Why is there no love for Sydney?

@jsinc_ Roar Rookie

By @jsinc_, @jsinc_ is a Roar Rookie

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13 Have your say

    After the most controversial pre-season in living memory, the 2013 home and away season is finally up and running.

    With this of course follows early calls and predictions. Fans and experts alike are having their say as to which teams will challenge for the premiership cup.

    However, there seems to be something missing. Each year, without any exceptions, the premier from the previous season is a popular choice to repeat the dose. Sometimes justified, other times not, the reigning premier is usually favourite or very close to it.

    After all, they’ve just proven to the footy world that they’re capable.

    This year is different. There is no love for Sydney. The premiers are on the third or fourth line of betting with most agencies, and the collective expert opinion is that not many expect the Swans to win the flag.

    Take the host free-to-air broadcaster for example. Channel Seven have listed predictions from their top ten experts, and not a single one believed Sydney to be the side most likely. Eight of the ten expect them to miss the grand final altogether.

    This is not a blip on the radar, rather the commonly held belief across the industry.

    Straight off the bat, it must be acknowledged that Hawthorn is a very talented side that is every chance to finish the regular season on top of the ladder. There’s also plenty of logic to suggest West Coast will improve.

    Adelaide and Collingwood have plenty to offer, and many feel Fremantle will give a grand final appearance a nudge.

    The Swans however are clearly best placed to win the lot. It’s easy to forget at this time of year just how brutal September footy can be.

    The physicality, the ultra quick reaction time of each possession required in the clinches, the necessity to win contest after contest in the face of exhaustion…these are aspects of September that Sydney thrive on more than any other.

    It should come as no surprise that the Swans last year were number one in the competition for one percenters, contested possessions, and first for tackles with a whopping 73.1 per game. One percenters, contested possessions, and tackles….it’s like opening up a cook book and finding the perfect recipe for September football.

    No side can claim to be better drilled for September.

    Almost as importantly, they are simply a better all round side than any of their competition. Take the forward line for example.

    Rarely talked about yet packed with talent, this forward set up provides greater variety and flexibility than any forward group in the AFL. The Swans had an impressive seven forwards and resting midfielders kick 25 or more goals last season, with Mike Pyke and Shane Mumford also chipping in for 20 between them as resting ruckmen.

    There’s plenty of high marking ability for the long bomb, lead up options, crumbing players capable of hitting the scoreboard, and of course Lewis Jetta kicked 45 goals largely from situations in which the forward line sucked the defenders high and created a foot race inside forward 50.

    Add to this Kurt Tippett. An $800,000 a year, 202cm, 104kg forward, who almost dragged Adelaide to an unlikely grand final birth last year.

    The best part? He doesn’t need to kick a swag of goals to further improve this premiership forward line.

    Tippett has shown he is capable of kicking over 50 goals in a side with an inferior midfield to Sydney’s current batch.

    Due to the salary cap infringements the Swans won’t see him until mid year, and of course he’ll take some time to adjust to the pace of the game. One thing is for certain, if he can regain any sort of form whatsoever, Tippett will command the opposition’s best defender each week, thus releasing Reid to the second best and Goodes to the third tall defender.

    Good luck finding someone to watch the resting ruckman.

    The midfield is similarly under rated. Again Sydney can boast depth and flexibility that exceeds all other contenders. Josh Kennedy is a gun.

    Kieran Jack also qualifies as elite, even though many in outside of Sydney are slow to catch on.

    Daniel Hannebery has well and truly arrived and showed he is more than capable of delivering on the big stage. Goodes is still part of the rotation, Jetta impossible to catch, Jarrad McVeigh is rarely beaten, Jude Bolton and Ryan O’Keefe are champions of their club, Craig Bird one of the hardest taggers to shake….this midfield runs deep.

    Speaking of under rated, is there a backline harder to score against than Sydney’s?

    Again, not known for big names, this defence allowed fewer points than any other in the competition last year. In fact every side other than Fremantle conceded at least 100 points more last year.

    Ted Richards and Heath Grundy will likely welcome Lewis Roberts-Thomson once Tippett is eligible to play, and those three are as stingy as backmen come.

    Nick Malceski and Rhyce Shaw provide plenty of run, while Nick Smith was fantastic shutting out Cyril Rioli in the grand final. What more could a defensive coach ask for?

    Add to all this an elite ruckman in Mumford, who has plenty of support from Pyke and Roberts-Thompson.

    The scary part for the other 17 teams? Had you put it to Alistair Clarkson that he could personally choose four Sydney players to be significantly impacted by injury on the big day, there’s not too much doubt he’d have nominated Goodes, Mumford, Richards and Kennedy.

