In a day marred with controversy, there was still some action to be had on the trade tables as we countdown with two days remaining in the 2012 trade period.
The AFL has launched an official investigation into Adelaide’s last contract with on-the-move forward Kurt Tippett after the Crows board revealed they had come forward last Friday and confessed to a possible issue of draft tampering and outside compensation in Tippett’s 2010-2012 contract.
Crows chairman Rob Chapman said today “it was the right thing to do – we’ll take whatever comes out of it” as the Tippett saga seems set to drag on for at least another day before something eventuates.
The revelation explains why a move that seemed close to completion with Tippett’s preferred destination – the Sydney Swans, who reportedly offered pick 23 (their first round draft pick) and forward Jesse White fell through at the final hour last Friday.
Much now hangs on the results of the AFL’s investigation, with Tippett’s future and a trade with the Swans now teetering on the edge.
In more concrete news, a deal was finally done with West Coast midfielder Koby Stevens, returning home to Victoria to his preferred new home at the Western Bulldogs for their pick 44. The deal comes at just the right time as the Bulldogs prepare to depart for London for an exhibition match with Port Adelaide.
The Eagles however were still steadfast in their desire to retain contracted defender Mitch Brown, again refusing any trade that involved young Saint Jamie Cripps.
On the North Melbourne front, there was barely any news despite the seemingly large number of movements rumoured to be in the works. They did not acquire Port Adelaide defender Ben Jacobs after the Power baulked at the offer of a second round pick.
Matt Campbell, Cruize Garlett and especially Cam Pedersen remain in limbo – the first two without any news and the latter without enough able to be offered from his preferred new destination, Melbourne, to get the deal done. Pick 49 is on the table and the ball is in the Kangaroos’ court as to whether that will be enough as we close in on the 2pm Friday deadline.
One of Melbourne’s big men, Stefan Martin, also has his future up in the air after no information came out after his meeting with the Brisbane Lions on Tuesday.
Finally, Hawthorn defender Stephen Gilham seems very likely to move either to Greater Western Sydney, to add experience and depth to their young line-up (especially after losing young key-position prospect Jack Hombsch to the Power yesterday) or to St Kilda if they indeed cannot secure Brown from West Coast, but no offers are believed to have been tabled.
Join BigFooty News tomorrow for the latest on the Tippett drama and for all confirmed trade news. With such a quiet week so far and so many deals still on the table, we await the countdown to the final feeding frenzy.
Western Bulldogs traded second round draft pick (#44) to West Coast for Koby Stevens
Sydney are the 2012 premiers, triumphing over Hawthorn in an absolute epic in front of 99,683 passionate AFL fans.
Ryan O’Keefe took the Norm Smith medal as best on ground, but there were so many winners across the park it could have gone to a number of players. O’Keefe thanked both the South Melbourne and Sydney Swans supporters in his speech. He led from the front all day with 28 disposals, 7 clearances and a whopping 15 tackles.
This was the fifth premiership win in their combined history.
Sydney started slow but blew Hawthorn away in the second quarter, before the Hawks mounted a gigantic fightback, taking the lead in the last term before the Swans kicked in front and held their nerve to take the flag.
Nick Malceski sealed the game with his second amazing goal of the game in the last minute, booting a snap over his shoulder to raucous cheers and hugs from teammates.
There were early injury worries for Sydney, with it being revealed that Jude Bolton would have to go off for surgery after the game, ruckman Shane Mumford rumoured to have hamstring issues and Ted Richards still holding a niggle.
The much talked about weather didn’t seem to have a big impact early, but it quickly become evident that there was a definite scoring end. Captain Luke Hodge won the toss and the Hawks took advantage of this in the first, with Xavier Ellis kicking the first goal of the match before Nick Malceski responded with a beautiful boundary line snap.
From here, the Hawks squandered chances before putting on a scintillating burst towards the end of the quarter. Lance Franklin kicked his first for the game from a mark and the wind started blowing heavily. It was followed shortly after by goals to Luke Bruest (thanks to some brilliant work by Paul Puopolo) and Jack Gunston (from a quick clearance by Sam Mitchell), and the Hawks were in sight of another before the siren blew to end the first.
