Interesting round of AFL we have coming up as the action kicks off this Friday night with Sydney hosting Adelaide and continues through until Wednesday which is, of course, Anzac Day. We’ll have separate previews for both the weekend’s action and the two big clashes on next Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, but for now we are taking a look at the Round 5 opener between the Crows and Swans.
Its only Round 5 this weekend but the Crows will already be lining up for their fourth Friday night fixture of the year when they travel to Sydney to take on the Swans. They currently sit ninth on the AFL ladder with a 2-2 record and are coming off a demoralising loss at home to the Magpies in Round 4.
The Crows were destroyed through the middle of the ground and in particularly in the ruck, as Brodie Grundy had 40 hit-outs and 33 disposals to give his midfield excellent supply. Steele Sidebottom racked up a massive 43 disposals on the night and Adam Treloar finally found some form, combining with Tom Phillips and Scott Pendlebury for over 90 disposals. The one bright spot for the Crows was another strong performance by off-season recruit Bryce Gibbs, who had 27 touches and kicked two goals in the loss.
Unfortunately for the Crows, they just don’t have the stock in the midfield at the moment, and it showed on the weekend as they were destroyed in that part of the ground. Both the Crouch brothers remain on the sidelines with injury, leaving the bulk of the grunt work in the middle to the likes of Rory Sloane and Gibbs.
It’ll be another tough assignment in the middle of the ground this Friday night as they come up against arguably the deepest midfield in the league, the Swans. Josh Kennedy and Dan Hannebery both had quiet days in Round 4 but the Swans were able to run out seven point winners over the Western Bulldogs on the back of some brilliant play by Luke Parker and Isaac Heeney.
Lance Franklin was kept quiet for the first half of the game against the Dogs, but exploded for three goals and a further four scoring shots in the second half to turn the game in the Swans favour. Daniel Talia has been serviceable against Franklin in the past and will get the job on the superstar forward once again this week.
Adelaide’s forward line is definietely stacked to the brim at the moment, but in wet weather on Friday night, they were way too big and slow. It will be interesting to see whether or not they stick with rookie Darcy Fogarty for this Friday night. The young key forward, alongside Josh Jenkins, Taylor Walker and Mitch McGovern really limits mobility in the Crows forward line, but in what is slated to be perfect conditions in Sydney on Friday night, I’d be tempted to give the quartet one more go, especially with the threat of Eddie Betts at ground level.
They might have the most dynamic forward line in the league, but I just can’t get past the batterign Adelaide copped in the middle of the ground last Friday night. The Magpies had a whopping 35 more contested possessions than the Crows, and this week Adelaide come up against arguably the best contested midfield in the league. Kennedy, Hannebery, Parker and Kieren Jack should run rampant this weekend against the undermanned Adelaide midfield. I love the Swans to cover the early week line of 16.5 at home.
TIP: Sydney -16.5 - $1.92 at Ladbrokes