The fortnight of Saints playing in Friday night games is now finally behind us as we open up Round 19 of the AFL with a massive clash between Essendon and Sydney from Etihad Stadium. We preview the big game and give our betting tips below.
The Bombers will be looking to keep their finals hopes alive with a win as they currently sit just four points behind Hawthorn and Geelong who sit in 8th and 9th place respectively. It’s an absolute log jam in the bottom half of the top eight at the moment, with 6th place GWS separated from 12th placed Adelaide by just six points.
A win for the bombers here will not only insert themselves into the top eight mix, but it will also likely bring Sydney down into the race for the final few spots in the finals series. The Swans currently sit in fourth place but are just four points clear of Hawthorn and Geelong.
The Bombers have won two games in a row and seven of their last 10, including great wins over the likes of the Kangaroos, Giants, Cats and Eagles. They can ill afford to drop another game if they have any hopes of playing finals, but their run home is extremely tough. They face off against the Swans, Hawks, Tigers and Power in four of their last five games.
After going on a six-game win streak to boost themselves as high as 3rd on the ladder at one point, the Swans have now lost three of their last four games and suffered one of the all time horrendous losses on the weekend, going down by 24 points to the Suns at the SCG. Losses to Richmond and Geelong over the last month could have been excused but now real questions have to be asked about the Swans list.
Their midfield looks absolutely shot at the moment. No Hannebery and no Jack leaves them extremely thin in the middle of the ground but it was their accuracy that killed them on the weekend. The Swans kicked 8.16 in the loss as usual goal scoring threats in Lance Franklin, Ben Ronke, Callum Sinclair and Isaac Heeney combined for 0.8.
It could get worse for the Swans this Friday as well, as skipper Josh Kennedy is in a race against the clock to prove fitness after suffering a minor back injury against the Suns. Kieren Jack could return from his knee injury this weekend, but the rest of the Swans injured players are still a while away.
It will be interesting to see if 21 year old Jordan Dawson earns selection in the team on Friday night. The midfielder/forward racked up a monstrous 216 points in the NEAFL on the weekend featuring 23 tackles. The big bodied midfielder stands at 190cm and looks the ready made replacement for Josk Kennedy should the skipper miss. Definitely one for the fantasy team.
Full time in the NEAFL and we go down by 23 points to the Suns. Jordan Dawson our best with 29 disposals, 23 tackles and 3 goals. pic.twitter.com/ZFCKydwEU9
— Sydney Swans (@sydneyswans) July 21, 2018
David Zaharakis and Orazio Fantasia returned from injury for the Bombers on the weekend, both racking up triple digit fantasy scores. Jake Stringer is still a few weeks away but other than that the Bombers look pretty good on the injury front. They’ll go into this weekend near full strength and should give the struggling Swans a real shake at Etihad.
2017 Round 24 – Sydney (19.7.121) dft. Essendon (8.8.56)
2017 Round 14 – Sydney (11.20.86) dft. Essendon (12.13.85)
2016 Round 7 – Sydney (20.15.135) dft. Essendon (7.12.54)
2015 Round 1 – Sydney (10.12.72) dft. Essendon (9.6.60)
2014 Round 19 – Sydney (11.13.79) dft. Essendon (8.9.57)
Hard to like the Swans after what they dished up on the weekend, however, it would be such a Sydney move to come out and make a statement here after a tough loss. They are a well oiled machine and have the experience and depth to bounce back. Interestingly, the last five occasions these teams have faces off have all been in Sydney. Essendon have played Etihad well this year which should discredit the fact that the Swans have won the last five in a row.
The Bombers start as $1.82 favourites here after winning seven of their last ten games but im staying away from the result in this one. The over under seems a touch low considering the two teams have eclipsed 168 the last three times they have played. The Swans defence looked a little shakey on the weekend, allowing 88 points to the Suns and the Bombers have scored over 80 points in 7 of their last 9 games.
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