Photo : afl.com.au
SCG, Saturday July 12, 7:40pm AEST
Saturday night at the SCG sees ladder leader Sydney taking on 13th placed Carlton. The Swans are aiming for what would be a club record equaling 12th win after a hard fought 28 point victory on a drenched Patterson Stadium against the Eagles last week, while the Blues broke a 5 game losing streak of their own with an 85 point thumping of the Saints at Etihad.
The Blues form hasn’t been quite as bad as that recent record might suggest, apart from disastrous losses to Brisbane and GWS they ran both Geelong and last week Collingwood close in those losses, and had their chances to win both. The much needed win over the Saints came on the back of a best on ground performance from recruit Andrejs Everitt, 4 goals from each of Lachie Henderson, Levi Casboult and Simon White, while the classy Chris Yarron slotted 3.
Casboult continues his growth into a promising power forward, his kicking will likely forever be a problem but few have hands of the quality that he does. He’s definitely worth persisting with and shouldn’t be moved from his key forward post for the rest of the season.
After a slow start to the season Everitt meanwhile has been in his team’s best 4 of the last 7 weeks, more than justifying his recruitment from the Swans prior to this season. He’s always had the potential to be a gamebreaker and can hopefully use the last last half a dozen games of this season as a launching pad into next, when he won’t be worried about fitting in at his new club.
The Swans meanwhile have taken all before them in an 11 game winning streak and will be hoping to make it 12 straight for the third time in the club’s long history. It was a tough slog on a soggy Patterson Stadium last week but they were rarely threatened in disposing of the Eagles, with former Hawk Ben McGlynn edging out super impressive youngster Luke Parker for best on ground honors, while Josh Kennedy continued another brilliant season in the red and white with 25 touches. Parker at 21 is already just about an A-grader and these days spends more and more time in the midfield after spending many of his earlier games as a defensive forward. He still manages to kick goals though, 2 more against West Coast taking him to 16 for the season.
Speaking of goals it’s impossible to talk Sydney without talking Buddy Franklin. He’s been in sensational form recently but only managed 1 in the wet last week to take his season total to 41, putting him 3rd in the race to the Coleman Medal. The Hawks might be going alright without Buddy, but up and going there are few if any better to watch, and he’s delivered for the Swans on that long contract for this year at least.
The Swans have made just one change with youngster Zak Jones going out with an Achilles injury, making way for first gamer Dean Towers. Towers is a remarkable story, a late bloomer he was drafted at 22 prior to last season. He was an emergency 3 times in his first season but couldn’t crack it for a game, and then was an emergency seemingly every week for the first half of this season before breaking a rib just as he was on the verge of selection. It’s taken him a long time to get his big chance.
The Blues have lost one of their leaders in Andrew Carrazzo to yet another injury – this time a quad, while talented youngster Troy Menzel goes out with a shoulder. David Ellard and Nick Graham get another chance, preferred by coach Mick Malthouse over goal sneak Jeff Garlett who remains an emergency.
The Blues were impressive in their demolition of St Kilda last week and aren’t as bad as their record for the season might indicate, but the Swans at home is an uphill battle for anyone. Containing Franklin, veteran Adam Goodes and Sam Reid looks a big ask for an undersized Carlton backline, with swingman Lachie Henderson likely to see some time at both ends of the ground. Champion Chris Judd along with skipper Marc Murphy and Bryce Gibbs will have to have huge nights in the midfield for the Blues to have any chance.
Our Prediction – Sydney by 32 points.
Last Time – 1 SF, 2013, Sydney Swans 13.8 (86) d Carlton 8.14 (62) at ANZ Stadium