One of the highlights of the day came late in the first as Lewis Jetta took on Cyril Rioli in a foot-race. It might have been an omen that Jetta took the chocolates.
The Swans came out firing in the second and held the Hawks goal-less for the term. As the sun started shining on the MCG, so too did it seem to shine on the Swans as they absolutely devastated Hawthorn on the rebound, chiefly thanks to some amazing work by Alex Johnson and Rhyce Shaw. Former Hawk Josh Kennedy booted the first for the term, before Kieran Jack, co-captain Jarrad McVeigh and Sam Reid put the Swans in front.
As the Hawks started going forward, they looked like they could take back the lead before half-time. Enter Mitch Morton, the ex-Richmond and West Coast recruit playing just his 5th game for the Swans. He deftly moved out of congestion and snapped two quick goals to build the lead for Sydney.
Hawthorn had every chance to get it closer before half-time, but Franklin sprayed a set shot out on the full. Clinton Young also had a chance from 50m to bring it back, but he too bombed it towards goal with the same result.
Canadian recruit Mike Pyke really stepped up for Sydney as Mumford looked sore and slow, playing one of his best games for the club.
The weather seemed to dictate Sydney’s play again, and as the skies darkened it did so for Sydney’s chances as well. After a poor kick by Jarryd Roughead for a point, Jetta showed some amazing vision to spot up Jack, who then handpassed to Kennedy who booted his second. Lewis Roberts-Thomson then took a strong mark and kicked his first to take the lead out. It looked dangerous for Hawthorn, but to their credit they responded emphatically.
Facing a 27 point deficit and 42 minutes since their last goal, Hawthorn finally answered through ruckman David Hale. Franklin then kicked his second and the rebound from the defence was totally reversed – it was now all the Hawks. Hodge was playing a strong sweeper role in defence and was cleaning up any stray kicks.
A goal to Gunston and another to Franklin took the margin back to 2 points. Shane Savage was subbed on to take full advantage of the momentum swing and the Hawks hit the front through Issac Smith after another piece of Mitchell brilliance.
Sydney goaled from a 50m penalty against the flow to take the lead back, and Roberts-Thomson took a great mark on their defensive goal-line to ensure they’d keep it going into their last. As the siren went for the third, the Swans were up by one point and hearts were racing.
Hawthorn looked ominous as they begun the last much like they had finished the third – Bruest got the ball over the back and ran into an open goal before Hale kicked a brilliant second from a stoppage. Unfortunately for the Hawks, this was their last goal for the term.
Sydney weren’t phased and Daniel Hannebery, brilliant all day, kicked a goal to bring it back to 6. Jack then followed this up with another goal to level the scores as Hodge went off with the blood rule for the third time in the game.
The Swans pressed as an injured Adam Goodes produced a bit of brilliance to dribble home a goal. Too often in the last quarter Hawthorn did not take their chances, and this was exemplified when Gunston missed an easy shot from the pocket to draw the Hawks closer.
Brad Sewell kicked two behinds in a row before Malceski’s bit of brilliant put the icing on the cake, with his amazing snap the sealer.
Sewell (33 disposals, 11 clearances) and Mitchell (24 disposals, 10 clearances) fought incredibly hard for the Hawks, while Franklin and Hale were strong up forward, but it simply wasn’t enough to match the brilliance the Swans possessed across the park.
The Swans pressure was simply immense all day. They finished the game with a gigantic 110 tackles, with 10 players registering 5 or more.
Jude Bolton got a fairytale, playing badly injured in his 301st AFL game, Canadian Mike Pyke held the number one ruck spot after Mumford was subbed off and Mitch Morton gained a premiership medal at his third club. There are so many stories from this game, and the match itself deserves to go down in Grand Final folklore.
