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The match of the round is the NSW derby as the Sydney Swans host the GWS Giants at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog from 7:25pm AEST.
Every matchup between the cross Sydney rivals seems to have something a bit extra riding on it these days, now that both are consistently seen as premiership contenders.
The last meeting between these teams saw the Swans in the middle of a remarkable winning streak while the Giants were doggedly holding onto a top four spot.
In a tight, gruelling game Sydney did enough to stay ahead all day to record a narrow, important win.
The home team’s form is not quite as impressive, having faded uncharacteristically against Port Adelaide last week to lose by 23 points.
GWS have been better, notching a big win against the Dogs before outlasting Collingwood at the MCG, and they now sit at the top of the ladder at this very early stage.
They’ll have to contend with the imperious form of Buddy Franklin, who already has 12 goals this season and leads all comers.
The Sydney full forward has a pretty good record in these contests, but his typical opponent in Phil Davis generally prevents him from getting a big bag.
At the other end, Jeremy Cameron has also started the year well, but the Giants will be missing the influence of Toby Greene, missing for a second consecutive week.
Both sides are blessed by powerful midfields. Between Luke Parker, Josh P Kennedy, Dan Hanneberry, Isaac Heeney and Kieren Jack for the Swans, and Callan Ward, Lachie Whitfield, Stephen Coniglio, Josh Kelly and Dylan Shiel for the Giants it’s hard to split them.
The Swans head into this one as narrow favourites at the bookies, but I’d imagine most would see this game as too close to call.
Sydney are a stronger contested side, and the small SCG suits them more than the Giants.
But my feeling is that GWS seem to have started the season, and have a few more players at or near their peak form. I think on balance they can play the game on their teams for longer, and get a narrow win tonight.
GWS by 6 points.
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