2012 AFL Grand Final Preview – Hawthorn vs. Sydney
2:30pm Saturday 29thSeptember @ MCG – Weather: 14°C – Showers
Guest writer Conca Truck gives us his thoughts on the Grand Final.
After 206 games in season 2012 it all come down to this last one. The biggest game of the year, the AFL grand final between Hawthorn and Sydney.
These two teams have had fantastic years finishing 1st and 3rd. They both won their first qualifying finals, earning themselves the week off to get fresh and ready for their preliminary final. The Swans where too strong for the Magpies while the Hawks beat the Crows in a thriller.
B: Grant Birchall , Josh Gibson , Benjamin Stratton
HB: Matt Suckling , Ryan Schoenmakers , Shaun Burgoyne
C: Jordan Lewis , Sam Mitchell , Xavier Ellis
HF: Jack Gunston, Lance Franklin, Isaac Smith
F: Cyril Rioli , Jarryd Roughead , Luke Breust
Foll: David Hale , Luke Hodge, Brad Sewell
I/C: Clinton Young, Liam Shiels , Shane Savage, Paul Puopolo
Emg: Max Bailey, Thomas Murphy , Kyle Cheney
B: Rhyce Shaw , Ted Richards, Martin Mattner
HB: Alex Johnson , Heath Grundy , Nicholas Smith
C: Lewis Jetta , Kieren Jack , Daniel Hannebery
HF: Craig Bird , Sam Reid , Ryan O’Keefe
F: Jarrad McVeigh , Adam Goodes, Lewis Roberts-Thomson
Foll: Shane Mumford, Josh P. Kennedy, Jude Bolton
I/C: Nick Malceski, Mike Pyke , Luke Parker , Mitch Morton
Emg: Trent Dennis-Lane , Tony Armstrong, Tommy Walsh
Last 5 times they have met:
Sydney 95 def.by Hawthorn 102 – SCG Round 22, 2012
Hawthorn 69 def.by Sydney 106 – Aurora Round 5, 2012
Hawthorn 122 def Sydney 86 – MCG Semi Final, 2011
Sydney 60 def.by Hawthorn 106 – SCG Round 9, 2011
Sydney 129 def hawthorn 85 – SCG Round 19, 2010
Key Match Ups
1. The Midfield Battle
Mitchell, Sewell, Hodge, Burgoyne, Lewis, Young, Smith, Shiels, Ellis
Kennedy, Jack, Bolton, Jetta, O’Keffe, McVeigh, Hannebery
The midfield is where the game will be won and lost. There are some genuine stars of the competition in both midfields with Kennedy, Jack, Mitchell and Hodge. Both midfields will get best use of the ball from ruckmen but whichever teams midfield can get the ball from the middle and pump it long inside 50 the most will win the game.
2. Richards vs. Franklin
Richards has played on Franklin the last 3 times these teams have met and I would expect him to play on him again. Franklin has booted 4,0 and 4 goals in those 3 games and with Franlin getting back to his best from his injury and Richards in career best form, I would expect a gruelling contest.
3. Gibson vs. Goodes
With Schoenmakers going to Reid, that will leave Gibson to play on Goodes. Last time they met Gibson kept Goodes to the 2 goals and 15 touches and if Gibson can shut down Goodes again it will give the Hawks a good chance of winning.
4. N.Smith vs. Breust
Breust has had a great 2012 season booting 43 goals while also having 25 goal assists (ranking 2nd in the comp) and putting pressure on defenders with 105 tackles. Smith has also been great down back for the Swans and he should go to Breust and limit his output. Smith played on Breust in the round 22 clash this year keeping him goalless.
Burgoyne has already played in two Grand Finals with Port Adelaide and he always steps up on the big stage. Burgoyne was best on ground last time he played Sydney with 26 touches and three crucial goals and a big game from Burgoyne is vital if the Hawks want to win.
The best defender in the competition Ted Richards will be waiting for Buddy this Saturday. Richards kept Franklin goalless and to four goals in their two clashes this season. But on the big stage expect Buddy to step up and have a big game, which might not mean kicking a bag of goals but setting them up for his teammates.
After missing last week with an illness Hodge will be fit and firing to play against the Swans this week. Hodge has shown he is a big game player winning the Norm Smith in 2008. His toughness around the ball will set the standard for his teammates.
The skilful defender is important for the Hawks as his pinpoint kicking is really going to set the Hawks up when coming out of defence.
After only 17 and 20 disposals against the Swans this year, Mitchell has struggled against them. But Mitchell has been in great form lately and has been one of the best Hawks performers in finals so except a big performance this week even if he does get tagged by Bird.
Josh P. Kennedy
Kennedy has sent a message to his former Hawk teammates this season in the two matches they played with huge games. Kennedy has been one of the most improved players of the comp and he has turned himself into a genuine star of the AFL and is a very good chance for the Norm Smith medal on Saturday.
One of the best players in the history of the Swans, Goodes will be looking for his second premiership medallion. Goodes has been known for his ability to turn a game around single-handedly and for his massive performances in the big games. If the Swans want to win their 5th Premiership then Adam Goodes will have to be at his best.
Schoenmakers will man Reid up this week and the Swans need to exploit the pair in one on one contests. Schoenmakers has had 20 goals scored on him in his last four games and Reid is a good chance to boot three+ goals on him this week. But Reid has only kicked two goals against the Hawks in their two contests this year.
The excitement machine is a massive X-Factor for the Swans on Saturday. But Jetta has been quiet against the Hawks this year with a combined total of 22 disposals from the two games against the Hawks this season and expect a Hawk to pay close attention to him.
Richards has had an amazing season but he will have one of the toughest jobs in football, playing at Full Back on Lance Franklin. Richards one of the best defenders in the comp has kept Buddy to 4 goals in there 2 clashes this year and if he can limit Franklins output, it will go a long way in the Swans winning the game.
The best two teams of 2012 will do battle for the ultimate football glory: The Premiership Cup.
It is going to be a great battle from start to finish. The Hawks are a very attacking team while the Swans are defensive and if it turns into a shoot out, the Hawks might be too strong for the Swans. If the Swans slow the game down they are a very good chance of wining. Both teams have some great players and are evenly matched all around the ground.
But I would expect the Hawks to step up after last week and win a thriller.
Tip: Hawthorn by 5 points
Norm Smith Medal: Shaun Burgoyne
First Goal: Lewis Roberts-Thompson
Thanks for reading and leave a comment on which team you think will win the game, Norm Smith and kick the first goal: