Sydney vs West Coast: Friday Night Forecast

Adrian Polykandrites Columnist

By Adrian Polykandrites, Adrian Polykandrites is a Roar Expert

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61 Have your say

    For the second week in a row, we’ve got a tasty Friday night match-up. In fact, it might be the best one of the season.

    When these sides last met in Round 1, things went about as expected. The Swans scored a reasonably comfortable five-goal win against a West Coast side tipped to slide into the lower-middle part of the table.

    No one could possibly have tipped what was to come next, with the Eagles winning their next ten games to sit four points clear on top of the ladder despite playing one fewer game than every other team in the eight.

    The Swans have done what the Swans always do, which is win a lot of games. They’ve haven’t been as impressive as recent years, but you can’t fluke nine wins from 12 games, and their 6-0 road record is impressive too.

    At home, though, they’ve been a little shakier, losing as many as they’ve won. Sydney have gone down to Port Adelaide and North Melbourne as well as an undermanned Adelaide side at the SCG. Their wins have come against GWS, Fremantle, and Carlton. Ho-hum.

    In the past, teams who can control the ball by foot have been able to get the better of the Swans, and you’d expect that to be the Eagles’ plan.

    West Coast are the No.1 marking team in the league at 103.7 marks a game – Sydney are 13th at 87.8 – and also No.1 for contested marks (14.2 per game).

    The Eagles will be keen to get the ball in the hands of classy ball users Shannon Hurn, Elliot Yeo and Andrew Gaff as often as possible.

    It’s a shame Jack Darling won’t be part of tonight’s clash, he is arguably the form player of the competition – and has taken more contested marks than anyone this season. What a luxury for the Eagles that they still have the AFL’s leading goalkicker since the start of 2013, Josh Kennedy, as a key-forward target.

    Josh J Kennedy

    West Coast take on Sydney tonight (AAP Image/Tony McDonough)

    While the Eagles will try to win the ball and then spread the field, the Swans will aim to have numbers at the contest and extra players behind the ball. They’ll desperately want to pressure West Coast into hurried, long kicks.

    Few teams, if any, are as comfortable defending in their own half as Sydney.

    And with good reason, the Swans concede a goal on just 18.8 percent of their opponents’ inside-50s, which is the second-best rate in the league. Heath Grundy, Dane Rampe, Jarrad McVeigh and Jake Lloyd have got things under control down there.

    With Nic Naitanui, the Eagles will get first hands to most hit-outs, the key will be turning that advantage into clean possession and ball movement. Luke Shuey will be a welcome addition after missing since the opening minutes of a Round 7 clash against Port Adelaide. Not many players have his combination of explosiveness from congestion and skill.

    Sydney won’t let the Eagles have things their own way at stoppages though. You’d have a hard time finding a more willing midfield trio than Josh Kennedy, Luke Parker and Isaac Heeney. And the unflinching George Hewett will likely be tasked with clamping Gaff or Shuey.

    Heeney has become the best of the Swans’ onballers. Should the Eagles choose to deploy Yeo in the midfield rather than off halfback, he could get the job on Heeney, which would be good news for neutral viewers.

    Both midfielders are tough and have clean hands both on the ground and in the air. Yeo is one of the few midfielders in the league who won’t be outmatched when Heeney makes his way forward. Fingers crossed the two of them spend plenty of time matched up.

    Of course, you can’t talk about this game without mentioning its two best players: Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin and Jeremy McGovern.

    Future hall-of-famer Franklin put on one of the great performances in Round 1, slotting eight goals and doing so in the many ways that only Buddy can.

    With defensive partner Tom Barrass out injured, McGovern will be called on to spend more time on the Sydney superstar. In the air, he should have Buddy’s measure, what will be interesting is how the Eagles defend Franklin when he makes his way high up the ground. Expect to see the underrated Brad Sheppard, Hurn and even Yeo on Franklin when that happens while McGovern sets deeper up to pick off any high balls.

    Lance Franklin

    Big Lance is on fire (Photo by Brett Hemmings/AFL Media/Getty Images)

    That’s probably the right strategy, but it’s not without risk. For Buddy, the goals are in play anytime he gets the ball forward of centre – or perhaps any time at all.

    This could be a finals preview – maybe even the big one – and shapes as one of the best contests of the season. Here’s hoping it lives up to that.

    It’s tough to split these sides at the SCG but I think the Eagles are better and I’m tipping them by two goals.

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

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    The Crowd Says (61)

    • June 15th 2018 @ 7:19am
      Roger of Sydney said | June 15th 2018 @ 7:19am | ! Report

      Hard to call, but the Swans are pretty good all around the ground with our young guns really making the difference.

