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Proudly Sydney

Preview: Sydney v West Coast

Isaac Heeney celebrates a goal against the West Coast Eagles in Round 1, 2018.

SUMMARY
The term blockbuster gets thrown around way too often these days, but Friday night's clash between the Swans and the Eagles deserves top billing as one of the matches of the season so far. Ladder leader West Coast has won 10 straight since it was toppled by Sydney and a Lance Franklin masterclass in the season opener, while the home side has steadied to win five in a row after a patchy start to the year. There's marquee battles wherever you look, but the match-up between in-form Swan Callum Sinclair and his former teammate Nic Naitanui in the ruck will be pivotal. The return of Luke Shuey (hamstring) adds even greater potency to the Eagles' midfield and he could find himself with George Hewett as a minder for the evening, unless the Sydney onballer gets sent to Andrew Gaff on the wing. Two outstanding teams on the big stage makes for a Friday night classic at the SCG.

WHERE AND WHEN: SCG, Friday, June 15, 7.50pm AEST

LAST FIVE MEETINGS
R1, 2018, Sydney 18.7 (115) d West Coast 13.8 (86) at Optus Stadium
R4, 2017, West Coast 13.13 (91) d Sydney 10.5 (65) at Subiaco Oval
R5, 2016, Sydney 12.16 (88) d West Coast 7.7 (49) at the SCG
R17, 2015, West Coast 15.13 (103) d Sydney 7.9 (51) at Subiaco Oval
R16, 2014, Sydney 10.19 (79) d West Coast 7.9 (51) at Subiaco Oval

THE SIX POINTS
1. Lance Franklin's eight goals was the difference between the sides in round one; the Eagles' ruck duo of Scott Lycett and Nic Naitanui kept the Eagles in the match, combining for 65 hit-outs.

2. West Coast has been high scoring this season, it's ranked second for goals per game with 14.9. The Swans have also been impressive with an average of 13.3.

3. These teams have two wins each since 2015, after the Swans racked up eight straight from 2008-14. There hasn’t been a single-figure finish between the sides since early 2009.

4. Sydney has dominated West Coast at the SCG, winning 13 of 16 matches including the last six. The Eagles haven’t defeated the Swans at the venue since round nine, 2009.

5. The Eagles will be aiming for 11 consecutive wins for just the third time in club history and the first time since 1996. Sydney hasn’t played a team in the top eight since round eight.

6. After starting the year ranked 221st in the AFL Player Ratings, Sydney ruckman Callum Sinclair has risen to 161st on the back of his career-best form.

IT’S A BIG WEEK FOR…
Sydney veteran Heath Grundy will play game 250 against the Eagles, a remarkable feat for the former rookie who started his career as a forward but has become one of the competition's most consistent key defenders.

AFL.com.au PREDICTION: Sydney by five points