Another blow-out looms for battling Bulldogs, with the Swans eyeing their fourth consecutive victory over the Dogs in the first clash between the two clubs at Etihad Stadium. The Dogs have to avoid their ninth straight loss in a row after a disappointing result against the Tigers last week.
The Sydney Swans’ nine-match winning streak was broken by Collingwood last Saturday night but the Swans still hold top spot by percentage from Adelaide and the Magpies. With stars like Adam Goodes and Lewis Jetta desperate to atone for sub-par performances last week, they will be hellbent on bouncing back in style. This game may have repercussions on the Swans position on the ladder also with the Hawks in the rear view mirror with a superior percentage. A massive win is needed to consolidate a spot in the top four.
WHY SHOULD YOU TUNE IN?
Western Bulldogs: The end of the season can’t come quick enough for the depleted Bulldogs. Brendan McCartney’s men have not tasted a win since their Round 12 victory against Port Adelaide. Making matters worse, their losses over the past eight weeks have been by an average of almost 10 goals. The Dogs’ have been deplorable after half-time in their past eight games, being outscored by 56 goals (81.48 to just 26.42). Last week against Richmond they appeared to have cured their affliction when they kicked five quick goals in the third term to get back within six points. Then they conceded 11 of the last 12 goals.
The dual All Australian full-back in Brian Lake, along with fellow veteran defender Robert Murphy, have been the Bulldogs’ most consistent players in 2012. After a treacherous 2011 under former coach Rodney Eade, Lake has consistently given his all despite the Dogs’ gloomy season. He has also shown he can be a competitive forward in recent weeks and will again come under strong consideration for a berth in the All-Australian team.
Dylan Addison has also gone forward, exposing the Dogs’ defense, but giving great experience to developing youngsters like Jordan Roughead, Michael Talia, Fletcher Roberts and Jason Johannisen.
Sydney: Adam Goodes has found himself under a little heat this week following a poor display against Collingwood. The champion co-captain was undoubtedly well below his best, but you can’t keep a champion down, so don’t be surprised if the dual Brownlow Medallist has a blinder on Sunday. With tough matches against Hawthorn and Geelong approaching before the finals, the Swans will want to flex their muscle.
Having spent the past six weeks atop the ladder, the Swans are one loss away from a slide down an incredibly tight table. Finishing the season with tough games against the Hawks and Cats only emphasises their situation. So the Swans will have their eyes on a percentage and confidence-boosting trip to Melbourne this week.
Sydney’s nine-match winning streak was broken by Collingwood last Saturday night, but the Swans still hold top spot by percentage from Adelaide and the Magpies. Considering the Hawks and Eagles are still in position to make up ground, the Crows have an easy run, and the Pies should pencil in at least two of their last three; Sydney must play well to avoid coming into the run home from hell in average form.
Dogs need to end the season on a high note. Regardless of youngsters or not, they need to show effort that takes the heat off this young side. They can’t go into 2013 on a sour note and have such a poor second half to the year lingering on over the off-season.
Unfortunately, they run into the best Swans team in recent memory and it might be a long afternoon.
Swans by 78.
B: Lukas Markovic, Jordan Roughead, Fletcher Roberts
HB: Easton Wood, Brian Lake, Robert Murphy
C: Ryan Griffen, Matthew Boyd, Liam Picken
HF: Dylan Addison, Tory Dickson, Daniel Giansiracusa
F: Jason Johannisen, Ayce Cordy, Shaun Higgins
Foll: William Minson, Clay Smith, Mitchell Wallis
I/C: Adam Cooney, Liam Jones, Nathan Djerrkura, Zephaniah Skinner, Michael Talia, Lin Jong, Tom Campbell
In: Adam Cooney, Ryan Griffen, Shaun Higgins, Easton Wood, Ayce Cordy, Liam Jones, Lukas Markovic
Out: Ryan Hargrave (Suspension), Jarrad Grant, Andrew Hooper, Justin Sherman
B: Rhyce Shaw, Heath Grundy, Alex Johnson
HB: Nicholas Smith, Ted Richards, Martin Mattner
C: Nick Malceski, Jarrad McVeigh, Lewis Jetta
HF: Daniel Hannebery, Lewis Roberts-Thomson, Ryan O’Keefe
F: Craig Bird, Sam Reid, Adam Goodes
Foll: Shane Mumford, Josh P. Kennedy, Kieren Jack
I/C: Brett Meredith, Mike Pyke, Ben McGlynn, Luke Parker, Matt Spangher, Mitch Morton, Tony Armstrong
In: Brett Meredith, Sam Reid, Matt Spangher, Mitch Morton
Out: Trent Dennis-Lane
New: Mitch Morton (Richmond)