Round 19 kicks off on Friday night at Etihad Stadium when the Bombers will come up against a Swans side looking to bounce back strongly after an insipid display last Saturday against the Suns. It was easily the upset of the year, and given the history this club has over the past decade or so- beware the wounded beast! They have a very strong recent record against Essendon, and John Longmire will expect nothing less than a strong win over an injury-depleted Bombers side that is building towards a highly unlikely return to September.
Essendon (WWLWW) – The Bombers continued their (very) improbable run to the Finals with their fifth win in six games after an ugly win over the Dockers last round. The inclusions of Zaharakis and Fantasia were huge, with the former contributing 25 disposals, 8 inside 50’s and a goal and the latter booting 5 crucial goals from his 7 inside 50 marks. No doubt with their attacking waves from the back-half they are a dangerous side to play, and the fact they have polished up their contested ball (+21 against Freo) and clearance work (+14) means they are giving themselves a better chance of competing with the top sides.
Sydney (WLLWL) – Let this sink in- the Swans lost to the Suns. At the SCG. After leading by 29 points at quarter time. After starting at odds of $1.02. Coming up against a side that had lost 11 consecutive matches and was missing Lynch, Day, Hall, Martin and Swallow- probably their 5 best players. Forget the upset of the year, this was the upset of the millennium! Longmire’s decision not to play Heath Grundy (with the veteran instead playing in the NEAFL) came back to bite him, as the Swans lacked experience in the back half; continually butchering the ball and turning it over. It is staggering to think about the turnaround of the Suns; who kicked 11 goals to just 2 for the Swans in the final 3 quarters- and you can bet Sydney will be spending a lot of time this week practicing their foot skills under pressure. Bar Kennedy, Parker and Aliir, no one gets a pass mark for this performance.
Stats That Matter– Sydney has won the past 8 meetings– The Bombers are 3-7 on the Over/Under in their last 10– Lance Franklin averages 4.5 goals per game (68 in 15 matches) against Essendon- his best record against any club– The Swans have won 14 of their last 17 Away fixtures– Devon Smith is averaging 8.5 tackles per game (10+ seven times) in 2018– Sydney have not covered the spread for 4 consecutive games– Josh Kennedy is averaging 34 disposals and 109 Fantasy Points in his past 4 matches against the Bombers
2018 Line: Essendon– 8-9; Sydney- 8-9
2018 Over-Under: Essendon– 5-12; Sydney- 8-9
What To Expect
Wolfie is expecting a big response from the Swans led by leaders Kennedy, Parker, Franklin and Heeney. They simply HAVE to respond. They have been far better away from home over the past two seasons, and the probable loss of power forward Shaun McKernan for the Bombers really hurts given they are already missing Stringer and Daniher. It would appear to be a coin-flip job if you look at their form-lines on paper, but the Wolf likes the price of the Swans to get back onto the winners list against a Bombers forward line that has been stripped of all its talls bar the 196cm fourth-string Mitch Brown.
How It’s Shaping UpSydney by 16
Best Bet: Sydney WIN ($2.05) Value Bet: TBC Player Prop: Josh Kennedy 30+ Disposals First Goalscorer: Lance Franklin