Sydney Swans vs Collingwood: AFL Finals live scores, blog
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The Sydney Swans are in the AFL Grand Final after beating Collingwood. (Slattery Images)
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The big prize is in sight for both the Sydney Swans and Collingwood: tonight, one of the two will make the Grand Final. We’ll have live scores and commentary from the game at ANZ Stadium from 7:50pm AEST.
These two teams have played some really top notch football throughout season 2012, but it seems odd that both sides come into the Grand Final qualifier with just two wins from their last five – something that seems unlikely for a premiership contender.
The Swans have had the luxury of the week off and this will surely give them an advantage coming into tonight’s contest.
A big plus for the Swans will also be the return of Heath Grundy, who has been instrumental to Sydney’s stingy defensive line up. Grundy was forced to take a fortnight off with a one-match suspension in Round 23.
No doubt the Swans looked hungry to stop a few naysayers in their Qualifying Final win against the Adelaide Crows, with a quick start and then relying on the defenders to do the job from half time.
What will be important for Sydney tonight is to convert their chances. While they had plenty more scoring shots than the Pies in Round 20, scoring just nine goals was never going to cut it.
In fact the last few of matches they’ve played, they’ve been forced into low totals. Since Round 19, Sydney has only gone past 100 points once, and been under 80 points three times.
The midfield has been strong all season, shown by the inclusion of Josh Kennedy in the All-Australian team during the week. Kieren Jack, Jarrad McVeigh and Dan Hannebery amongst the key players required to lift against a very consistent Collingwood on-ball unit.
If Sam Reid can win the battle against his brother Ben, Sydney could be looking at a tilt at the flag.
Collingwood on the other hand has had a build up like no other.
They come into this game off a tough win against West Coast while hitting the road after a 6-day turnaround.
But then you add the mental side of the week that’s been.
The passing of John McCarthy seemed to galvanise the players in last week’s semi final. However, it’s hard to know whether the events of the last 36 hours will be weighing heavy on their minds.
At around midday they attended the funeral of their good mate. They then got on a plane after a couple of two hour bus rides, arrived in Sydney at 6:30pm and had a quick cool-down session.
I don’t claim to be an expert, but it’s fair to say it will affect them in some way – positive or negative.
Right, to the team itself.
The positive is keeping Chris Dawes in their line up. The talk of Dawes’ knee injury suggesting the Collingwood inner sanctum has agreed that he is an important cog in their structures. However, Jackson Paine was taken on the trip as cover.
Meanwhile, Alan Didak has been forced to sit out with a calf injury and his chances of playing in the Grand Final, should the Pies make it from tonight’s match, look very slim.
Despite seeing Scott Pendlebury and Dane Swan rack up the possessions and make the All-Australian team, I feel they haven’t been as damaging with the ball as in past seasons. However, it does seem like the pressure that Collingwood have been renowned for is starting to creep back into their game.
There’s a big chance tonight could be the night for Andrew Krakouer to shine. The conditions aren’t meant to be great (chance of showers throughout the game). To me, that signals perfect weather for Krakouer to show us his best.
There were glimpses of brilliance last week from him, but if he cleans up his disposal efficiency, then he can be a real threat tonight.
In my opinion, it would be remarkable if Collingwood were to win tonight. Don’t worry about the 11-game winning streak, as these stats don’t really matter when you get out on the field and play.
I expect them to get close, but Sydney has been one of the top sides all season. Their defence will be too good and I’d expect the fresher legs to get through.
Then again, I’m always happy to be surprised. Who knows, JMac might be looking down and spurring his former team mates to great heights tonight.
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