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AFL Round 18 – Sydney v Adelaide preview & first goal scorer tips

Saturday, August 1, 2015, 4.35pm AEST, Sydney Cricket Ground, watch on Fox Footy

Ladder position

Sydney Swans: Fourth

Adelaide Crows: Seventh

Season record

Sydney Swans: 11-5-0

Adelaide Crows: 9-6-0

Last five games

Sydney Swans: LWWLL

Adelaide Crows: LWLWW

TALK about a must win game.

Apart from the Friday night blockbuster between Hawthorn and Richmond, which we’ve previewed here, there is no other game with more on the line than the desperate Adelaide Crows trip to a stumbling Sydney on Saturday afternoon.

The Swans, on a two game slide, are a skinny $1.37 with our friends at WilliamHill.com.au and face an Adelaide side that is clinging onto faint finals hopes, but is a rank outsider at $3.05 with the same bookie.

And the Swans will step out after another controversial week involving their favourite son Adam Goodes being booed mercilessly by fans during the side’s defeat at the hands of the West Coast Eagles, 15.13 (103) to 7.9 (51).

During the match, Lewis Jetta booted a goal and, incensed by the booing of Goodes, directed a hypothetical spear throwing performance at the West Coast crowd, similar to the war cry the dual Brownlow Medalist aimed at Carlton supporters during the AFL’s Indigenous Round earlier this season.

Some of poor old Goodesy’s supporters have played the race card, and there is certainly an element of that, but there are more than 70 Indigenous players in the AFL and they do not get booed in the same fashion.

Goodes is outspoken on issues of race, which unfortunately makes him a target of bigots, but opinions of the reason behind the booing are divided.

Amid a chorus of outcry, with many preaching at fans to stop the booing, there have been some people speak out against the notion of telling supporters how they can and can’t barrack.

Booing has been part of football – and sport – for as long as it’s been around. Why does anyone have the right to classify who does and doesn’t deserve to be booed?

Hawthorn legend Dermott Brereton suggested Goodes should “work out what he can do to change” his on field actions in a bid to divert the fans’ wrath.

“People will boo, they will cheer, they will hiss, sometimes they will swear — it’s the behaviour of the player that can stimulate those responses,’’ Brereton said.

“Adam Goodes would do well to look at what he’s done, bad or good or indifferent, and work out what he can do to change that.”

Former Brownlow medallist Jason Akermanis said there was nothing wrong with booing players.

“The crowd can boo anybody they want,” Akermanis said.

“I got booed all of my career and mostly it was when I was getting lots of touches so if people were booing I knew I must have been doing all right.”

Goodes has copped it all season and AFL chief Gillon McLachlan has said fans should stop, saying “enough is enough”.

Goodes has been given leave by the club to get away from the spotlight and coach John Longmire said he could miss the Adelaide clash.

“This is clearly an issue that he’s concerned about and is sick of, and needed a couple of days off,” Longmire said.

“That’s the most important thing, is that we address (the issue) and support Adam as much as we can.

“He’s a very, very strong individual and he’s able to go about his business on a week to week basis.

“Sometimes though, we can assume that it doesn’t hurt, and it does.”

“Adam’s a very strong person who has done a lot for the game, but don’t assume that these things are easily washed over and don’t affect him in some way.

“It’s affected him.

“He’s tried as hard as he can to try and move on, and we tried to address it in a way that we thought was appropriate at the time, but he’s had enough of it.“

Amid the controversy, the Swans lost again after an 89 point hammering at the hands of Hawthorn, despite 31 disposals from midfield bull Josh Kennedy.

Both the Bondi Millionaires Buddy and Tippett were on the sidelines and it meant the Swans simply didn’t have the forward line firepower to compete with the Eagles.

Tippett and Franklin are both expected to return for the clash with the Crows, who whacked the Gold Coast Suns, 19.11 (125) 12.8 (80), to make it two in a row after taking down Port Adelaide a fortnight ago.

They were helped by Suns superstar Gary Ablett going down with a season ending knee injury in the first quarter, but midfielders Patrick Dangerfield, 36 touches, Scott Thompson, 34, and Rory Laird, 32, went on a rampage.

Goal sneak Charlie Cameron booted four, with fellow small forward Eddie Betts kicking three, as did the towering Josh Jenkins.

