Sydney vs Adelaide: Friday Night Forecast

Adrian Polykandrites Columnist

By Adrian Polykandrites, Adrian Polykandrites is a Roar Expert

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    Isaac Heeney is a product of the academies. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

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    I’m wildly generalising here, but footy fans don’t like hearing excuses in defeat.

    That might be chest-beating machismo or perhaps it’s not wanting to take credit away from the victors – it’s probably a bit of both.

    Injuries, travel, short breaks – who cares? After all, the game’s best coach is known for his “one soldier out, one soldier in” motto.

    Of course, that’s mostly for Alastair Clarkson’s benefit; he wouldn’t want his charges to start doubting themselves due to something their coach said publicly.

    The reality is there are often excuses beyond “we played rubbish” for why a team doesn’t perform well; and the Crows have plenty of them.

    Forget Charlie Cameron and Jake Lever, because those guys aren’t coming back.

    Forget Brodie Smith even, because as much as Don Pyke would love Smith’s drive out of defence, he’s about as likely to help them in 2018 as Lever and Cameron.

    But with Rory Sloane, Matt Crouch, Brad Crouch, Eddie Betts and David Mackay sidelined, the Crows are fighting with an arm tied behind their back.

    That veteran recruit Sam Gibson hasn’t been fit to debut for the Crows after 130-straight games for North Melbourne is just rubbing it in.

    Even with Sloane – albeit a hobbled Sloane – in the line-up against Collingwood in round four, the Crows were dismantled in the midfield.

    Rory Sloane

    (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

    Collingwood had a +36 advantage in contested possessions. At centre bounces, where things are more predictable with only eight players involved, the Crows managed to gain a 15-13 clearance advantage. Unfortunately, they were humiliated around the ground.

    At throw-ins and ball-ups in general play, where the Pies could throw extra numbers at the contest or get a player closest to the ruckmen, Adelaide didn’t – or couldn’t – adjust and were dominated, losing those stoppages 19-44. Yikes.

    Thankfully for the Crows, they won’t have to deal with Brodie Grundy again tonight. Callum Sinclair is unlikely to match Grundy’s 12 clearances or 15 groundball gets.

    Nonetheless, Josh Kennedy and Luke Parker are both in their element in close, and Isaac Heeney ain’t bad either. The Crows are going to need a hell of a game from Bryce Gibbs and a dominant ruck performance from Sam Jacobs to be any chance… and that’s just the start of it.

    Hugh Greenwood and Cam Ellis-Yolmen are the men most likely to step up in the absence of the Crows’ gun ball winners. More importantly, Adelaide will need to control the ball once they get their hands on it.

    Bang it long and high and you’re just playing into Sydney’s hands, but chip it, switch it and make their defenders roll and change direction and you’re in the game.

    The Hawks have shown the way in the past, and if not for some poor goal kicking, the Bulldogs, who took 113 marks to Sydney’s 85, could well have pulled off an upset against the Swans last week.

    The skippers
    Taylor Walker has come under fire in recent weeks – though if we’re being honest, people have been sinking the boots in since his poor grand final.

    The Adelaide skipper was below-par last week, though he does have nine goals in three games this season. Him playing well at the SCG certainly won’t guarantee the visitors a win, but it’s unlikely they can win with him delivering much less than his best.

    Tex is at his most dangerous 50-70m from goal, where he can hit the ball on the lead and wheel onto his lethal right leg to either shoot for goal or pierce the defence with precision kicking – there are few better field kicks in the league.

    If Walker can have a hand in a half a dozen goals, the Crows might just stand a chance. Tom Lynch will also be critical as a link man for the Crows in transition.

    Sydney captain Kennedy is coming off of one of his worst games in years. The midfield brute had just one clearance in Round 4. It was the first time he’d had so few since Roudn 3, 2010 – which was the 208-game star’s 16th game and only his third for the Swans.

    His 16 touches were the second fewest he’s had since 2014 and you have to go back to 2013 for the last time he had consecutive games with fewer than 20 disposals. You’re braver than I if you’re willing to bet on that happening again here.

    Josh P Kennedy Sydney Swans AFL 2017

    (AAP Image/David Moir)

    The verdict
    Both teams know what they need to do to win tonight. The Swans need to win the contested ball and put the Crows on the back foot.

    For Adelaide, it’s all about control. They simply don’t have the midfield power to match it with the Swans in a scrap. They have to be clean in the air and patient and efficient by foot to stand a chance.

    It’s not mission impossible for the Crows, but they have little to no room for error, and Sydney’s midfield advantage appears too great – it doesn’t hurt that they also have one of the most dynamic forwards in history on their side.

