HB: Nicholas Smith, Ted Richards, Jarrad McVeigh
C: Martin Mattner, Jude Bolton, Lewis Jetta
HF: Daniel Hannebery, Sam Reid, Ben McGlynn
F: Lewis Roberts-Thomson, Adam Goodes, Ryan O’Keefe
Foll: Shane Mumford, Josh P. Kennedy, Kieren Jack
I/C: Craig Bird, Mike Pyke, Andrejs Everitt, Tony Armstrong
Emg: Nick Malceski, Jesse White, Trent Dennis-Lane
B: Josh Drummond, Joel Patfull, Ryan Harwood
HB: Pearce Hanley, Niall McKeever, Jed Adcock
C: Ryan Lester, Daniel Rich, Cheynee Stiller
HF: Simon Black, Jonathan Brown, Dayne Zorko
F: James Polkinghorne, Daniel Merrett, Jack Redden
Foll: Ben Hudson, Tom Rockliff, Andrew Raines
I/C: Patrick Karnezis, Joshua Green, Rohan Bewick, Jack Crisp
Emg: Aaron Cornelius, Claye Beams, Elliot Yeo
In: Cheynee Stiller, Patrick Karnezis, Jack Crisp
Out: Ashley McGrath (Leg), Mitchell Golby (Foot), Jared Polec (Foot)