Battle Of Low Flying Birds

Picture: Wayne Ludbey/News Limited
The Crows and the Swans are hoping to avoid an 0-3 start to the season. Picture: Wayne Ludbey/News Limited

ADELAIDE v SYDNEY

Adelaide Oval

Saturday April 5, 1:10pm (AEST) 

Why watch?
Preliminary finalists in 2012, both these clubs have had tough starts to the new season. Sydney are 14th with a 0-2 record despite recruiting Lance Franklin, while the Crows are in 16th after their Showdown capitulation to Port. That doesn't seem like a great reason to watch but one imagines both teams will go hell-for-leather to make up lost ground in this contest.

Match notes
- No club has made the finals under their own steam after going 0-2 since North Melbourne in 2007. However this stat is somewhat misleading as Carlton made the finals last year from 0-3, although they were given a helping hand by Essendon.
- People writing off Sydney after they've gone 0-2 should take note of a few other years when the Swans had poor starts. In 2005 they lost four of their first six and we all know what happened then, while 2006 saw them lose three of their first four.
- Adelaide will be hoping for a friendlier Adelaide Oval than what they received last week from Port. The Power denied them sufficient car parks and a a post-match function room and gave every person who attended a free Port t-shirt. One wonders what Nigel Smart and co have in store for the next showdown.
- Sydney's second halves are a serious cause for concern for John Longmire. His side hasn't been able to stop run-ons from either GWS or Collingwood and have scored 5.12 (42) to 15.20 (110) in second halves so far this year.
- Adelaide shouldn't be laughing about that last stat so much. Having worked hard to get their noses in front against Port, they conceded 13 of the game's last 16 goals.

Say what?
"One of the real issues on the weekend was our composure going forward," said Sydney coach John Longmire as his midfielders failed to take advantage of Franklin having a real dip. Buddy scored two goals and beautifully set up Harry Cunningham for another and was keeping his side in the contest.

Last five games (includes 2013 season)
Adelaide
L 17 Western Bulldogs
W 68 Melbourne
W 86 West Coast
L 38 Geelong
L 55 Port Adelaide
Sydney
L 54 Hawthorn
W 24 Carlton
L 25 Fremantle
L 32 GWS
L 20 Collingwood

Fantasy factoid
The Swans are well down on hit-outs this season as Shane Mumford's absence has taken its toll. The Swans averaged 47 last year and are now going at 40. But that's not for lack of trying from Mike Pyke who was Sydney's best fantasy performer on the weekend.

Cold hard fact
A 0-3 record will be pretty tough for any side to overcome if they want to make finals this season, given the logjam of sides that could potentially make the eight.

Final word
Adelaide are struggling with their forward structure, Patrick Dangerfield's impact is being reduced through heavy tags and they're severely undermanned for this encounter. Sydney, on the other hand, were pretty good for much of the night against Collingwood and should get the job done here. But if the Crows get up, consider it one of their best wins in recent times. Sydney by 14