The Carlton Blues have triumphed over the Sydney Swans by 19 points, and the Swans are 0-6!
Carlton Blues 15.7.97
Sydney Swans 11.12.78
Remarkably, the Sydney Swans’ 0-5 start to the 2017 season is their worst in 24 years, and things could get uglier still as they face the Carlton Blues at the MCG. Join The Roar for all the live scores and analysis from 2.10pm (AEST).
Coming off a Grand Final berth last year, most pundits tipped Sydney to again be challenging for a premiership this year, with an array of stars across the ground and some up-and-coming youngsters forming one of the most powerful lists in the competition.
Yet five weeks into the season, the Swans sit 0-5 and on the bottom of the ladder, and right now, finals – much less another Grand Final – are looking like a pipe dream.
After slamming on four goals in four minutes to start their match against the Giants last week, the Swans were totally outplayed, the eventual 42-point loss almost as worrying as their Round 3 defeat to Collingwood that really got the alarm bells ringing.
Even the return of some injured regulars in Kurt Tippett, Isaac Heeney and Gary Rohan made no difference, with all three looking underdone and some way off their best, though the match will undoubtedly do them good as they build up to peak form.
Lance Franklin has been starved of supply in recent weeks after looking in ominous touch in the first few rounds, as has Sam Reid, whose return to the seniors after missing all of last year with a knee issue has been seamless – the troubles lie further up the ground.
Midfield stalwarts Luke Parker, Dan Hannebery and Kieren Jack – the latter out this week with a hip injury that has hampered him this season – have had a well-documented run of poor form, leaving the Swans desperately shorthanded in an area which they have built their entire game around – only captain Josh P Kennedy is still performing even remotely close to his 2016 level.
Despite the obvious gap in talent between the Swans and Carlton, their opponents this week, what might make it interesting is that the Blues’ strength lies right in the area that is costing Sydney this year – in the guts.
Patrick Cripps looks to have recovered from the niggling injuries that plagued him in the pre-season, and Bryce Gibbs and Marc Murphy look if not in career-best form then very close to it.
Matthew Kreuzer’s return from injury is also timely, with his ruckwork and mobility around the ground sorely missed in the Blues’ 90-point defeat at the hands of Port Adelaide last week.
The Blues were deemed likely wooden spooners weeks out from the start of the year, but up until last week, had looked largely competitive in their matches – even snagging an upset win over Essendon.
After their defence leaked 37 scoring shots against the Power, former Docker Alex Silvagni has been called up for his first game in the navy blue, and a potential match-up against Reid, Kurt Tippett, Callum Sinclair or even Franklin looms for the second cousin of Carlton legend and current list manager Stephen Silvagni.
Even three weeks ago, it would have been unthinkable to contemplate the Swans dropping this one. The Swans are playing plenty of young faces, but the Blues are playing even more, and the talent gap between both sides’ experienced players should be enormous.
Yet right now, the Blues sit above the Swans on the ladder. But for all that, surely, surely the Swans get up for this one? Surely. And if they don’t, well, not only will finals be gone, but maybe even a top-12 finish.
Sydney by 49 points
Not many players have played as good a 49 games as Blues’ midfielder Patrick Cripps, and the young star will want to do everything to mark his 50th with an upset victory.
Can Cripps and his fellow star midfielders pile more pain on the Swans? Or will the class of Parker, Hannebery and Franklin finally tell to kick-start their spluttering season?
Tune into The Roar from 2.10pm (AEST) for all the live scores and a rolling blog, and be sure to leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.