Now that State of Origin league has wrapped, the AFL can stage their own NSW v QLD clash and, be assured, when the Sydney Swans take on the Brisbane Lions at the SCG this Saturday afternoon it’ll be every bit as frenzied, intense and exciting.
Both teams are in form after big wins last weekend. The Swans smashed the GWS Giants by 94 points on Saturday night while Brisbane achieved their first back-to-back victories since Rd 9-10 last season, thrashing Melbourne by 10 goals on Sunday.
It leaves Sydney sitting pretty at second on the premiership ladder while Brisbane sit 12th, just one victory just one win out of the Top eight. Ten spots might seem a big gap between these sides but the Swans have a minefield of clashes with Top 4 teams in August and need to make hay in July by winning tricky games such as this.
The Lions started the season patchily but since their shock win over comp leaders West Coast in Rd 10 they have been a different side. It was Michael Voss’s 11th win in 49 games as Lions coach and just their fourth victory of the season but it showed what they were capable of and, with captain Jonathan Brown fresh from a game-high four goals against the Demons, the Lions arrive in Sydney with their tails up and the Top 8 in sight.
The Swans have a top-of-the-table showdown with West Coast next week in Perth but can’t afford to get ahead of themselves. Despite their 10-3 win-loss record this year they have fallen victim to a few brain fades this season and must dig deep to find that extra 20 per cent Sydney coach John Longmire believes they will have to call on come the finals.
The good news for Bloods fans is that star players Adam Goodes and Shane Mumford are slowly getting back to their best after extended stretches on the sideline. If those big boys start to fire and pocket rockets Kieren Jack and Lewis Jetta continue to set games alight as they have all year, the men in red-and-white will be a true force to be reckoned with when the season gets sticky in the weeks to come. But first they have to tame the Lions…
Swan to watch: Kieren Jack – the Pennant Hills-born son of a rugby league legend is in career-best form and after 102 games is now being compared with one of the greatest Swans stars of all, former captain, Bloods icon and Brownlow Medal winner Paul Kelly.