Five talking points from Sydney Swans vs Essendon Bombers second elimination final

Josh Elliott Editor

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    It may not have been the most thrilling match of the finals series, but Sydney’s domination of Essendon on Saturday was a sight to behold – and a scary one at that. Here’s my five talking points from the match.

    » Five talking points Port Adelaide vs West Coast
    » Five talking points Geelong vs Richmond
    » Five talking points Adelaide vs GWS

    Buddy is the best in the game
    Does Lance Franklin impact the game as consistently and for as long as midfielders like Dustin Martin or Patrick Dangerfield do? No. He doesn’t need to.

    He can do things that just nobody else in the sport can do. His combination of size, speed and sublime skill is simply otherworldly.

    At the start of the second quarter, Essendon were still in the fight. They were two goals down but playing okay footy.

    Enter Buddy. He turned on for five minutes, kicked three quick goals (and a fourth later that quarter), and tore the game away from the Bombers.

    There are plenty of key forwards who know how to be match winners, but so few who can get it done in finals.

    Lance Franklin is simply one of a kind – and for mine, the No.1 player in the league.

    Lance Franklin Sydney Swans AFL 2017

    (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

    Sydney already heavy favourites for semi-final
    It’s a marker of how emphatic Sydney’s performance on Saturday was that a week out from the game, they are already heavy favourites in the semi-final against Geelong.

    It used to be the case in footy that the loser of qualifying finals would almost invariably get a win the next week, but straight sets has become much more common in recent years.

    The Swans’ form has been better than any other side since Round 6, and their performance in the first week of the finals was the most complete of any side, though Adelaide and Richmond put in fine efforts too.

    Geelong are already out beyond $3 to win next week’s match, and they might well go out even further before the bounce.

    Callum Sincs Tippett’s finals hopes
    The was certainly a bit of curiosity on Thursday night when the teams were named that Sydney had dropped Kurt Tippett despite him playing a fairly reliable ruck-forward role in the last four weeks of the season.

    However the form of Callum Sinclair and his ruck partner Sam Naismith on Saturday made it abundantly clear that John Longmire’s decision at the selection table was the right one.

    Sinclair, relatively unheralded as a goalkicker (despite a big bag earlier this year), gave All Australian defender Michael Hurley plenty of trouble, ultimately kicking three goals.

    Sam Naismith, at the other end of the scale, battled well with Tom Bellchambers in the ruck.

    With both of them in good form, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where Kurt Tippett gets back in for a crack at finals – and with the trade period coming up, he may even have played his last game as a Swan.

    As an aside, you’d think both parties would be happy with the Sinclair for Lewis Jetta trade of a few years back after yesterday’s performances.

    While Sinclair was dominating at the SCG, Jetta’s efforts in the elimination final at Adelaide Oval, particularly in extra time, were critical to a West Coast win.

    Callum Sinclair Sydney Swans AFL 2017

    (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/AFL Media/Getty Images)

    Winds of change coming at Essendon
    It’s been a bizarre few years for the Essendon Football Club, full of upheaval, and there is a bit more to come before things really settle back into stability.

    Seeing Jobe Watson and James Kelly walk off the field for the last time on Saturday was only the beginning. There’ll be more of the old guard still to move on.

    That might mean that the Bombers have trouble backing up their finals appearance this year in 2018, but regardless they should be excited about the future.

    Their crop of youth is remarkably impressive, and if they keep adding and developing talent to it then they’ll be a quality team for years to come.

    Three teams in the flag race
    There are six teams still in it but if you were to look at the performances across the first week of finals, it’s clear that three students stand head and shoulders above the rest of the class.

    However, I won’t rabbit on about this match’s impact on the flag race too much here, as Cam Rose has written about it in good detail.

    The prospect of an Adelaide versus Sydney preliminary final in two weeks at Adelaide Oval, the sequel to an instant classic there just a few weeks ago, is as tantalising as they come.

    Josh Elliott
    Josh Elliott

    Josh Elliott may be The Roar's Weekend Editor, but at heart he's just a rusted-on North Melbourne tragic with a penchant for pun headlines - and also abnormal alliteration, assuredly; assuming achievability. He once finished third in a hot chilli pie eating contest. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshElliott_29 and listen to him on The Roar's AFL Podcast.