Hawthorn: Franklin 3, Breust 2, Gunston 2, Hale 2, Ellis, Smith
Sydney Swans: Jack 2, Kennedy 2, Malceski 2, McVeigh 2, Morton 2, Goodes, Hannebery, Reid, Roberts-Thomson
Hawthorn: Sewell, Burgoyne, Mitchell, Breust, Hale, Franklin
Sydney Swans: Hannebery, O’Keefe, Pyke, McVeigh, Johnson, Roberts-Thomson, Jetta, Goodes
Thanks to everyone for supporting BigFootyNews.com this season. We’ll be back in one form or another next year… after we cover the trade period and the draft. – Chief
Well, it’s here. Grand Final Day. It’s been a spectacular 2012 and there’s no reason to expect that isn’t going to stop now, with two closely matched sides poised to fight out what will hopefully be a cracker at the MCG this afternoon.
But what will be the difference for each side today? Since the Hawks are favourites with the bookies, BigFootyNews will look at the 4 biggest reasons they can win, and provide it with a counterpoint from the Swans.
The Hawks have got the best forward line in the competition
On paper, it’s daunting. In reality, it’s bloody scary. The Hawks are easily the highest scoring team in the AFL this season, over 200 points clear of the second-placed Adelaide Crows (not to mention nearly 100 goals clear of their opponents, the Swans). They’ve only been kept to under 90 points 3 times in their 24 games this year, and all 3 of those occasions were early in the season when they were finding their feet.
The focus is usually on Lance Franklin and Cyril Rioli, with good reason, but even if those two were effectively shut-out by Sydney then they have a plethora of back-up options.
Luke Bruest, Jarryd Roughead, Jack Gunston, Paul Puopolo and David Hale have kicked 167 goals between them this year. That’s not even mentioning their options who have primarily played midfield or half-back this season. Jordan Lewis (27 goals), Matt Suckling (16 goals), Isaac Smith (16 goals) and Clinton Young (13 goals) regularly hit the score-board too and can be used up forward to good effect.
The most worrying of these ‘back-ups’ are players like Suckling and Young, who can ignore backlines by kicking goals from 50 metres plus out, as well as Lewis, who can almost play as a key-forward, and captain Luke Hodge who can be devastating if given space. It’s a huge, horrible migraine for opposition coaches and has been so nearly all year.
Counterpoint: Key forwards historically don’t have big games in Grand Finals
The area where the Swans are the weakest is certainly their forward line. Much maligned Hawks backman Ryan Schoenmakers typically takes young Swans forward Sam Reid, and usually beats him. Adam Goodes can be a very effective forward but is better used in various positions as needed. Mitch Morton and Lewis Roberts-Thomson are somewhat unknowns as to what they’ll produce on the big day (although Roberts-Thomson very nearly won a Norm Smith in 2005). But typically, if the contest is tight, the big forwards won’t be the match-winners.
One only has to look at great players like Wayne Carey not tearing it apart in Kangaroos’ GF victories to see the precedent. West Coast had an era near the top of the ladder in the mid-2000s, walking away with a flag, with a very choppy forward setup. Even looking at the best forward of the modern era, Hawthorn’s Lance Franklin, you can see that although he chipped in, he wasn’t a big part of the Hawks 2008 triumph over the Cats.
Add to this the fact that Sydney has the best and stingiest back six in the league and you can see why they’d back themselves in to get the job done.
Once the Hawks make it to the big dance, they rarely stumble
Out of their past 15 Grand Final appearances, the Hawks have won 10. Out of Sydney’s last 7, they’ve won a solitary flag. A fair few of the Hawks 2008 premiership stars are either out or retired, but this side looks far more menacing.
Along with players like Hodge, Sam Mitchell, Lewis, Buddy and Sewell having outstanding years and more experience than before, they’ve got players they’ve brought in from elsewhere since then like Hale, spoiler extraordinaire Josh Gibson, Shaun Burgoyne and young forward Gunston, to name but a few.