    As it turned out Goodes, Mumford, Richards and Bolton played all, or most of the game, with rather limited capacities…and the Swans still won.

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    The Crowd Says (13)

    • March 31st 2013 @ 10:07am
      Ahmed said | March 31st 2013 @ 10:07am | ! Report

      Even more interesting that the Sydney papers had very very little coverage on lead up tothe derby, and even less today. I think the two are linked.

      • March 31st 2013 @ 1:38pm
        johnny nevin is a legend said | March 31st 2013 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

        I couldn’t agree with that,the daily telegraph gave good coverage with a pullout on Thursday.I even heard Kevin sheedy on triple m grill team,usually an anti afl program. Sydney gives afl a fair go

    • Roar Guru

      March 31st 2013 @ 10:10am
      mastermind5991 said | March 31st 2013 @ 10:10am | ! Report

      Sydney are a side well known for flying under the radar. That is why no-one tips them to win the premiership.

      But John Longmire has done a great job, carrying on the success and continuing the legacy from the Paul Roos era which netted the 2005 premiership, a narrowly unsuccessful defence of it the year after and only one full season out of the finals (2009, 2002 does not count as Roos took over halfway through that season).

      This side is a well-coached and well-managed side. They have proven that you don’t need to tank or gain high draft picks to win premierships. Jarrad McVeigh, for example, is the only top five draft pick currently in Sydney’s line-up. He was drafted in 2002. Also they have proven to be the “recycling capital” of the AFL, turning mediocre players (such as Barry Hall, Darren Jolly, Josh Kennedy, Mitch Morton etc.) into premiership players, star players. They wouldn’t have that status right now had they not been lured to Sydney when they were struggling.

      Hats off to Sydney for continuing a great period of success which has lasted 18 years and counting.

      • Roar Rookie

        March 31st 2013 @ 11:41pm
        @jsinc_ said | March 31st 2013 @ 11:41pm | ! Report


    • Roar Guru

      March 31st 2013 @ 10:32am
      Alan Nicolea said | March 31st 2013 @ 10:32am | ! Report

      Sydney will challenge. No question.

    • March 31st 2013 @ 11:56am
      Seano said | March 31st 2013 @ 11:56am | ! Report

      Because they are boring!!!! Syd and wce nearly killed football in 05/06 with there gut running zone rubbish!!!! We are all hoping it doesn’t happen again.

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download it now [http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/the-roar/id327174726?mt=8].

      • Roar Rookie

        March 31st 2013 @ 11:43pm
        @jsinc_ said | March 31st 2013 @ 11:43pm | ! Report

        I don’t barrack for Sydney, but from a footy purists point of view, I think they are the best side to watch….you’re going back 8 years ago to support your argument.

        Last year’s GF was one of the best I’ve seen.

      • April 3rd 2013 @ 11:46am
        AJ said | April 3rd 2013 @ 11:46am | ! Report

        You can have your exciting football and finish 10th, fine by me.

    • March 31st 2013 @ 2:42pm
      clipper said | March 31st 2013 @ 2:42pm | ! Report

      Maybe not many care about GWS, but the Swans often top the average attendances of all codes in Sydney, so someone must care about them – it’s not as though they’ve been the top side of the decade and have the lowest average attendance of all teams in the city – then you could rightly say no one in that state cares about them.

    • Roar Guru

      March 31st 2013 @ 2:52pm
      Brodie Chivers said | March 31st 2013 @ 2:52pm | ! Report

      I don’t think there is no love for Sydney at all? In my opinion they are SO respected that everyone assumes they will be great again (which they will).

      Sydney is the most feared and respected club in the whole AFL.

      Every true fan and analyst has nothing but admiration for Sydney.

      • Roar Rookie

        March 31st 2013 @ 11:54pm
        @jsinc_ said | March 31st 2013 @ 11:54pm | ! Report

        The “no love for Sydney” headline is in the context of the lack of experts and fans thinking they are the best placed to win the flag.

        Yes, the footy world, especially those who know the game, are in awe of how Sydney go about it – yet of all those in the footy media that I’ve heard make predictions for the flag, from memory only Mark Fine from SEN agrees with my theory that Sydney are the side most likely to have success in September.

        Honestly, counting TV, radio and print I’m guessing I’ve heard or read 50 or so “expert” opinions.

        Add to that people I know and talk to, and I’ve probably heard another 25 or so opinion/premierships tips from people who’s opinions I respect..

        Of those estimated 75 odd educated opinions that I’ve heard, only the one I just mentioned and my own are of the belief that Sydney are most likely to win the flag….despite overwhelmingly popular opinion, this article was to articulate exactly why I think they are a better chance than all others.

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