Saturday, September 17 from 7.25pm AEST at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Week one of the finals:
Sydney Swans 7.13 (55) dft. by Greater Western Sydney Giants 12.19 (91)
Adelaide Crows 21.15 (141) dft. North Melbourne Kangaroos 12.7 (79)
Last time they met:
Adelaide Crows 16.17 (113) dft. Sydney Swans 15.13 (103) at Adelaide Oval
Sydney Swans: ($1.54 at Sportsbet.com.au)
Adelaide Crows: ($2.55 at Sportsbet.com.au)
Sydney Swans: -10.5 ($1.92 at Sportsbet.com.au)
Adelaide: +10.5 ($1.92 at Sportsbet.com.au)
IN what many pundits thought could be the potential Grand Final heading into the last round of the home and away season, the Sydney Swans and the Adelaide Crows meet in the first semi-final.
It’s all on the line for both clubs as they seek an opportunity to play the Cats on the MCG in the preliminary final.
It was two contrasting weeks for each side.
The Swans were embarrassed by the ‘younger brother’ in their qualifying final last week, losing to the GWS Giants in their first ever post-season appearance.
Sydney only managed to kick two goals after half time and went down by 36-points in a game they were expected to win.
To compound the loss, the Swans will be without Callum Mills and Kurt Tippett this weekend.
Adelaide’s Saturday night win over North Melbourne was the performance of the weekend.
The Crows crushed the Kangaroos by 62 points to advance through to the semi-final for a second consecutive year on the back of a brilliant six-goal effort from small forward Eddie Betts.
The only concern for Adelaide coming out of its thumping win was the health of forward Josh Jenkins.
Jenkins laboured through the elimination final win after hurting his ankle, but Crows coach Don Pyke believes the athletic big man will be good to go for Saturday night.
“He trained today and he did what he needed to do so he’ll be fine,” Pyke said.
The Crows reached the semi-final stage last season, but were bundled out by eventual premiers Hawthorn.
“It’s fair to say last year after the first final win, the feeling I got talking to some of the coaches and players, was there was this euphoric state about a great win,” he said.
“And that probably didn’t help them get ready for the second week of the finals, but I think this year, we have been far more measured in terms of we moved on pretty quickly.
“I thought their response post-game was pretty mature, to be honest.”
The Crows coach is expecting their opponent to come out breathing fire on Saturday night, and he said he anticipates a similar mindset from his men.
“I would be really disappointed if we weren’t able to match their intensity and effort based on them coming off a loss and us coming off a win,” Pyke said.
“We have got as much to play for as Sydney do. We played some good footy last week and have played good footy all year so our responsibility is to bring the same attitude and effort as we brought last week.”
It looms as a classic match-up between two sides who have the ability to go on and win the premiership, but we are focused on the individuals rather than the overall match.
We have gone through both sides and picked two players from each outfit that we think will generate our readers some serious cash coming into Saturday night.
Player exotic markets – Adelaide Crows
The key match-up for the Swans will be the opponent of Adelaide’s All-Australian forward Eddie Betts.
Betts was dynamic last week in his best afield six-goal haul against the Kangaroos.
Will Longmire put his faith in Betts’ All-Australian teammate Dane Rampe – who had his colours lowered last week by Jeremy Cameron – or will Nick Smith get the job?
Whomever gets the Betts job will need to subdue the small forward to a limited impact if the red and the white are to salute on Saturday.
That is easier said than done.
The sort of form Betts is in is unprecedented, and we are expecting the small forward to be at his brilliant best on Saturday night.
- Betts is $8.50 at Sportsbet.com.au to kick the first goal of the match.
- WilliamHill.com.au has Betts at the $1.80 quote to kick three or more goals for the match.
Alongside Betts, we are anticipating a huge game from Rory Sloane
The man they call ‘Batman’ had a quieter night than expected, gathering just 21 disposals and while only laying two tackles for the match.
Sloane will be looking to add some physicality to Saturday’s semi-final against a battle-hardened midfield, and we are expecting him to show why he has laid the third most tackles across the entire league in 2016.
- Rory Sloane is $4.25 to lay the most tackles on Saturday night at WilliamHill.com.au
Player exotic markets – Sydney Swans
We are expecting a massive game from the former Coleman medallist Lance Franklin.
Buddy was held goalless against the Giants, but was still one of his team’s better players in a losing side.
John Longmire’s men could only manage seven goals last week, so we are expecting the big man will play closer to home this weekend.
- Franklin is the $7 favourite to kick the first goal of the match on Saturday night at Sportsbet.com.au.
- WilliamHill.com.au has Franklin at the $1.50 quote to kick three or more goals for the match.
Another man who will be keen to atone for last week’s loss is Josh Kennedy
‘JPK’ suffered a head knock early in the match against the Giants, but still managed to gather 30 disposals including 22 handballs.
Kennedy is ranked number two across the entire league for handballs, and even after spending time off the ground last week he still managed to gather three more than his nearest opponent.
Kennedy to have the most handballs is one of the best bets of Saturday night.
- Josh Kennedy to have the most handballs on Saturday night is $3 at WilliamHill.com.au