Where and When: Saturday, 1pm AEDT Blacktown International Sports Park
While both the Swans and the Suns suffered close losses last weekend, it’s the Suns who will be looking more for redemption after being beaten by their little brothers in the first clash of the new clubs.
With both sides looking towards round one, winning the ruck comprehensively as they did against the Giants will be important for the Suns. Smith and Gorringe will have a much tougher battle, coming up against one of the AFL’s most prominent ruckman in Mumford and the rapidly improving Mike Pyke.
Unfortunately, the rest of the Suns side will have to carry the burden of the scoreboard, with the Swans’ Sam Reid (who had a fantastic outing against the Bombers with 4 goals) becoming a real focal point for Sydney up forward.
Add the return of Ben McGlynn, Harry Cunningham (2 goals from 3 kicks last weekend), goalsneaks Lewis Jetta and Gary Rohan, midfielder Luke Parker (2 goals playing mostly on-ball last weekend) and the great Adam Goodes and it becomes a daunting task for the Suns.
This leaves them with a real dilemma in terms of where the Suns want to apply pressure. Nathan Bock, their rock in defense, isn’t playing this weekend and their next most experienced defender Campell Brown was easily their most dangerous up forward against the Giants.
Guy ‘Bluey’ McKenna will most likely play his strongest side, so it will be interesting to see if Brown is considered as a regular small to medium-forward option or if he’ll return to the back-line.
Luckily for the Suns their skipper and arguably the best player in the league, Gary Ablett returns to marshall their midfield.
He comes in at the expense of Michael Rischitelli who is out with the flu, but considering he looked underdone last weekend it shouldn’t hurt the Suns too much.
David Swallow and Karmichael Hunt were revelations last weekend, with Swallow having one of the best games he’s played in his short career (27 disposals, 6 clearances, 6 inside 50s, 2 goals) and Hunt looking completely different to the often ineffective defender he was last year, being used as an in-and-under extractor to very good effect.
The Swans have a strong midfield, but if the Suns can get the above 3 to fire along with Sam Iles, Dion Prestia, Jared Brennan and Jarrad Harbrow, they should be up to the task.
Ablett has the ability to tear the game apart with ease if given half a chance and Jaeger O’Meara has his last chance of 2012 to show his skill.
It’s most probable the Swans will be too focused on their round 1 preparations mentally to let this one slip through their fingers after a close loss, and their experience and firepower should prove too much for the Suns.
Swans by 24.
2. Rhyce Shaw, 3. Jarrad McVeigh, 4. Daniel Hannebery, 9. Nick Malceski, 11. Jed Lamb, 12. Josh Kennedy, 13. Andrejs Everitt, 14. Craig Bird, 15. Kieren Jack, 16. Gary Rohan, 20. Sam Reid, 21. Ben McGlynn, 24. Jude Bolton, 25. Ted Richards, 26. Luke Parker, 29. Martin Mattner, 30. Lewis Roberts-Thomson, 32. Lewis Jetta, 34. Alex Johnson, 37. Adam Goodes, 38. Mike Pyke, 39. Heath Grundy, 40. Nick Smith, 41. Shane Mumford, 44. Harry Cunningham
1. Jaeger O’Meara, 2. Zac Smith, 3. Jared Brennan, 4. Maverick Weller, 5. Jarrod Harbrow, 7. Karmichael Hunt, 8. Luke Russell, 9. Gary Ablett, 11. Harley Bennell, 14. Matthew Warnock, 17. Josh Fraser, 19. Tom Lynch, 21. Jeremy Taylor, 24. David Swallow, 26. Matt Shaw, 28. Josh Caddy, 30. Campbell Brown, 33. Aaron Hall, 37. Alex Sexton, 40. Tom Hickey, 41. Dion Prestia, 43. Liam Patrick, 47. Daniel Gorringe, 48. Seb Tape, 51. Andrew McQualter
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