Big Guns Battle In Sydney

Image courtesy of dailytelegraph.com.au/Phil Hillyard/Herald Sun
Jarrad McVeigh has been inspirational for Sydney. Image courtesy of dailytelegraph.com.au/Phil Hillyard/Herald Sun
Last Five Meetings

Round 8, 2012 – Hawthorn Hawks 119 d Fremantle Dockers 63
Round 13, 2012 – Sydney Swans 80 d Geelong Cats 74
Round 23, 2011 – Sydney Swans 99 d Geelong Cats 86
Round 4, 2011 – Geelong Cats 81 d Sydney Swans 54
Round 18, 2010 – Geelong Cats 125 d Sydney Swans 72


Form

     Rd 1       Rd 2       Rd 3   
Sydney   W  W  W
Geelong   W  W  W


Given how well these teams have started, this match seriously looks like a toss of the coin. Sydney had its first real test of the season against North Melbourne in Hobart on Saturday and passed it with flying colours thanks to an amazing 11-goal third term. Geelong , however, managed to win its third tight match in a row withstanding several mini-fightbacks from Carlton to get up by 16 .

The Swans have cracked the 100-mark in all three games this season, although two of those scores were posted against GWS and Gold Coast. Even so, John Longmire is getting great production from his midfielders, with Kieren Jack , Jarrad McVeigh and Jude Bolton each leading the goalkicking tally in a match so far this season. It has offset slow starts from Sam Reid and Lewis Jetta who have only kicked two majors each in three games.

Geelong didn’t start slowly as it had done in both previous matches against Hawthorn and the Kangaroos, the Cats certainly didn’t jump out of the blocks in the first three quarters. They did finish off each term, though; in the first and second quarters Geelong kicked the last first goals on both occasions, then in the third period they nailed the last three. Sydney won’t fade away in the same fashion as the Blues, though. The Cats may lack some foot speed, too, having lost Travis Varcoe for possibly three months with a shoulder injury. Recruit Jared Rivers returns to the side after two weeks out with a knee problem.


Key Men

(Swans) Jarrad McVeigh – Last year’s grand final win would be pretty hard to top, but arguably the most emotional victory of Jarrad McVeigh’s career came in a game he didn’t even play in. In round 23, 2011, Sydney snapped Geelong’s 29-game winning streak at home just days after McVeigh lost his baby girl Luella to a heart condition. It also ended a streak of nine straight defeats to Geelong. McVeigh was the Swans’ best against the Cats last season – also in round 23 – as he picked up 32 touches and two goals. The co-captain has been pivotal in wins the past fortnight over the Suns and Kangaroos. His leadership and toughness will be vital against the Cats.

(Cats) Steve Johnson – The Cats are a very good football without Steve Johnson . With him, they’re a premiership contender. He doesn’t always put up the most spectacular numbers (although he did have 26 disposals against the Blues), but Johnson can do things most players can’t. He moved in to the midfield when the heat was on in the third quarter and was instrumental in Geelong regaining its momentum. Not bad for a guy playing his first game of the season after minor knee surgery.


Prediction

It’s no secret both of these teams have ageing lists – the Swans are the oldest by average age and the Cats sixth – but their respective starts give the impression neither is slowing down just yet. Geelong dominated this match-up between 2006 and 2011, but the Swans have won two of the past three, including a six-point win at the SCG in the corresponding game last season. Both sides have had scares in games but have found ways to win, although Sydney has been able to lift a gear each week given its draw. Geelong has won four of the past five in the Harbour City, but the Swans may sneak home with their ability to contain the Cats defensively. Geelong also comes in to the game off its third straight six-day break to start the season. Swans by 12 points


Click here to bet on AFL Round 4 Matches