Counterpoint: The modern Swans are a different side
Now, reading that, it’s easy to say that of course Hawthorn are too, which is true. But they as a side have more recently been in a Grand Final. While the Swans veterans will add incredibly useful experience to the side, the modern Sydney side is very much composed of role-players. That’s not to say there aren’t stars, it’s to say that everybody in the side has a certain role and is expected to perform it. This has been repeated a lot by Sydney players this season.
Even looking at Sydney’s 2005-2006 Grand Final appearances you can see this is a different side. While they’re still very strong defensively, they find space and hurt the opposition a lot more on the rebound than the mid 2000s side. They dictate the play on their terms and hurt the opposition with a superior game-plan. There’s also a lot more x-factor in the current side, and they’ve shown this season on multiple occasions they can kick a big score.
While a big score is unlikely in a Grand Final, it’s hard to see the Swans as the same as the dour, stoppage obsessed team that they were, whereas the Hawks still very much play a similar free-flowing attacking game to 2008.
Sydney won’t look into it, but the Hawks should be buoyed knowing that the Swans typically play below their standards at the MCG. Hawthon know the MCG like the back of their hand, while the Swans hardly know it at all. The brown and gold have won its past 11 games against interstate sides at the ground.
It might be considered a neutral venue due to the fan split being more even than in a home and away game, but the evidence is still damning.
Counterpoint: Sydney have proved they can match it with the Hawks on their turf
If the MCG is the Hawk’s kingdom, then Launceston is their fortress. But that didn’t stop a powerful 37 point victory by the Swans earlier this season there, breaking a 7-game winning streak at the ground for the Hawks. While it wasn’t to be the case the second-time around at the SCG, the Swans know that their best can match it with the Hawks.
The question is, if co-captain Adam Goodes and their coach believe the MCG is truly a neutral venue (compared to two venues which obviously weren’t), then will the third time be a charm?
Sam Mitchell has had his best season in 2012, and is one of many big game players
Despite not being captain anymore, Sam Mitchell has gone from strength to strength since the Hawks’ last premiership. Despite not being flashy, he puts in consistent hard, workmanlike performances and is one of the biggest keys in every Hawthorn victory. He very nearly snatched the Brownlow from Essendon’s Jobe Watson this season, and he never leaves anything on the field.
If he has a rare off-game in the Grand Final, then the Hawks can cover him with the likes of Sewell and returning captain Hodge, who won the Norm Smith in 2008. In round 22 Shaun Burgoyne played one of his best games since leaving Port Adelaide when Hawthorn triumphed in Sydney. There’s no shortage of tough players at Hawthorn.
Counterpoint: The Swans have no shortage either
Mitchell’s two least effective games this year have, unsurprisingly, came against Sydney. Kieran Jack went head-to-head with him on both occasions in a run-with role and came out on top. He is the general, and if they can shut him down again it goes a long way to winning. Hodge can replace him but may be needed elsewhere, and although Sewell has been fantastic this year doesn’t have the same presence Mitchell has.
The Swans, on the other hand, don’t seem to be worried by a drop in form of any one man. Josh Kennedy is their star midfielder, but co-captain Jarrad McVeigh, veteran Jude Bolton and youngster Dan Hannebery all shoulder the load with him equally.
Coach John Longmire knows how to address problems, and he will no doubt figure out a plan for Shaun Burgoyne. With how he played against them last time, the Hawks would be remiss not to use him in the same role again, and Longmire would be stupid to ignore it.
You could go on and on with comparisons in every facet of the field, but these two teams are incredibly well matched. The first time the Swans and the Hawks face off in a Grand Final couldn’t be better placed than it currently is.
A four-goal haul from Tom Hawkins and an all-round team performance were the hallmarks of Geelong’s 34-point victory over Sydney. After a tight opening half where Sydney managed to take the lead, the Cats were able to pull away near 3 quarter time by kicking eight unanswered goals to seal the win.
Geelong emphasised midfield quality rather than quantity. No Geelong player accumulated more than 30 disposals, but the quality of those touches was what got Geelong through, as players continually delivered to the forward 50. Further to this was the power of that forward 50, with both Hawkins and James Podsiadly providing marking threats and kicking their way clear.
