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The Sydney Swans can get their top four aspirations back on track when they face a hungry Western Bulldogs team on a wet Sydney Cricket Ground this afternoon. Join us for live scores and a blog from the first bounce at 3:15pm this afternoon.
The Swans emerged as a title contender after five wins from their first five matches this season.
Since then, Sydney (6-3, fifth) has lost three of their last four matches, playing below their best and has dropped out of the top four.
Last week, the Swans began better than St Kilda but it was the Saints, inspired by Lenny Hayes in his 250th game that got on top after quarter time to expose Sydney’s frailties. The final margin of 28 points was flattering for John Longmire’s men.
Today, Sydney will be boosted by the return of quality ruckman Shane Mumford who has not been seen for seven weeks.
The Swans have a poor record in the wet. They lost to Geelong, Carlton (both at the SCG) and Adelaide in wet conditions last season.
They were expected to beat the Crows and were favourites to beat the Blues on the night Kate Middleton and Prince William got married.
Just as it’s possible that Sydney will play poorly in the wet, the rain may be a positive for an out of form Swans team that will be forced to get down and dirty.
The Swans’ opponents today, Western Bulldogs (4-5, 14th), started the season slowly but their last six weeks have been very good.
In fairness the Dogs haven’t beaten much (Melbourne, Gold Coast, GWS and North Melbourne) but they were very competitive against Grand Finalists Collingwood (for the three quarters) and Geelong last week when they were never out of the contest.
The Dogs, forward line is their weakness but, in what will probably be a wet, low-scoring game, a lack of quality talls could be a positive.
As we saw last night (with Melbourne winning their first game against premiership contenders Essendon in the wet), it’s a team’s desire, in the mud, more than anything else than can get the job done.
If Brendan McCartney’s men want to play in September they cannot afford to lose. On the other hand, Sydney has an opportunity in front of their home crowd to get their season back on track.
The bookies think Sydney will have too much for the Dogs but this is going to be a close game. I tipped Sydney in tipping comps during the week and will stick with them because I don’t like to jump ship but I think the Dogs are a big chance today.
Sydney to win a close one by nine points.