Swans Set Sail For Perth

Image courtesy of dailytelegraph.com.au/Phil Hillyard
Jude Bolton remains one of the Swans' most consistent players. Image courtesy of dailytelegraph.com.au/Phil Hillyard
Last Five Matches

Round 16, 2012 – Sydney 121 d West Coast 69 at Patersons Stadium
Round 3, 2011 – Sydney 101 d West Coast 88 at Patersons Stadium
Round 5, 2010 – Sydney 115 d West Coast 63 at SCG
Round 8, 2009 – Sydney 106 d West Coast 101 at ANZ Stadium
Round 11, 2008 – Sydney 83 d West Coast 78 at Patersons Stadium


Form

     Rd 12       Rd 13       Rd 14       Rd 15       Rd 16   
West Coast    B  L  L  W  L
Sydney   B  L  W  W  W

After three weeks of below-par performances which featured a loss to Port Adelaide and slightly shoddy wins over Carlton and Melbourne, the Swans were back on song in the Battle of the Bridge. GWS had no answer as Sydney thumped the new kids on the block by 129 points . It was probably the best type of training run ahead of a gruelling trip across the Nullabor.

West Coast has lost three of its last four, but those defeats have come at the hands of Hawthorn, Essendon and Fremantle, and the Eagles have been well and truly in with a winning chance in each of those matches. Sandwiched between those defeats was a six-point win in Adelaide over the Crows.

While they’re in decent enough form, injuries have hit the Eagles at the wrong time of the year. In saying that, they welcome back Sharrod Wellingham and Luke Shuey for Sunday’s game. Andrew Embley is out due to suspension, as is Sydney small forward Ben McGlynn.


Key Men

(Eagles) Jack Darling – Josh Kennedy probably gets more attention, partially because of his awkward set shot routine, but make no mistake, the Eagles’ other key forward is just as lethal. Jack Darling has 35 goals to his name this season, including the five he booted in the derby loss to Freo last weekend. With Adam Goodes and Sam Reid out, Sydney all of a sudden looks a little light on for big men so Ted Richards and Co. will have to pull out all stops if the Eagles can get some decent supply to their forwards.

(Swans) Mike Pyke – The recent return of Shane Mumford must have been music to the ears of Mike Pyke , who after an outstanding start to the year was showing signs of slowing down the past month. Pyke responded with three goals against GWS, but he and big ‘Mummy’ face the toughest ruck test in the league this Sunday against Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui.


Prediction

There is a great rivalry between these two teams after a pair of grand final thrillers in the middle of last decade. Sydney has had the wood on West Coast in recent times, though, winning the last six clashes between the teams. Heading west holds no fear for the premiers, either. The Bloods have returned home with the points on four of their past five visits to Perth, and last year they hammered the Eagles by 52 points at Patersons Stadium. With no Scott Selwood in the clinches and Shannon Hurn rebounding from defence, the only area the home side has the advantage is up forward. If Cox and Nic Nat dominate the ruck and give their mids first use of the ball, the Eagles will be able to keep things close. That’s a big if, though, against the other top ruck duo in the league. Sydney by 19 points .

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