Sydney did have some shining lights though. Jarrad McVeigh was a workhorse through the midfield and Sydney’s most damaging player, while Shane Mumford returned to Geelong once more and showed why Sydney traded for him from Geelong as he dominated the ruck contests. What does raise concerns was the shutdown of their most effective players. Lewis Jetta was tagged out of the game by Taylor Hunt, while Adam Goodes simply cannot get into games right now. Both will need to fire to challenge for the premiership.
Geelong, on the other hand, are the first side to finish outside the top four under the new system to have a genuine chance of winning the flag.
Geelong face Fremantle at the MCG next Saturday night, while Sydney take on Adelaide at AAMI Stadium next Saturday afternoon.
Saturday afternoon had the SCG hosting the match of the round this week, as the footy world had the rare privilege of witnessing a first versus second clash on the eve of the finals. With both sides looking to sure up home ground advantage for September, the attack on the man and the ball had all of the intensity of a final from the opening bounce.
The high pressure and contested style of footy suited the Swans to a tee in the first quarter, completely negating the Hawks natural game plan of controlling the ball. Craig Bird held Sam Mitchell to just three possessions, as John Longmire exposed Hawthorn’s lack of height in defence by starting Adam Goodes, Lewis Roberts-Thompson, Sam Reid and Mike Pyke inside the forward 50.
Josh Kennedy and Daniel Hannerbury were dominating in the clinches as the Swans led the contested possession count 54 to 39 at quarter time, resulting in 18 to 9 inside 50 count and a 26 point lead.
In the second quarter the intensity remained, although the game began to open up as the quarter progressed. Reid and Mumford continued to expose Hawthorn’s lack of tall defenders, and seven minutes in, Isaac Smith finally landed Hawthorn their first goal of the evening. It would be the first of a seven goal quarter for the Hawks, as their midfield led by Shaun Burgoyne began to adapt to the speed of the game and find space.
Lance Franklin after being beaten in several contests by Ted Richards in the first quarter also found another gear, kicking three goals as the Hawks completely turned the match around to be level until Nick Malceski goaled just before the main break.
In the second half the Hawks picked up there they left off, with goals to Paul Puopolo and Liam Shiels early on. The Swans responded with goals to Roberts-Thompson and Goodes, both once again courtesy of marks against significantly shorter opponents.
The footy remained hot throughout the third as Gunston snapped truly, and the stage was set for an epic at three quarter time with the Hawks leading by just four points.
It was hard to imagine it being possible at the time, but if anything the intensity actually lifted in the last quarter. If anyone had any doubts that either of these sides were genuine premiership contenders leading into this clash, all doubts surely must have been removed as the quarter progressed.
Kennedy somehow lifted a gear and his inside work was as good as it gets. Heath Grundy repelled attack after attack, and Jordan Lewis and Brad Sewell were at their uncompromising best.
With just over 2 minutes to go the game had risen to standards worthy of being called the game of the year. The Hawks led by a point….and then the game exploded.
With every kick seemingly under impossible pressure, Ryan O’Keefe somehow found a way to kick an exceptional goal from the pocket to give the Swans the lead. From the clearance the Hawks surged forward which led to Luke Hodge finding Burgoyne 35 metres out. A pressure set shot on goal if there ever was one, and Burgoyne delivered to once again give the Hawks the lead.
With one and a half minutes remaining the Hawks again won the centre clearance, this time resulting in Sewell launching a long bomb for a goal to finally decide this epic contest.
By the time the final siren sounded, the standard of footy from both sides was more than worthy of being labelled the game of the year. More accurately, this was a classic. Both sides were brilliant in what turned out to be a more than memorable seven point victory to the Hawks.
