Adelaide v Sydney Qualifying Final

Picture: Wayne Ludbey/News Limited
Patrick Dangerfield could prove to be the Crows' main weapon against the Swans. Image courtesy of News Limited/Wayne Ludbey

Based on their recent records, Adelaide , with four wins from its last five, appears to have come in to the finals in much better form than Sydney , which has limped across the line with three losses in four games. Looks can be deceiving, though; the Crows had a soft run with five straight games against teams outside the eight, while the Swans went toe-to-toe with the Magpies, Hawks and Cats over the last month.

One thing that can’t be ignored, though, is Sydney’s record against Adelaide. Two wins in their last 14 encounters doesn’t make for good reading, and they have won just once at AAMI Stadium since 2001.

The Bloods’ cause hasn’t been helped by the suspension of key defender Heath Grundy. Ted Richards is almost a lock for an All-Australian spot, but he’ll need some help down back to contain both Kurt Tippett  and New South Wales-bred Taylor Walker , who kicked five against the Swans earlier in the year. Even if they manage to keep the talls under wraps, goalsneaks such as Ian Callinan , Jason Porplyzia and Graham Johncock will be there to swoop on any crumbs.

The Swans have a good spread of goalkickers, too, with the likes of Lewis Jetta , Adam Goodes  and Sam Reid  , but they’ve had trouble keeping the scoreboard ticking over of late. Sydney cracked the 100-mark 12 times this season, but only managed it once in the last five rounds.

Where it Will be Won - The Swans the No. 1 ranked contested football team in the AFL, and the Crows are just behind in second, so don’t expect an avalanche of points. The tight confines of the SCG suit the Swannies' style of play, but they may struggle to contain Adelaide’s spread on a much bigger ground.  This might allow a speed demon like Patrick Dangerfield  to wreak havoc, especially if his gun inside mids like Scott Thompson  and Rory Sloane  win their fair share of the ball, as they did in the Round 6 clash picking up 31 and 29 disposals, respectively.

By the Numbers - Look for the Crows  to get off to a fast start. They average 30 points in opening quarters this season, and have won 15 of 22 overall.  They led 32-8 at the first break at the SCG in their only clash with the Swans this season.  Don’t completely rule out the Swans, though, as they are 9-1 in day games in 2012, which is the equal-best record in the competition, alongside the Cats.

Prediction – The Swans are struggling to kick a winning score at the moment, and it doesn’t get any easier against the likes of Ben Rutten and Rising Star winner Daniel Talia. Adelaide 1-24

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