By Tom Sermani @tom_sermani
Sydney: $1.23 -26.5
North Melbourne: $4.45 +27.5
Points Total Line: 174.5
Sydney: Won four of last five and eight of last ten matches.
North Melbourne: Won all of last five and eight of last ten matches.
Sydney: Nick Malceski will have a test on his hamstring but it looks like he will play.
North Melbourne: Lachie Hansen in doubt, as are Jamie Macmillan and Leigh Adams.
In our season preview for the Swans I wrote about how Buddy Franklin’s stats were starting to look worryingly regressive as his average goals and marks per game had decreased in each of the 2012 and 2013 seasons. This season Franklin has bounced back to form that’s getting close to that shown in 2008 when playing for the Hawks and he is as important a player as anyone for the Swans.
In the round 4 defeat to North at the SCG Scott Thompson did not give Franklin an inch and kept him to just three marks and no goals. The common perception is that Buddy was out of form at the start of the season but the numbers do not really back this up – he scored 4 goals in round 3 and again in round 5.
Buddy’s battle with Thompson is one of the key match-ups in this game and if Buddy gets on top the Swans will be hard to beat. When he’s firing he lifts the crowd which in turn lifts his team mates. Only a true superstar has that ability.
Luke Parker is getting a deserved reputation as a big game player (if the Swans reach the Grand Final expect a tip for the Norm Smith medal on these pages). He had 32 disposals against Fremantle in this year’s Qualifying Final and his form has been on an upward curve since the middle part of the season. In the first 12 games of 2014 he averaged 24 disposals. In the last 11 games he’s upped that number to 28 which is very impressive given that in 2013 he averaged 21 and the year before 16.
Parker should be right up there in Brownlow contention next year and his knack for coming up with vital goals should also not be underestimated.
It’s one thing to still be playing A Grade football at his age, it’s a completely different thing to be playing at the level this annoying little bloke is.
36 year old Boomer Harvey has just put up career high numbers in his 19th season as an AFL player. He has averaged 25.7 disposals, the first time he’s gone over 25 since 2001 when he averaged 25.7. He’s laid an average of 2.9 tackles and made 11.69 handballs, also career high numbers.
Nick Dal Santo
The ex St Kilda champion was outstanding in North’s win over Geelong last week with 35 disposals and eight marks and six inside 50’s. He will have to be in the same vein of form if North are to make an unlikely appearance in this year’s Grand Final. Whether he can reproduce that sort of effort is the big question as his form has been a bit in and out in 2014.
Sydney have won seven of the last ten matches between the two sides with North victorious in two and one game drawn. North’s win in round 4 was their first over the swans since round six of 2007.
Sydney are 9/3 at home in 2014 but 2/2 at ANZ. North Melbourne are 6/2 interstate.
The points totals for the last 10 prelim finals were:
The points line is set at 174.5
First quarter points line is 42.5
Second quarter points line is 42.5
First half points line is 82.5
Sydney are 10/13 over/under in 2014, 6/17 in first halves and 8/15 in first quarters.
North are 12/12, 8/16 and 11/13.