3 – Josh Kennedy
2 – Shaun Burgoyne
1 – Jordan Lewis
GOALS Sydney Swans: Goodes, Mumford, O’Keefe, Reid 2, Jack, Kennedy,
Malceski, McGlynn, McVeigh, Roberts-Thomson Hawthorn: Franklin 4, Burgoyne 3, Suckling, Puopolo 2, Gunston,
Sewell, Shiels, Smith
BEST Sydney Swans: O’Keefe, Goodes, Richards, Kennedy, Hannebery, Grundy Hawthorn: Burgoyne, Lewis, Birchall Franklin, Hodge, Young, Sewell
INJURIES Sydney Swans: TBC Hawthorn: TBC
SUBSTITUTES Sydney Swans: Lewis Roberts-Thomson replaced by Mitch Morton at
three-quarter time Hawthorn: Brendan Whitecross replaced by Xavier Ellis in the fourth quarter
Umpires: Donlon, McBurney, Margetts Official crowd: 31,167 at SCG
WHERE AND WHEN: SCG, Saturday August 25, 4.40pm LAST TIME: Sydney Swans 16.10 (106) d Hawthorn 10.9 (69), round five, 2012 at Aurora Stadium
In what looms as an absolutely mouth-watering clash of incredible importance, the Swans and the Hawks will do battle at the SCG on Saturday evening. Although we’ve seen first take on second towards the end of season as recently as Round 24 last season, unlike that game, this will be far from a dead rubber.
Last year Collingwood had top spot sewn up and summarily laid down to Geelong by 96 points. This year the stakes couldn’t be a higher. A Swans victory here sees, with their percentage, a home final firmly in their grasp and a tough first week assignment in Sydney for either the Hawks, Pies, Crows or Eagles. A Hawks victory means they take top spot and leave Sydney facing an away final in their first week due to the Crows easy run home.
For the Swans it has been a season of utter cohesiveness as a team; big improvement from their young brigade, powerful performances by their core and consistently strong performances by their veterans. They haven’t made it this far by virtue of an overly soft draw or by coasting along.
For the Hawks it’s been an up and down season, a slow start and a blitzing finish, with shock thumpings by teams like Richmond and absolute trouncings of September teams like North Melbourne. They are a force to be reckoned with on their day, which seems to be most days in 2012.
The Swans won easily by 37 points in Tasmania earlier this year, with their midfield brigade getting all over the Hawks. Josh Kennedy was sublime against his old club and his recent form doesn’t bode well for Hawthorn.
Hawthorn were sloppy against the Gold Coast Suns last weekend but did what needed to be done. Apart from that their ability to kick gigantic scores seemingly at will with their army of forwards and goal-kicking mids (and hell, back-line players like Suckling and Schoenmakers) will test any backline, even the stoic and strong one the Swans possess.
The SCG is sold out and the teams are ready. All that remains is four quarters of footy.
Adam Goodes (SYD) – The Swans superstar hasn’t had his best season, but was fantastic against the Bulldogs last weekend with 22 touches and three goals. With Sam Reid available for selection the club’s new games played record holder should be able to play his roaming goal-kicking role to good effect if Hawthorn let him.
Lewis Jetta (SYD) – His status as an almost certain All-Australian is in jeporady and this is the perfect game for him to show he belongs there. After a quiet month he needs a big game and if the Hawks become pre-occupied and let him run free he will do serious damage.
Lance Franklin (HAW) – Will he or won’t he? With all the Buddy speculation aside, he needs to play this weekend. The Hawks have got it done using Schoenmakers as a target supported by Gunston, but Sydney aren’t the Port Adelaide’s or Gold Coast’s of the world.
Luke Bruest (HAW) – The Sydney rugby league product has become an incredibly consistent small forward. You can almost always rely on him to kick 2+ goals with ease and he’s capable of bigger bags along with good pressure. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Cyril Rioli is out, so one of the best small defenders in the competition, Nick Smith, will make it a very tough night for Bruest.
Another blow-out looms for battling Bulldogs, with the Swans eyeing their fourth consecutive victory over the Dogs in the first clash between the two clubs at Etihad Stadium. The Dogs have to avoid their ninth straight loss in a row after a disappointing result against the Tigers last week.
