Fri, Sep 9, 11:22am by Jake Equid
Date and Time: Saturday September 10, 3.20pm AEST
Venue: ANZ Stadium
TV: Live on Channel 7, Fox Footy
It’s the Sydney Derby that has been five years in the making and it is set to truly ignite the rivalry between the cross-town rivals. The stage is set perfectly for the Giants and the Swans with a crowd of 70,000 expected at the Olympic Stadium. Can the Giants take the step up and become a genuine Premiership threat or will the older brother Swans spoil the party?
An important indicator that so often gets overlooked is percentage, The Swans are fourth in scoring but importantly the number one ranked defence in the league. Their percentage finished the home and away season at a whopping 151.2%.
Last week’s awards ceremonies rubber stamped the talent in their side with five players named in the All-Australian squad. Midfield trio Josh Kennedy, Luke Parker and Dan Hannebery all made the team along with defender Dane Rampe and spearhead Lance Franklin. Then to cap it off, on Tuesday, Callum Mills was awarded the Rising Star.
WATCH: We preview the first week of the AFL Finals
Breaking down the Giants’ season also proves they have the ability to go deep into September. They were ranked second is scoring, above Sydney and, impressively, fourth in defending and also finished with an excellent percentage of 143.1%. They scored 508 points more than they did last season and conceded 228 points fewer. That a net difference of around 33 points a game.
Crucially, they led the league in kicks, inside 50s and clearances this season. Put simply, they are statistically the nest at winning the ball, getting it out and getting it forward.
Much has been made of their young squad but their average age is actually higher than the Swans. Steve Johnson has won three premierships, while Heath Shaw and Shane Mumford also have premiership medals. Captain Callan Ward and key midfielder Ryan Griffen also played in multiple preliminary finals at the Bulldogs.
Saturday promises to be a flagship day for AFL in the Harbour City. The Giants set out with a rock-solid recruiting plan five years ago when they entered the league and they never wavered from it, unlike fellow newbie, the Gold Coast Suns. Their top four finish this year is testament to smart drafting and recruiting. For the very first time the Swans now have a real rivalry with their counterparts from the West.
Also in the Giants’ favour is the venue. ANZ Stadium is in their heartland and the Swans haven’t played there since losing a semi-final against North Melbourne last year.
But the Swans simply boast the right brand of footy to win this final. Apart from points and percentage, they led the AFL in two crucial stats this year, tackles and contested possession. Their intensity should prove too much.
BEST BET: Sydney to win by 1-39: $2.10
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