Swans And Bombers Clash In Blockbuster

Image courtesy of www.heraldsun.com.au
Adam Goodes has had an emotion week following the racism saga. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au
Last Five Meetings

Round 11, 2012 – Sydney 86 d Essendon 82 (Etihad Stadium)
Round 20, 2011 – Essendon 100 d Sydney 99 (Etihad Stadium)
Round 2, 2011 – Sydney 98 d Essendon 93 (ANZ Stadium)
Round 11, 2010 – Sydney 89 d Essendon 80 (SCG)
Round 15, 2009 – Essendon 107 d Sydney 72 (SCG)


Form

     Rd 5       Rd 6       Rd 7       Rd 8       Rd 9   
Sydney   W  W  L  D  W
Essendon   W  W  L  L  W

Sydney has had a serious test of its premiership credentials the past three weeks and has come out of a run of matches against Hawthorn, Fremantle and Collingwood with a win, a draw and a loss. The blockbusters match-ups continue this weekend with Essendon heading to the SCG, a ground where the Bombers have won on two of their last three visits.

Both teams will be without their star, young key forwards. Michael Hurley’s ankle flared up again in the win over Richmond, while Swans big man Sam Reid will miss a couple of weeks with a torn quad muscle. Hurley’s absence will probably be felt more; as shown against Brisbane a couple of weeks back when he was substituted early in the match, the Bombers tend to lose their shape a bit going forward when he’s not providing a leading target.

Essendon has named Scott Gumbleton to replace Hurley. The Swans have brought in Tom Mitchell, the son of former gun Bloods midfielder Barry, to make his AFL debut. Mitchell has cracked the 50-possession mark in his last two starts in the NEAFL.


Key Men

(Swans) Adam Goodes – There is very little in the game that Adam Goodes can’t do, and he even showed his class off the field last weekend following the racism furore which followed his encounter with a 13-year-old Magpies supporter. The saga that followed involving Collingwood president Eddie McGuire has apparently hurt the two-time Brownlow Medallist, but you would think he is too much of a seasoned pro to let that incident affect him moving forward, and his recent form is top shelf. Against three teams almost sure to make the top eight the past three weeks, he has averaged 28 touches per game and eight marks. At 33 years of age he should be slowing down, but there few signs yet that he is nearing the end of his storied career. He missed the last match between these teams but the Swans managed to sneak home by four points.

(Bombers) Jobe Watson – He didn’t quite match the statistical numbers of Brent Stanton and Brendon Goddard last week, but there was little doubt Jobe Watson had the greatest influence on last week’s win over a listless Richmond. The reigning Brownlow Medal winner has had 30-plus possessions the last two times these teams have met, and the Swans will need to do a shutdown job on the Bombers’ skipper to limit his influence.


Prediction

The last four games between these teams have been absolute thrillers decided by less than 10 points. The Bombers have had a much easier run the past month, but as the Bloods showed in the 2012 finals series, they thrive slugging it out in high intensity matches. The teams met in similar circumstances last season with Sydney just outside the top four and Essendon sitting pretty with just two losses to its name. The Swans got home in that one and given their incredible midfield depth, they should be able to outlast the Bombers on their favoured SCG. Swans by 8 points

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