The much anticipated Doug Nicholls Round continues this weekend, and the Swans get the chance to kick the weekend off with a bang on Friday night at the SCG against lowly Carlton. In their last meeting, Buddy Franklin had 25 disposals, 10 marks and kicked 10.2, embarrassing Liam Jones in a dominant display that saw him sew up the Coleman Medal. Given Carlton’s struggle against key forwards this season, thanks in part to the wildly fluctuating fortunes of Liam Jones and Jacob Weitering it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that Buddy will repeat those feats again. Brendan Bolton continues to plead for patience with his young side, but fans (and punters!) have a right to demand competitiveness in the absence of consistency. Can the Blues even remain competitive against this experienced and finals hardened side? Wolfie doesn’t think so, but either way it will be exciting to see what Buddy has in-store for us in Indigenous round.
Sydney (WLWWW) – After a couple of hiccups at home against Adelaide and North Melbourne, the Swans have got their season back on track somewhat, with wins over the Hawks, Dockers and Lions. The absence of Buddy was a speed bump rather than a road block, and it did allow for youngster Will Hayward, Ben Ronke and Isaac Heeney to step up and lead the forward line and give it a few more dimensions (much like what happened to the Hawks when Buddy left altogether). A couple of their victories have come in difficult weather, and John Longmire will be pleased with the way his side has gritted it out in true Bloods style.
Carlton (LLWLL) – After finally securing their first win of 2018 against Essendon in Round 8, Carlton undid all their good work when they completely rolled over in an insipid and embarrassing display in a 109 point loss to Melbourne. They did their best to turn the tables against Geelong last round, but fell 28 points short in a very ugly game of footy that had a little bit of spite from both sides. Kade Simpson continues to produce consistent football from the back half while Patrick Cripps was huge against Geelong; but gave away 7 needless free kicks. Both games have demonstrated a clear lack of leadership and a propensity to get absolutely destroyed on the inside- and it goes without saying that they are the two cornerstones of successful sides. Hence why Carlton are sitting 18th.
Stats That Matter– Sydney have won 8 of the past 9 meetings – Lance Franklin averages 5.3 goals per game against Carlton as a Swans player – Carlton are 4-1 ATS when they are higher than 30.5 point favourites – Kade Simpson is averaging 30 disposals and 124 Fantasy Points per game in his last 4 against the Swans – The Blues are conceding 103 points per game this season – Ed Curnow is averaging 118 Fantasy Points per game in 2018 (up from 88 last year) – Carlton have being leading at half-time just once this season
No doubt the Swans engine room will be well aware of the way the Blues are getting smashed in contested possessions and clearances, and on a small deck like the SCG that is a recipe for disaster. Even if it absolutely floods in Sydney (which it won’t), how could Carlton make a game out of it anyway? Marc Murphy leaves a big gap, but it is the tail-end of the team that gives greater cause for concern. Some days they just don’t turn up, and that doesn’t fly against a club like Sydney. Wolfie is expecting the Swans to be far too good at home, regardless of what weather they encounter on Friday night, and looking to the likes of Kennedy, Franklin and Heeney to provide a fill-up for Wolf followers.
How It’s Shaping UpSydney by 42
Best Bet: Lance Franklin 5+ Goals ($2.50) Value Bet: Heeney 100+ Fantasy Points/Kennedy 30+ Disposals ($5.12) Player Prop: Ed Curnow 10+ Tackles ($2.60) First Goalscorer: Lance Franklin ($6.00)