Friday, September 23, 2016, 7.50pm AEST, Melbourne Cricket Ground
Geelong Cats: Second
Sydney Swans: First
Geelong Cats: 17-5
Sydney Swans: 17-5
Last five match results:
Geelong Cats: WWWWW
Sydney Swans: WWWWW
Head to head odds:
Geelong Cats: $1.65 with CrownBet.com.au
Sydney Swans: $2.30 with CrownBet.com.au
Geelong Cats: -8.5 ($1.92 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Sydney Swans: +8.5 ($1.92 with Sportsbet.com.au)
THE two best teams in the AFL square off for a chance to playoff in the 2016 grand final when the Geelong Cats host the Sydney Swans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday night.
And what a contest it is set to be.
The two best midfields go head to head in a clash that should feature plenty of crash and bash.
Make no mistake, this game will separate the men from the boys.
Whoever handles the rough and tumble dished out by the two sides’ brawny midfields will probably win the day.
The Swans’ engine room has no peer.
It starts with the extractor, Josh Kennedy, who never saw a hard ball he couldn’t win. The fearsome co-captain Kieran Jack is like a terrier under the packs, tenacious and unstoppable, then there is Dan Hannebery, the Brownlow Medal chance and of course, Luke Parker, who adds the cream.
And don’t forget Tom Mitchell, who might be the number one midfielder at several other clubs.
We can’t go past Kennedy to claim another bag of 35 or more disposals after his ridiculous 42 against Adelaide.
It won’t be as easy against the Cats, but it doesn’t have to be for Kennedy, who is as good at winning the hard ball as anyone in the game.
Kennedy had some marvellous support in the Swans 18.10 (118) to 12.10 (82) win over Adelaide last week, with young buck Isaac Heaney (32 touches and a goal), Mitchell (32 and a goal) and Hannebery (31 and a goal) in absolutely everything.
Jake Lloyd (28), Jack (25) and the remarkable Nick Smith (also 25) also got in on the act in the slaughter.
But the guy they are all chasing is Geelong’s master, Patrick Dangerfield.
Danger is without peer among the AFL’s midfielders and is the odds on red-hot Brownlow Medal favourite.
Joining Geelong’s inspirational captain Joel Selwood in the midfield at the start of this season, they pairing is known as Dangerwood and, between them, they could turn this game on its head.
He had a lazy 35 in the two-point win over the Hawks, 12.13 (85) to 12.11 (83), and, given that he made the move to Geelong for premiership aspirations, we reckon he will have another monster in this one against the Swans.
The game will be won and lost in the midfield.
Whichever team can supply their forwards with the best and most frequent delivery will claim this match.
With Lance Franklin up front, young buck Tom Papley and the potential return of Kurt Tippett from a broken jaw, the Swans are dangerous.
Buddy loves the big stage and there is no stage bigger than the Melbourne Cricket Ground for a cut throat finals clash.
We can’t go past Lance for first goal. He has the form and the firepower to get the job done and that plethora of star midfielders will be looking to hit him up first, every time they win the hard ball.
It’s a no brainer.
He kicked four goals last week, along with youngster Tom Papley and he could be a go as a smokey for the first goal.
But the Cats have their own star forward who is in red-hot form in Tom Hawkins.
The big Tomahawk is the focal point of the Cats’ attack, with just about everything going through him. He only kicked two goals against the Hawks, but he had a mountain of score involvements.
We like him for the Geelong first goal and we reckon it could happen very quickly with Selwood or Dangerfield winning the footy out of the guts and hitting him laces out.
And if he doesn’t do it, maybe the miraculous Daniel Menzel can get in on the act. He had a poor game against the Hawks and we reckon he will want to atone.
Player props predictions
Disposal picks – Geelong Cats:
Patrick Dangerfield to have 35 or more disposals ($2.63 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Disposal picks – Sydney Swans:
Josh Kennedy to have 35 or more disposals ($2.40 with SportsBet.com.au)
Match result: Geelong to win ($1.65 with CrownBet.com.au)
Line betting: Sydney +8.5 ($1.92 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Flip a coin and you’d be a better judge on this one than us. That’s how close these two teams are. They sit one-two on the AFL ladder and sport identical records. The wounded Swans have had to do it the hard way, while the Cats took everything Hawthorn could throw at them and still almost lost their qualifying final. It makes for an intriguing clash, and, while we’d like to tip a draw, we’ve mulled over it for hours and decided on the Cats. They’ve had an extra week’s rest, the match is in Melbourne, they don’t have to travel and the Swans have injury concerns, while the Cats have to decide who to leave out.
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