Swans Set To Unfurl Flag

Image courtesy of dailytelegraph.com.au/Phil Hillyard
Sydney fans will watch the club unfurl its 2012 premiership flag on Saturday. Image courtesy of dailytelegraph.com.au/Phil Hillyard
Last 2 Meetings

Round 18, 2012 – Sydney Swans 126 d Gold Coast Suns 54
Round 16, 2011 – Sydney Swans 106 d Gold Coast Suns 36


Form

  Rd 1 
 Sydney   W
 Gold Coast   W


Seriously, the Swans could not have asked for a softer start to their premiership defence if they’d tried. While Hawthorn slugs it out with the rest of last season’s top eight across the first two months of the season, Sydney gets to take on the teams that finished last and second last in 2012.

Considering the Swans allowed around 70 points per game last season, it is no surprise that the misers of the AFL have conceded just 12 goals in two games against the Suns , with both matches played on the Gold Coast. Whether the Swans were caught napping in the second quarter last week, or the GWS Giants just had the momentum when they kicked five straight goals is a moot point, but you would imagine John Longmire will be even less tolerant of such an occurrence in round two against a team which is slightly ahead in its development.

The Suns won just nine out of 44 quarters in the second half of matches last season, so it was an impressive comeback to beat the Saints by 13 after trailing by 19 at the half . They still aren’t getting much out of their key forwards, but when Gary Ablett Jnr puts in a Rolls Royce performance with 34 touches, nine clearances and four goals, then it can be overlooked. Fremantle recruit Greg Broughton has been ruled out with a calf problem with Jack Hutchins coming in to the squad.


Key Men

(Sydney) Josh Kennedy – If you want a man with you in the clinches, then how about this statistic. Of Josh Kennedy’s 28 possessions against the Giants, 24 of those were contested. He is incredible in tight and could wreak havoc against the young bodies of the Gold Coast midfield. If Jaeger O’Meara wants to learn a thing or two about what it takes to be an elite inside mid, then he could do much worse than spending part of this game in close quarters with the Swans’ No. 12.

(Suns) Zac Smith – Went toe-to-toe with Ben McEvoy last week and that match-up probably finished even on points. This week he goes up against the second best ruck tandem in the league, Shane Mumford and Mike Pyke. Both men are happy to rest in the forward line so it will also be up to the Suns’ talls at the back to keep them off the scoreboard.


Prediction

The Swans were just in a different class when they met the Suns in round 18 last season, but given the number of upsets in round 1, Guy McKenna would possibly feel now is as good a time as any to get the reigning premier. Sydney’s hardness at the ball and defensive pressure is probably the exact opposite of what the Suns would like to face, and they’ll also have to adjust to the slightly different dimensions of the SCG. Swans by 45 points

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