The Sydney Swans’ nine-match winning streak was broken by Collingwood last Saturday night but the Swans still hold top spot by percentage from Adelaide and the Magpies. With stars like Adam Goodes and Lewis Jetta desperate to atone for sub-par performances last week, they will be hellbent on bouncing back in style. This game may have repercussions on the Swans position on the ladder also with the Hawks in the rear view mirror with a superior percentage. A massive win is needed to consolidate a spot in the top four.
WHY SHOULD YOU TUNE IN?
Western Bulldogs: The end of the season can’t come quick enough for the depleted Bulldogs. Brendan McCartney’s men have not tasted a win since their Round 12 victory against Port Adelaide. Making matters worse, their losses over the past eight weeks have been by an average of almost 10 goals. The Dogs’ have been deplorable after half-time in their past eight games, being outscored by 56 goals (81.48 to just 26.42). Last week against Richmond they appeared to have cured their affliction when they kicked five quick goals in the third term to get back within six points. Then they conceded 11 of the last 12 goals.
The dual All Australian full-back in Brian Lake, along with fellow veteran defender Robert Murphy, have been the Bulldogs’ most consistent players in 2012. After a treacherous 2011 under former coach Rodney Eade, Lake has consistently given his all despite the Dogs’ gloomy season. He has also shown he can be a competitive forward in recent weeks and will again come under strong consideration for a berth in the All-Australian team.
Dylan Addison has also gone forward, exposing the Dogs’ defense, but giving great experience to developing youngsters like Jordan Roughead, Michael Talia, Fletcher Roberts and Jason Johannisen.
Sydney: Adam Goodes has found himself under a little heat this week following a poor display against Collingwood. The champion co-captain was undoubtedly well below his best, but you can’t keep a champion down, so don’t be surprised if the dual Brownlow Medallist has a blinder on Sunday. With tough matches against Hawthorn and Geelong approaching before the finals, the Swans will want to flex their muscle.
Having spent the past six weeks atop the ladder, the Swans are one loss away from a slide down an incredibly tight table. Finishing the season with tough games against the Hawks and Cats only emphasises their situation. So the Swans will have their eyes on a percentage and confidence-boosting trip to Melbourne this week.
Sydney’s nine-match winning streak was broken by Collingwood last Saturday night, but the Swans still hold top spot by percentage from Adelaide and the Magpies. Considering the Hawks and Eagles are still in position to make up ground, the Crows have an easy run, and the Pies should pencil in at least two of their last three; Sydney must play well to avoid coming into the run home from hell in average form.
Dogs need to end the season on a high note. Regardless of youngsters or not, they need to show effort that takes the heat off this young side. They can’t go into 2013 on a sour note and have such a poor second half to the year lingering on over the off-season.
Unfortunately, they run into the best Swans team in recent memory and it might be a long afternoon.
Swans by 78.
B: Lukas Markovic, Jordan Roughead, Fletcher Roberts
HB: Easton Wood, Brian Lake, Robert Murphy
C: Ryan Griffen, Matthew Boyd, Liam Picken
HF: Dylan Addison, Tory Dickson, Daniel Giansiracusa
F: Jason Johannisen, Ayce Cordy, Shaun Higgins
Foll: William Minson, Clay Smith, Mitchell Wallis
I/C: Adam Cooney, Liam Jones, Nathan Djerrkura, Zephaniah Skinner, Michael Talia, Lin Jong, Tom Campbell
In: Adam Cooney, Ryan Griffen, Shaun Higgins, Easton Wood, Ayce Cordy, Liam Jones, Lukas Markovic
Out: Ryan Hargrave (Suspension), Jarrad Grant, Andrew Hooper, Justin Sherman
B: Rhyce Shaw, Heath Grundy, Alex Johnson
HB: Nicholas Smith, Ted Richards, Martin Mattner
C: Nick Malceski, Jarrad McVeigh, Lewis Jetta
HF: Daniel Hannebery, Lewis Roberts-Thomson, Ryan O’Keefe
F: Craig Bird, Sam Reid, Adam Goodes
Foll: Shane Mumford, Josh P. Kennedy, Kieren Jack
I/C: Brett Meredith, Mike Pyke, Ben McGlynn, Luke Parker, Matt Spangher, Mitch Morton, Tony Armstrong
In: Brett Meredith, Sam Reid, Matt Spangher, Mitch Morton
Out: Trent Dennis-Lane
The Swans have continued on their merry way as they march towards a home final, doing what was needed against a solid Carlton at Etihad on Sunday.
