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NEAFL: Hot Topics

The skipper instructs his troops in a clash with Sydney University at the SCG.

The Sydney Swans’ clash with the Gold Coast Suns at Metricon Stadium on Saturday is brimming with Hot Topics.

A string of Swans pushing for senior selection, Sydney’s building run of form and plenty more surrounds the Round 11 stoush.

AFL hopefuls pressing senior claims

Ben Ronke, Tom McCartin and Ryley Stoddart have this season all earned AFL debuts off the back of outstanding NEAFL form, while the likes of Nic Newman and Dan Robinson have been drafted in and out of the senior side. The string of senior call-ups has laid bare the importance of strong NEAFL form to senior selection and a number of Swans on the verge of the big time will on Saturday again be staking their claims. James Rose is looking to build on his eight senior games and didn’t miss a beat in Sydney’s clash with the Redland Bombers last Saturday in a return of 35 possessions and two goals. Newman gathered 27 touches to earn a Swans-high six NEAFL MVP votes, while the likes of Aliir Aliir, Darcy Cameron and Colin O’Riordan also fired.

Academy stars standing tall

Another massive opportunity awaits the likes of QBE Sydney Swans Academy stars Bailey Stewart and Sam Wicks. The Under-19 Academy members were unsuccessful at last year’s National and Rookie Drafts and are preparing to again launch huge tilts in November. Strong NEAFL form is critical on the road to the Draft and a host of Academy stars have impressed in the second-tier competition this season. Stewart tallied 20 disposals and two goals in Sydney’s match with the Brisbane Lions in Round 8 to claim a NEAFL MVP nomination. Nine Academy members turned out for Sydney last Saturday and a long list of Academy top-ups is again set to buoy the Swans.

Hot run of form

The Swans opened their 2018 campaign with a run of four losses as they battled injury and inaccuracy in front of goal, but on Saturday they will shoot for six wins on the trot. The winning run includes victories of two competition front-runners. Sydney outdid the Southport Sharks in an 88-point win in Round 7 and Sydney University in a 51-point victory in Round 9. The Swans are heading into the Suns clash off the back of a 22-point win over the Bombers and ahead of the Round 11 fixture are sitting in fourth on the ladder.

An eye on revenge

The Swans succumbed to a fourth straight defeat when they last met the Suns, falling to a nine-point loss at Fankhauser Reserve on the Gold Coast in Round 4. Rose was sidelined early in the third term due to a head knock and six Academy members topped up the Swans in void of a string of injuries. Cameron starred in a return of 24 touches, 32 hit-outs and two goals but it wasn’t enough, Gold Coast leading at every change en route to a gritty win. The Swans will have their sights set on revenge as the two AFL clubs collide.