Thu, Sep 12, 2:08pm by Clarinda Campbell
Who: Sydney Swans ($1.36) vs Carlton Blues ($3.15)
When/Where: Saturday @ 7:45pm, September 14, 2013 at ANZ Stadium
The reigning premiers will be hell-bent on ending Carlton’s season on Saturday night and staking their claim for back-to-back flags. A straight sets exit would be a major let-down for the Red and White and something not too many people would have predicted at the beginning of the finals series. So expect a ferocious display from Sydney.
The teams have met 219 times with Carlton holding the clear advantage at 127 wins. The Swans need to snap a three game losing streak to stay alive. However, in their last three matches they’ve played the Cats once and the Hawks twice, so they can be excused a little for those losses. The Swans beat the Blues by 22 points in the only match up they have had in 2013.
A lot of the talk this week surrounds Swans champion Adam Goodes, who hasn’t played since Round 13. Goodes is a special player for the Swans and despite not playing since Round 13 he will bring experience to the team and the ability to calm down the younger players. He is also proven to be a mentally tough player and this is only an advantage for the Swans. Goodes has played a total of 23 finals across his career.
The Swans coach has acknowledged that Carlton have got some stars and that they played a ripping second half last week, but he said that the Swans “know that our best is pretty good and that’s what we need to deliver on the weekend”.
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The Swans were highly competitive in the first half of football against the Hawks last week, so much so that scores were level at 31 points each at half time. The Swans were disappointed with their second half. They turned over the ball too much and weren’t able to get their hands on the ball. The Hawks really locked the Swans into their own defensive end.
The Blues have expressed confidence this week that they can tackle the tall Sydney forward line. The Carlton defenders are short compared to the giant Sydney forward line that comprises Tippett, White and Pyke. They can take a good mark due to their height, and the Carlton defenders may struggle to be the spoilers. The key for Carlton is to control the Sydney midfield. When they are hot, the Sydney midfield is one of the best in the business, with names like Hannebery and O’Keefe sitting at the top of the list. Sydney generally win a lot of clearances and if that happens here, Sydney should dominate the match.
Naturally, the Blues 20 point come from behind win against Richmond in the elimination final last week has given them a confidence boost. Obviously, because they are coming from behind to win (they also came from behind to defeat Port Adelaide in Round 23), the Blues aren’t getting off to great starts. They cannot afford to do this against a top team like the Swans.
Really, it’s a tale of contrasts. The Swans were lacking in their second half last week whilst Carlton were spectacular. However, last week was an off game for the Swans. Due to their class, they shouldn’t have another off game here.
Carlton have history against them and on the flip side, history favours the Swans. Since the current finals system commenced in 2000, in 26-semi finals, only twice has a team that finished in the top four gone out by losing both the qualifying final and the semi-final. No team has won the flag from outside the top four since the current finals system began.
When you think of it, the ladder doesn’t lie and this explains the history. The Swans finished in the top four because they are a better football team than Carlton. The Blues only got into the finals because of Essendon’s woes. Also, the Blues won four fewer games than the Swans during the season.
As the Swans team song states, whether the odds be great or be small, Swans will go in and win overall.
Speaking of odds, if you feel like a bet, the Swans are the short priced favourites in H2H betting, currently $1.36 with IASbet.com. They’ve only been given a 3.5 goal spread to cover (-21.5) in line betting and this is where my money would go for this match. I would also look out for Jesse White to kick 3 or more goals in the player markets when they come out.
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