    It’s a shame that what looked like a juicy match-up at the start of the season suddenly looms as a mismatch. I’m tipping the Swans to win by 25 points.

    That’s my Friday night forecast. What’s yours?

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    The Crowd Says (17)

    • April 20th 2018 @ 10:09am
      AD said | April 20th 2018 @ 10:09am | ! Report

      Crows were too tall last week, playing all of Walker, Jenkins, Lynch, McGovern and Fogarty. So they’ve dropped Fogarty and brought in… Otten?

      So this week the Crows are still too tall and also too slow.

      Swans by 60+.

      • April 20th 2018 @ 10:16am
        Vocans said | April 20th 2018 @ 10:16am | ! Report

        Good point AD. Otten is slow and is also likely to be underdone at the level. Good at SANFL level last week. Galluci is quick though.

      • Roar Rookie

        April 20th 2018 @ 10:19am
        Pedro The Fisherman said | April 20th 2018 @ 10:19am | ! Report

        The experienced Otten has more versatility than Fogarty who is still learning his craft.
        Swans by 15 points.

        • April 20th 2018 @ 10:29am
          AD said | April 20th 2018 @ 10:29am | ! Report

          Neither Otten nor Fogarty should be playing – the Crows needed to bring in a smaller, quicker player for Fogarty.

          Otten is too slow for AFL. It’s not fault of his own, he could have been a great player, was runner up in the Rising Star in his first season. But having both knees reconstructed has robbed him of the pace and agility needed to play at the level.

          In any case, Sydney just don’t really have that many tall forwards – the Crows have already got Talia, Hartigan and Doedee. I just don’t see a match up for Otten in defence, and with Walker, Jenkins, Lynch and McGovern all in the side, there’s no room for him up forward, either. Can only assume Pyke intends to use him as a spare man down back rather than giving him a direct opponent. Ie not trying to win the game, just limit the damage and hope he gets some players back by next week.

      • April 20th 2018 @ 12:25pm
        Rex said | April 20th 2018 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

        AD – unfortunately and as a crows member I couldn’t agree more. Why drop the kid with some real ticker about him for Otten who I honestly believe is the slowest player in the league.
        Dumbfounded by match committee recently!

        • April 20th 2018 @ 2:17pm
          AD said | April 20th 2018 @ 2:17pm | ! Report

          Oh, I don’t doubt Otten’s ticker for an instant. I just doubt his body’s ability to get the job done. Wouldn’t surprise me to see a late change (possibly Hampton in?). Of course, I said that last week, too 😛

          My inner conspiracy-theorist looks at Otten and sees he’s got 98 games to his name, so the club might just want to get 2 more into him (for the sake of any potential father-son recruits down the line) before putting him out to pasture at the end of the year. They look at the injury list and the opposition, concede “we can’t win this week anyway”, so might as well bring him in for one of his 2 games this year 😛

          • April 20th 2018 @ 6:50pm
            Col in paradise said | April 20th 2018 @ 6:50pm | ! Report

            Thinking exactly that…the crows have sort of conceded and will rest Sloane get a game into the backups, test the depth – still could pull a upset as Swans been off their game even when winning ..

    • April 20th 2018 @ 10:12am
      Vocans said | April 20th 2018 @ 10:12am | ! Report

      With 5 or 6 of their best 10 out and Walker underdone and likely injured, the Crows are behind the 8-ball against the Swans at the SCG. With a fit Buddy, the Swans are still my favourite for the flag.

    • Roar Guru

      April 20th 2018 @ 10:54am
      DingoGray said | April 20th 2018 @ 10:54am | ! Report

      Good learning curve tonight for Doedee. I assume Talia goes to Buddy, but I’m be tempted to give Doedee a crack at Buddy.

      Good on the job learning. Crows injuries certainly indicate this game probably not one they’ve got in we absolutely have to win this game. Bit of throwing the magnets around wouldn’t be out of place.

      Swans to win in 2nd or 3rd gear by 3-4 goals.

    • Roar Rookie

      April 20th 2018 @ 12:24pm
      Mattician6x6 said | April 20th 2018 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

      Sydney easily in theory. But in theory my tipping hasn’t been that bad this year.

    • April 20th 2018 @ 12:38pm
      Jim said | April 20th 2018 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

      Swans should be winning relatively comfortably at home, but we haven’t played particularly well this year, so think it’ll be relatively taught. Swans by a few kicks probably, but an upset wouldn’t suprise me.

    • Editor

      April 20th 2018 @ 12:43pm
      Josh Elliott said | April 20th 2018 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

      Such a shame that Adelaide have the outs they do because otherwise this would be a seriously appealing matchup. But the Crows with no Crouch brothers and no Sloane? It’s just hard to imagine they’re going to be at all close.

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