Sydney and North Melbourne are set to face-off in what will likely be an incredibly tight and tough affair at the SCG today.
Both sides’ lead-up form has been exceptional, with Sydney undefeated and the Kangaroos only losing narrowly to another perfect side in Essendon. Last week, the Kangaroos controlled and beat the reigning premiers Geelong, causing the interest in this game to suddenly sky-rocket.
North Melbourne ran through the centre of the ground with concise handpasses, a tactic which makes this contest all the more interesting.
Sydney are well known for closing down midfield space, particularly at the SCG, and North’s skills will have to be at their best if they want to avoid game-changing errors.
Sydney enter the game without their superstar Adam Goodes, who was suspended for the second time this season for sliding knees-first into a contest.
How coach John Longmire deals with this remains to be seen, but the Swans need another link-up man coming out of the back half, as the dynamic and versatile Goodes provides so much for the Swans.
Mark Seaby vs Todd Goldstein and Hamish McIntosh
With Shane Mumford missing another game due to a back complaint, Seaby’s role becomes incredibly important at the stoppages.
The North Melbourne midfield was brilliant last week, and in order to stop them from controlling the match, Seaby needs to give Josh Kennedy, Kieran Jack, Jared McVeigh and others first touch of the footy.
Sam Reid vs Scott Thompson
Sam Reid is quickly developing into one of the competition’s best key forwards, and he needs to be at his best today if the Swans are to win.
His contested marking is first rate, but his kicking can let him down at times. Reid needs to make the most of his opportunities today to allow Sydney to control the game.
This match should be a close encounter, and also should be thoroughly entertaining. Both sides have midfielders capable of breaking the game open, so the stoppage work becomes pivotal.
With a home-ground advantage, and a proven winning style suited to the SCG, Sydney should remain undefeated in 2012.
Sydney by 14 points.
B: Martin Mattner, Heath Grundy, Alex Johnson
HB: Andrejs Everitt, Ted Richards, Rhyce Shaw
C: Kieren Jack, Jude Bolton, Lewis Jetta
HF: Jarrad McVeigh, Sam Reid, Gary Rohan
F: Craig Bird, Ryan O’Keefe, Ben McGlynn
Foll: Mark Seaby, Josh P. Kennedy, Daniel Hannebery
I/C: Nick Malceski, Jesse White, Luke Parker, Tony Armstrong
Emg: Jarred Moore, Tommy Walsh, Harry Cunningham
In: Mark Seaby, Tony Armstrong
Out: Adam Goodes (Suspension), Shane Mumford (Back)
New: Tony Armstrong (Adelaide)
Milestones: Andrejs Everitt – 50 games
B: Scott McMahon, Scott Thompson, Liam Anthony
HB: Daniel Wells, Michael Firrito, Jamie Macmillan
C: Samuel Wright, Andrew Swallow, Shaun Atley
HF: Ryan Bastinac, Aaron Edwards, Kieran Harper
F: Matt Campbell, Drew Petrie, Lindsay Thomas
Foll: Todd Goldstein, Jack Ziebell, Leigh Adams
I/C: Brent Harvey, Hamish McIntosh, Luke Delaney, Ben Cunnington
Emg: Cruize Garlett, Robbie Tarrant, Levi Greenwood
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