With Essendon player Connor McKenna testing positive to COVID-19 last weekend, the state of the 2020 AFL season was up in the air. Thankfully, the season will go ahead as planned with Round 4 getting underway Thursday night with the Sydney Swans taking on the Western Bulldogs from 7.40pm.
As usual, we have dedicated preview for the Thursday night game, but remember, you can head to our AFL Tips page for our preview and betting tips for every game in Round 4 here.
SCG, Thursday June 25th, 7.40pm
The Swans and Bulldogs will reignite a great rivalry that kicked off when the latter claimed the 2016 Premiership in a thrilling game. Since then, the two teams have faced off four times, winning two games apiece.
The Swans captured a solid win against North Melbourne away from home on Saturday afternoon to move to 2-1 and maintain a position in the top eight. Isaac Heeney was the pick of the bunch from the Swans, racking up 18 touches and 8 marks en-route to the win.
The Swans will still be without key forwards Lance Franklin and Sam Reid through injury, however, 2nd year player Hayden McLean looked dynamic up forward alongside Isaac Heeney and the absence of the two stars will give him more opportunity to develop.
Oliver Florent seems to have found a new role in the Swans midfield and his teammates love giving him the ball at any opportunity to exploit his elite running and kicking skills. Through three games this season, he is averaging 23.3 touches, which makes him good value at $3.10 to rack up 25+ this Thursday.
The Bulldogs looked well and truly off the pace throughout the first two rounds when they were handled comfortably by Collingwood and St Kilda. They bounced back in a big way on Friday night in Round 3, however, as they downed the Giants at home by 24 points.
Jack Macrae was solid in the win, racking up 25 touches and seven tackles while the Bulldogs had eight different goal kickers who each slotted one. The win didn’t come without setbacks though, as star midfielder Josh Dunkley suffered and injured ankle and is set to miss at least six weeks.
With Dunkley out of the side as well as Lachie Hunter still serviing his suspension, we could see some different players floating through the middle of the ground for the Bulldogs for longer stretches. Expect Tom Lieberatore to be doing a lot of work around the stoppages for the Bulldogs.
The Swans start as very slight favourites here, which seems about right given that they are at home and how closely these two teams stack up on paper. The Swans midfield will no doubt have an advantage with the Bulldogs missing a few key players, and that is where we expect the game to be won or lost.
The Swans were too good the last time the two teams faced at the SCG, winning by 46 points as Josh Kennedy, Issac Heeney and Jake Lloyd racked up 99 touches between them. We think the Swans win again on Thursday night.
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