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Hot Topics: A semi-final showdown

Luke McManus  September 13, 2017 5:13 PM

Red & White News - Semi Final, 2017 Loretta Johns has the latest news from around the Club in the lead up to our Semi Final against Geelong.
Lance Franklin, pictured alongside Aliir Aliir and Will Hayward, was in a great mood at training on Wednesday.

Lance Franklin, pictured alongside Aliir Aliir and Will Hayward, was in a great mood at training on Wednesday.

And this incredible season rolls on…

The Sydney Swans’ astonishing season continued with a big win against Essendon in last weekend’s Elimination Final.

The victory takes the Swans’ run to 15 wins from the past 17 games and they’re now primed to challenge for a spot in the preliminary finals against Geelong at the MCG on Friday night.

The 0-6 start to the season now seems like an eternity ago.

It’s irrelevant now, especially for the players who are right in the thick of this finals series.

All that matters, is accounting for the Cats and progressing to the penultimate round.

Bomber blitz

After a tight opening term, the Sydney Swans came out after the huddle to turn an 11-point lead into a 61-point buffer by the major break, courtesy of a 10-goal-to-two blitz.

With only one fully functioning leg after copping a corked thigh in the opening quarter, Lance Franklin blew the game wide open with four goals himself, all in the second term, including three in three minutes.

The ability of the Swans to put the game beyond the Bombers’ reach in about 30 minutes of game time was a sight to see, even more impressive knowing what was at stake.

Essendon bought the heat worthy of a finals contest in the opening quarter, laying some 40 tackles, but the home side soon settled and it was one-way traffic after that.

The Swans have won five of the past six matches against Geelong, by an average of 55 points, cashing in on big first quarters.

In the past two contests, in Round 16 earlier this season and last year’s Preliminary Final at the MCG, the Swans outscored the Cats by a combined 14 goals to two in the opening terms.

Will that be the key to ending Geelong’s season early? Will that be John Longmire’s tactic going into another cut-throat final? Will Chris Scott ready be ready for the challenge?

All questions will be answered on Friday night.

Beware the wounded Cats

Sydney Swans veteran Jarrad McVeigh, who’s played Geelong 21 times over his 299-game career, scoffed at the suggestion the Cats are ripe for the taking given their performance against Richmond.

“It’s pretty easy, last year we showed that,” McVeigh said of flipping form lines when a preliminary final is at stake.

“The Giants smashed us up here then we had a really good performance against Adelaide, and we expect that from Geelong.

“We’re too smart to not think they’re not going to bounce back really well … we understand they’ll be coming out fired up.”

There’s a reason why Brad Scott and his men finished second on the ladder and earned the right to be there this September.

Boasting quality personnel – Joel Selwood, Patrick Dangerfield, Harry Taylor, Tom Hawkins, among others – Geelong won’t be easy beats in front of what’s expected to be huge crowd at the MCG.

Buddy’s corkie

We’re usually referring to his lethal left when talking about Lance Franklin, but all the attention has been on the star forward’s right leg ahead of Friday night’s semi-final against Geelong.

Has there been a more widely talked about “corkie” than the one Buddy copped last weekend? If there has, we're none the wiser.

Many of the record-breaking 46,323-strong crowd in the stadium on Saturday night, and so many more watching from home, would have breathed a sigh of relief when Franklin returned to the field in the second quarter.

With his thigh strapped, no thanks to Brendan Goddard’s knee, Franklin more than returned but took the microphone, drew the curtain apart and stole the stage under the SCG’s spotlight to turn the game on its head.

There was an even bigger sigh of relief when, posed with the question at his post-match press conference, John Longmire defused any doubt surrounding the Coleman Medallist.

“He’s fine,” Longmire said. “Blokes get corkies every week, so he’ll do what he needs to do get himself right, so he’ll be fine.”

And that hasn’t changed.


Macca’s 300th

One of the Sydney Swans’ favourite sons will line up for game 300 on Friday night.

Jarrad McVeigh – dual Bob Skilton medallist, premiership co-captain and All Australian – has been a loyal servant of the football club and the milestone signifies what a trojan the 32-year-old has been over 14 seasons in red and white.

While he’s had his fair share of injury concerns of late, McVeigh’s impact is still profound.

He was crucial to the Swans’ revival from 0-6 and, again, been a vital cog in the Swans’ league-best defence.

It’s amazing to think he’ll be around for another season to continue leading the next generation of Swans through what’s hopefully sustained success.