      If the Swans keep the ball at ground level I think they will win and win well if they kick pack to pack the Eagles to win. Swans lack pack marking ability, Eagles have plenty.

    • June 15th 2018 @ 7:53am
      BigAl said | June 15th 2018 @ 7:53am | ! Report

      Lets hope it’s not a BLOWOUT !

      Was last night’s game a blowout ? What classifies as a blowout these days ?

      Either way it was well over before 3/4 time !

      • June 15th 2018 @ 8:53am
        IAP said | June 15th 2018 @ 8:53am | ! Report

        It was over by quarter time. If you only watched the match from the second quarter onward it wasn’t a bad game to watch.

    • June 15th 2018 @ 8:09am
      Glenn said | June 15th 2018 @ 8:09am | ! Report

      There are 2 teams in it, Adrian, it doesn’t sound like you kow the names of many Swans players.

      • June 15th 2018 @ 1:46pm
        davey said | June 15th 2018 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

        Welcome to the Roar!

        • June 15th 2018 @ 4:22pm
          Glenn said | June 15th 2018 @ 4:22pm | ! Report

          Yeah, I should have just let it slide,

    • June 15th 2018 @ 8:27am
      Don Freo said | June 15th 2018 @ 8:27am | ! Report

      It is unlikely WC will waste Yeo’s talents on Heeney. I get Heeney tagging Yeo, who is the better player.

      Hannebery seems to have dropped out of conversattion when talking significant midfields. I wonder why that is.

      • June 15th 2018 @ 8:54am
        IAP said | June 15th 2018 @ 8:54am | ! Report

        Heeney is better than Yeo.

        • June 15th 2018 @ 9:48am
          Nigel said | June 15th 2018 @ 9:48am | ! Report

          Yeo is no mug all All Australian & Best & Fairest. In carrer best form.

          Yeo has gone head to head with three brownlow medalist Fyfe, Dangerfield and yes the great Dustin Martin and beaten them hands down. Let me know when Hennney does that

          • June 15th 2018 @ 3:43pm
            Johnno said | June 15th 2018 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

            Yeo…beat Fyfe hands down…what a load.

            Yeo had one job…shut down Fyfe. From memory Fyfe had 29 possessions. Not as damaging, but 29, he got beaten hands down?
            Yeo is not in the same class as Fyfe yet, may never be if he’s in career best form.

            • June 15th 2018 @ 4:59pm
              Nigel said | June 15th 2018 @ 4:59pm | ! Report

              And what did Fyf do when the game was on the line and he had to kick a goal from 20 m ? He missed an easy set shot. Whilst Yeo went down the other end and put a goal and iced the game.

        • June 15th 2018 @ 9:48am
          Nigel said | June 15th 2018 @ 9:48am | ! Report

          Yeo is no mug all All Australian & Best & Fairest. In career best form.

          Yeo has gone head to head with three brownlow medalist Fyfe, Dangerfield and yes the great Dustin Martin and beaten them hands down. Let me know when Hennney does that

        • June 15th 2018 @ 10:07am
          Don Freo said | June 15th 2018 @ 10:07am | ! Report

          Is not!

          • June 15th 2018 @ 12:48pm
            BigAl said | June 15th 2018 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

            Heeney could well become one of the best of the best!

            • June 15th 2018 @ 2:26pm
              Don Freo said | June 15th 2018 @ 2:26pm | ! Report

              …or just a good servant at Sydney.

              • June 15th 2018 @ 4:42pm
                Glenn said | June 15th 2018 @ 4:42pm | ! Report

                Maybe one day everybody else will be able to see what you see, Don, and there will be universal acknowledgement that Heeney is just a good ordinary player. On that day, those idiots that drafted him after pouring all that money into ensuring that he wasn’t lost to AFL will say: yep, you know, Don was right all along. Or maybe, those guys and almost everyone else with some idea of what an exceptional footballer looks like, will gleefully watch him play out 300+ games and at the very least get within a couple of votes of winning a Brownlow or 2, while thinking, yep that was pretty much as expected from the day he arrived on the scene.

              • June 15th 2018 @ 10:49pm
                Don Freo said | June 15th 2018 @ 10:49pm | ! Report

                If you see what I see, you’ll see Yeo’s quality.

                You don’t agree that Heeney is a good player? I think he’ll prove you wrong.

