AFL Finals: Sydney team Preview

4 September 2012

Written by:

Home and Away Review

Source: AFL

The Swans started the year with a bang, winning their first five games of the season, including a superb come-from-behind win against premiership favourites Hawthorn in Tasmania.  They finished the season with 16 wins in third place.

Players at Sydney seemed to make the leap from average to exceptional over the course of the season.  Josh Kennedy announced himself as one of the best onballers in the competition and Daniel Hannebery showed why he won the Rising Star Award in 2010. And Mike Pyke showed that he could be another successful code jumper, demonstrating his worth in the absence of Shane Mumford.

The Swans also ranked best in the competition for defence, in terms of conceding the least amount of points.

Sydney started to gain more and more respect as the season went on, with hard fought wins over Essendon (when the Bombers were in form), Geelong and a smashing win against West Coast in Western Australia.

Sam Reid started to find some form later in the season and put competing defences on notice, providing some much needed relief to the Swans forward line.

Towards the end of the season, Sydney were on the wrong end of some phenomenal matches which resulted in close loses. Its match against Collingwood at ANZ Stadium came down to the wire with the Swans losing by eight points.  Two weeks later they lost to Hawthorn at the SCG by seven points, which showed that they simply couldn’t match it the best.

Despite falling away towards the end of the season, particularly in the last month of football, the Swans earned a top four spot.

Key Finals Player – Lewis Jetta

Jetta has had a superb season, despite having faded of late.

He has the ability to break open a game with his speed and despite kicking 19 straight points before scoring his first ever AFL goal in 2011, this season he has been deadly, kicking 40 goals for the season and winning the goal kickers tally for the Swans.

His speed is blistering and his evasive techniques are comparable with any of the top line players in the league, meaning he only needs the smallest of spaces to evade any opponent.

Jetta manages to burn the defence line of some of the top teams, and when the ball has been placed in to space, he finds the gaps and places himself in attacking positions.

Sydney will need him to be at his best if they are to have any chance of winning the 2012 premiership.

Why the Swans can win the flag

The Swans have been one of the better sides all year, but for some reason have received little praise for their superb efforts. On paper, the team doesn’t look a premiership side, but Sydney’s strength is that it is a team full of hard workers.

Josh Kennedy, Kieran Jack and Jude Bolton head that list and are extremely dangerous in and around stoppages. Their outside players are just as good and if Adam Goodes can find some finals form, then Sydney will be extremely hard to beat.

Ruckmen Shane Mumford and Mike Pyke have provided great service to their midfield and been competitive against every ruck combination they have come up against this season.

Their defence has also been key to their success. Heath Grundy and Ted Richards are possibly the best combination of defenders in the competition this season. Add to this the likes of Nick Smith, Alex Johnson and the run of Rhyce Shaw and the Swans are able to hold up against most attacks.

If Sam Reid is doing what he does best – taking marks, kicking goals and crashing packs down forward – the Swans will cause headaches.

Why the Swans can’t win the flag

Towards the end of the season the Swans have looked a little flat. In their Round 23 encounter against Geelong, they could barely get their hands on the footy in the second half, which is worrying going into a finals series.

They have lost three of their last four games, and maybe the signs of a young side are starting to show. If it’s key players such as Adam Goodes, Sam Reid and Lewis Jetta fail to play at their peak for the Swans, then they may bow out in straight sets.

The Swans have also had limited practice at the MCG and when they played there this season, they were torn to pieces by an impressive Richmond. And if the Swans go all the way, they’ll have to play at the ‘G on that last Saturday in September.

Best Possible Result – The Grand Final

While the Swans have been good all year, Sydney is more of a chance to win the 2013 premiership rather than the 2012 one.

Having said that, Sydney is a definite chance to make the Grand Final and if the Swans can beat the Crows in Adelaide this Saturday, they will have a home preliminary final meaning their path to the Grand Final will be all but guaranteed.

Joshua Jeans is a final-year Bachelor of Media Studies student at La Trobe University and is upstart’s current sports editor. You can follow him on Twitter: @jeansjoshua