Josh Kennedy plays his 100th game for the Swans this weekend. Picture: Anthony Reginato/dailytelegraph.com.au
SYDNEY v COLLINGWOOD
Saturday March 29, 6.40pm (AEST)
Both teams are looking to make amends after shoddy efforts in Round 1 and are likely to throw the kitchen sink at each other to avoid going 0-2. There's no end of intrigue here either, especially as we all look for signs of Lance Franklin's settling into the Sydney set-up or still having blues with Ryan O'Keefe. Magpies' fans on the other hand will be hoping former Swan Jesse White slots into the forward line nicely as he makes his Collingwood debut alongside Travis Cloke. The pair looked a very promising combination pre-season but can they take that form into the real deal?
Match notes- Nathan Buckley felt the Pies weren't overly sharp with their defensive work in a 70-point Round 1 loss to Fremantle. Yet they still posted 83 tackles, the second best of any club. Whether those tackles were effective or not is another thing.
- John Longmire was signed to a two-year contract extension this week. He has the runs on the board with the 2012 flag but the speculation over Buddy being worth the price-tag is far from over and it looks like Longmire will be the man to wear it.
- Franklin's relationship with Dan Hannebery has been the big talking point since Sydney were schooled by GWS. Stories circulating in Sin City are that Buddy is leading him astray somewhat and several Swans fans have taken to forums to say Hannebery should be dropped as a big boot up the backside after a lean first game of 2014.
Say what? "No Idea," was John Longmire's response when asked whether a clash between O'Keefe and Franklin at training was the reason for O'Keefe's shock axing from the initial selected Round 1 side.
Last five games (includes 2013 season)
W 17 Gold Coast
W 53 Essendon
L 66 Geelong
L 62 Collingwood
L 86 Adelaide
L 35 Sydney
W 28 Carlton
W 17 Adelaide
L 7 Brisbane
W 20 Melbourne
Last five between clubs
Coll, Syd, Syd, Coll, Coll
Dane Swan doesn't struggle against many teams but last year he recorded under 100 points on just five occasions, but two of those occurred against Sydney. As a result, Dayne Beams might be you go-to man for this clash against Sydney as he was good last week against Fremantle but has some impressive Fantasy runs on the board at ANZ Stadium.
Cold hard fact
Collingwood have won 11 of the last 13 against Sydney.
Neither of the sides want to be chasing tail so early in the season but one of them might be 0-2 come the end of the weekend with a few worries. Sure, teams have recovered from this position to make finals but it doesn't make things any easier. That's especially so with these teams. If you're meant to be a premiership favourite like Sydney is, the pressure will be amping up on Longmire. While for Collingwood it may just be a clear indication that the club is in rebuild mode for this season. Either way, this could be one serious battle as the Pies are likely to bring in four quality players in White, Sam Dwyer, Alex Fasolo and Jarryd Blair but one thinks Buddy – a player who loves belting up the Magpies – and his Sydney team-mates may be too strong.
Sydney by 15 points
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