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Geelong Cats: Second
Sydney Swans: Fourth
Geelong Cats: 10-4
Sydney Swans: 10-4
Last five match results
Geelong Cats: LWWWL
Sydney Swans: WWLWL
Geelong Cats: $1.50 (CrownBet.com.au)
Sydney Swans: $2.56 (CrownBet.com.au)
Geelong Cats: -14.5 at $1.92 (Sportsbet.com.au)
Sydney Swans: +14.5 at $1.92 (Sportsbet.com.au)
IT’S the Friday night blockbuster everyone has been waiting for.
After a bye round packed with stinkers, two top-four clubs square off for a chance to join Hawthorn at the top of the AFL ladder.
Sydney were rocked last week by a last-minute goal to Jason Johannisen, consigning them to a four-point defeat at the hands of the Western Bulldogs.
The Swans led at half time, but were wrecked by the Dogs lightning-fast ball movement and relentless tackling pressure, coupled with inaccurate kicking in the 13.5 (83) to 11.13 (79) defeat.
Lance Franklin was a man among men, taking young Dogs defender Marcus Adams to school with five goals, 21 disposals and 10 marks.
And the Swans’ elite midfielders all feasted, but they did not get enough out of their backend to take the win.
Josh Kennedy and Luke Parker each had 34 possessions and Dan Hannebery had 33, while captain Kieren Jack had 26.
Jack is an interesting proposition. While Hannebery has become the Swans’ best midfielder and both Parker and Kennedy find a mountain of it, Jack – set to play his 200th game – is almost as important.
But he has faced controversy this week after it was revealed he and brother Brandon are in a feud with their parents. He told them not to come to his 200th game and his mother let the cat out of the bag over Twitter.
Parker started the 2016 season on fire and then inexplicably died off, producing a 13-possession stinker in round 12.
But the bye has appeared to do him good, with 23 against Melbourne and then back to his best last week against the Bulldogs.
He has a habit of stringing a hot run together and looks good value at $2.75 with Sportsbet.com.au to get 30 or more disposals.
It does not get any easier for the Swans with a Geelong team at its own fortress coming off the bye.
The Cats will be well rested after the bye, but were left licking their wounds when St. Kilda also claimed a late goal to win by less than a kick two weeks ago.
The Saints led at every change, with sleepy Geelong only awakening in the last term.
They took a nine-point lead at the 18-minute mark of the last term, but a stunning snap from young buck Jade Gresham and then a soccer goal with only moments left in the match from Jack Steven broke the Cats’ hearts.
Joel Selwood had 29 disposals to be the Cats’ best, while Cam Guthrie and Corey Enright had 25 each.
Tom Hawkins and Lincoln McCarthy booted three goals apiece for Geelong.
Dangerfield “only” had 29 against the Saints, after reeling off matches of 32, 48 and 37 in the previous three weeks.
He seems to lift for the better teams and, with the Swans in town, we expect him to go big.
Over 35 possessions is our tip at $2.88, but you could do worse than taking a tiny bite out of the $7.50 on offer for him to have a big one and claim 40 or more touches.
He is just that talented and, after a week off surfing and taking it easy, you would think he will be primed to send another statement against a premiership challenger.
The good news story of the season might be the potential return of forgotten Cat Mitch Clark.
He has played four games in the VFL, booting 10 goals, and would be a massive boost to Geelong’s premiership hopes if he was able to make a return.
sportsbet.com.au does not even have a market for the big forward to kick the first goal, but, if he is picked, you can expect him to be close to goal at the first bounce.
Wouldn’t it be poetic if he was to take a strong grab and slot the first of the match?
Should he not make the cut, the usual suspect in Hawkins ($9) is always a danger, but we might go with the handy McCarthy at $15, coming off a strong game against the Saints.
Buddy is the obvious pick for Sydney – a match favourite at $7.50 – but the market is wide open after that, with Gary Rohan, Ben McGlynn and Isaac Heeney all between $15-$18.
But we’re going for an outsider in Dean Towers to slot the first.
The Swans need someone to stand up in Tippett’s absence and it looked like it would be Towers after his 27 disposals and two goals the Demons. He backed it up with 21 against the Dogs, but only found the goals once.
He is $26 to boot the first and that is some serious value.
Player props picks for Geelong vs. Sydney
First goal scorer
Geelong: Lincoln McCarthy ($15 with Sportsbet)
Sydney: Dean Towers ($26 with Sportsbet)
Geelong: Patrick Dangerfield 35 or more ($2.88 with Sportsbet)
Sydney: Luke Parker 30 or more ($2.75 with Sportsbet)
Match result: Geelong Cats to win ($1.50 with CrownBet)
Line betting: Geelong Cats -14.5 ($1.92 with Sportsbet)
Geelong have made a habit of losing to the bottom feeders and whacking the sides in the top eight. This is one of those games where we can see them blowing Sydney off the park.
Simonds Stadium, off a two-week break, the Swans losing a tough one against the Dogs and having to travel – it all adds up to a cold, miserable night for Sydney and a big win for the Cats.
If Hawthorn lose to Port on Thursday night in Adelaide, the winner of this game will take top spot. It’s all there to play for.
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