Their 22-point victory leaves Carlton with little hope of making the finals after a commanding start to the season but it’s not all doom and gloom at the Blues.
Carlton never said die during the game; just as the Swans looked to kick away, they managed to claw their way back into it. Sydney’s midfield just proved too powerful in the end.
The Blues welcomed back Jarrad Waite, Kade Simpson and Zack Tuohy and they were important additions, especially Waite. The often injured key forward kicked three goals and strengthened Carlton’s structures throughout.
Still, the Swans were impressive enough in veteran Ryan O’Keefe’s 250th game and had some standout performances. 2010 Rising Star Daniel Hannebery continued a fantastic 2012 campaign, racking up 31 disposals and kicking 2 important goals.
He was ably assisted by Jarrad McVeigh (28 disposals, 1 goal), Kieran Jack (26 disposals, 8 tackles, 1 goal) and a cameo through the centre by Nick Malceski.
Up forward, Sydney were missing young key forward Sam Reid through injury, but used Lewis Roberts-Thomson (2 goals) as a useful tall while Ben McGlynn (22 disposals, 3 goals) crumbed and provided good support.
Sydney also easily won the ruck battle, with Shane Mumford and Mike Pyke taking the honours against a solid Matthew Kreuzer.
The Blues fought back in the second half of each quarter – bar the third – to close the gap. After being 21 points down at the half, they managed only one goal in the third and found themselves behind by 32.
However, they powered home towards the end and the margin could have been closer if it were not for some poor kicking.
The resurgance of Brock McLean through the middle continued for Carlton, as he racked up 29 disposals and 8 tackles. Bryce Gibbs started the game on Adam Goodes and was solid. He finished strongly in an impressive performance.
While Waite got free and led well, young Carlton forward Levi Casboult was well held by Ted Richards and restricted to one goal. Underrated defender Nick Smith also forced Eddie Betts to push up the ground. Carlton often bombed the ball forward to a parade of red and white awaiting the ball gleefully.
Sydney will be happy to get the win, although it isn’t all smiles at Bloods-land, with veteran Jude Bolton going down with a knee injury, possibly robbing him of a 300th at the SCG. Carlton didn’t escape unscathed either with key defender Michael Jamison tweaking a sore hamstring.
Could the betting market be following the Weekly Punt? Only three value lines found this week but we only bet when there is value. It is the reason why this weekly article has shown you how to almost quadruple your stake in just over three months.
The Weekly Punt is starting to really like the Suns now, beating the lines in four of their last six games. The play Melbourne whose off-field drama never seems to end with the lastest accusations of their tanking. The Suns will only add fuel to the fire if they are to beat the Demons this week; The +21.5 line this week for Gold Coast is our bet of the round given they should win this game.
The western derby earlier this year was a whitewash in favour of Worsfold’s team after been close in the first half. West Coast still has significant outs and recently not beaten any top teams and only just getting over the line against the Blues and Roos. Expect Lyon’s team to overturn the result with their superstar Fyfe back; Fremantle for the +17.5 line is a sure thing.
The Swans continue to pay out on the lines due to the market continually underrating them. Why this is so we do not know; what we do know is that we will continue to collect money of a team which is somehow flying under the radar despite been almost fully fit and on top of the ladder. The Blues still have significant outs and the -16.5 line for Sydney will be wrong for the 6th week in a row.
Current Betting Fund: $3,712.50. Total staked so far: $1,003.50