              • Roar Guru

                June 15th 2018 @ 8:42pm
                Cat said | June 15th 2018 @ 8:42pm | ! Report

                Just paint him purple and don will think he is the best thing ever

        • June 15th 2018 @ 3:03pm
          Lroy said | June 15th 2018 @ 3:03pm | ! Report

          Bud, its clear you haven’t seen many of Yeo’s games. He is an All Australian standard half back flanker who is on the way to becoming one of the comps best midfielders.

          Heeney is good no question, but come on man, take of those rose tinted glasses of yours.

          • June 15th 2018 @ 4:58pm
            Nigel said | June 15th 2018 @ 4:58pm | ! Report

            You should do the same mate. Yeo is averaging 25 touches 5 clearances and 5.8 score involvements per game to go with 6 tackles V Henney 23 touches 3.8 clearances, 5 tackles and 6 score involvements

            Their stats are pretty much the same so to say that Heeny is daylights ahead of Yeo is not correct either

            • June 16th 2018 @ 12:03am
              Don Freo said | June 16th 2018 @ 12:03am | ! Report

              You have just proved our points. Yeo beat Heeney to the medal tonight…even on a losing side. Now that is an effort.

              • Roar Guru

                June 16th 2018 @ 1:13am
                AdelaideDocker said | June 16th 2018 @ 1:13am | ! Report

                They shared the medal, I believe.

              • June 16th 2018 @ 9:22am
                Don Freo said | June 16th 2018 @ 9:22am | ! Report


              • Roar Guru

                June 16th 2018 @ 10:06am
                AdelaideDocker said | June 16th 2018 @ 10:06am | ! Report

                Oh yeah, cheers.

      • June 15th 2018 @ 11:56am
        GoSwans said | June 15th 2018 @ 11:56am | ! Report

        Hannebery has groin problems.

        • June 15th 2018 @ 12:54pm
          Angela said | June 15th 2018 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

          Yes, apparently he needs surgery but is waiting until the end of the season. He’s been playing seniors since his last year at school. Very hard on young bodies.

          • Roar Guru

            June 16th 2018 @ 5:45pm
            Cat said | June 16th 2018 @ 5:45pm | ! Report


    • June 15th 2018 @ 8:40am
      penguin said | June 15th 2018 @ 8:40am | ! Report

      McVeigh is a big out. He is the Swans get out of jail card from defence, particularly with Mills out for the season. Lloyd gets plenty of the ball but lacks McVeigh’s vision and precision out of defence.
      The Eagles by 30.

      • Roar Pro

        June 16th 2018 @ 10:04am
        Davico said | June 16th 2018 @ 10:04am | ! Report

        Aliir Had a great game in place of McVeigh which was good to see. Was helped by some errant kicking by WCE though

        • Roar Guru

          June 16th 2018 @ 5:46pm
          Cat said | June 16th 2018 @ 5:46pm | ! Report

          Aliir always has good games when he has no direct opponent. He reminds me of Nick Maxwell – good at guarding grass. Make him defend and he goes to water.

          • June 16th 2018 @ 6:31pm
            Glenn said | June 16th 2018 @ 6:31pm | ! Report

            Aliir has played 18 games, what a silly comment. How many of those 18 have you watched? Always??? Good grief. I think the player you meant to name was Andrew Mackey.

            • Roar Guru

              June 18th 2018 @ 4:28pm
              Cat said | June 18th 2018 @ 4:28pm | ! Report

              I’ve seen at least half his games. A terrible one on one defender. Great grass guarder.

              • June 18th 2018 @ 5:10pm
                Glenn said | June 18th 2018 @ 5:10pm | ! Report

                Which one of the 9-odd games that you have seen played by this young man has given you the absolute proof that he is garbage one-on-one? It can’t be that hard for you to recall, considering your obvious penchant for voraciously reading every piece of documentation ever written by anyone connected to the AFL and presenting details gleaned from said documentation as proof of any opinion you put forward. Do your research, re-watch those games and tell me which contest it was that proved it to you.

    • June 15th 2018 @ 8:55am
      IAP said | June 15th 2018 @ 8:55am | ! Report

      The small ground will stifle West Coast. Sydney will win. It’ll be ugly though, because just about every game is ugly at the moment.

      • June 15th 2018 @ 10:05am
        Don Freo said | June 15th 2018 @ 10:05am | ! Report

        You might need to rely on players to stifle WC. The ground is impartial.

      • June 15th 2018 @ 10:12am
        DJW said | June 15th 2018 @ 10:12am | ! Report

        That’s my concern too, The way the Eagles have been playing doesn’t suit the smaller SCG.

        Go Eagles though

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