Taylor Walker kicked two goals but only had 11 disposals and his form is still a concern.

Tall defender Daniel Talia is expected to be fit enough to take on the Swans after he pulled out of the Gold Coast game with a virus last weekend.

Rory Sloane made it through his first game following a broken cheekbone and he will continue wearing his head gear after fracturing it for a second time this season.

The Swans have beaten Adelaide three times on the spin and won four of their last six contests, including a 10 goal hammering at Adelaide Oval in their last outing in 2014, 21.8 (134) to 9.17 (71). In that match, Franklin and gun midfielder Luke Parker booted four goals each.

The Crows are seventh and need to keep winning to ward of five other clubs below them as the attempt to seal up a finals spot.

Predictions

Match result: Sydney Swans win ($1.37 with WilliamHill.com.au)

Line: Adelaide +17.5 ($1.91 with WilliamHill.com.au)

This is a massive game and we think with the varied form of the two teams, it’s much closer than their ladder positions suggest. The Crows are one of a very few teams who enjoy a positive record against the Swans at their fortress, the Sydney Cricket Ground. they’ve played there 16 times, with Crows winning 11 of those, indicating the Adelaide boys show no fear of travelling there. With the likes of Dangerfield and the ageless Thompson firing and the dangerous forward line of Betts, Cameron and Jenkins kicking goals, they should have enough in the tank to keep this one close. And the match could be won or lost in the ruck. If big Sauce Jacobs can dominate against Mike Pyke, who has struggled with niggles in recent weeks, it will go a long way to the Crows getting first use of the footy and therefore providing them with more impetus to go on and win the match. But we get the vibe the 17.5 point line is just about right, because we think the home ground advantage will just get Sydney over the line by two to three goals. We’re backing the Crows to keep it close, but the Swans to ultimately prevail and put their hopes of finishing in a top four slot on the AFL ladder back on track.

First goal scorer tips

Sydney Swans

Lewis Jetta ($23 with sportsbet.com.au)

After the controversy of last week, expect Jetta to come out breathing fire against the Crows. The lightning fast winger will be keen to push forward and impose himself early. What better way to prove that you’re unmoved by the problems and dramas of the week than to snag an early one and really get the ball rolling? Averages nearly 20 disposals and while he hasn’t been renowned for kicking a lot of goals, we think he’s a nice little selection at very healthy odds to have a flutter on. We’d love to see one of his trademark runs where he finds space out of the wing and turns on the after burners, streaking into the attacking 50 and firing one through with range.

Lance Franklin ($7 with sportsbet.com.au)

Buddy, as is the case with Jetta, will be keen to have an impact to support his under fire team mate in Goodes – if he can get on the park. Coming off a week off, he should be fresh and ready to hit the ground running if he can overcome the back injury that forced him to withdraw from the Eagles game on Sunday. We don’t need to tell you how talented this guy is. The mercurial forward is capable of ripping a game apart off his own boot and is a regular appearance in the first goal kickers for the Swans. Back with confidence, but wait until the teams are named.

Adelaide Crows

Patrick Dangerfield ($18 with sportsbet.com.au)

Don’t you just love this bloke’s game? Dangerfield is an absolute gun and he’s been a flat out monster in the pat two months as he attempts to put the Crows on his back and carry them to a finals berth. Doesn’t kick the 20 to 30 goals a season like he used to do, but is still capable of bagging them on his day. Is an absolute bulldog when he gets near the footy and knows exactly where those big sticks are. If he gets an opportunity to kick the first goal, you can be sure he will make no mistake in ramming it home and winning some dough for punters brave enough to follow our tip and lay down some of their hard earned on him.

Josh Jenkins ($11 with sportsbet.com.au)

This used to be Tex’s forward line, but the Crows’ captain may have been crushed by the responsibility. Has Jenkins gone ahead of Walker as the Crows’ most dangerous tall forward? He’s booted 27 goals for the year, including a bag of five against Carlton in round 10. Jenkins has consistently kicked his two to three goals a week all year, clunking mark after mark with his vice like hands and usually putting them through the big sticks with accuracy. Last week was a bit of a negative outlier, his kicking boot only allowing him 3.4. We think he’ll do some corrective work on that this week and kick them a bit straighter against the Swans.