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Hot Topics: Round 4, 2019

Sydney Swans young gun Justin McInerney looks up-field.

The impending AFL debut of a first-year Sydney Swans livewire headlines the latest edition of Hot Topics ahead of Thurday night’s clash with Melbourne at the SCG.

McInerney called up for debut

First-year speedster Justin McInerney will become the second Swan to debut this season as he marches up the race for Thursday’s clash. The 18-year-old Northern Knights product will join Round 1 debutant Nick Blakey in Sydney’s 22, rubber-stamping a meteoric rise in red and white. The Swans secured McInerney via their third-round selection at last November’s AFL Draft, and the youngster impressed in the club’s pre-season campaign en route to his senior call-up. McInerney’s parents, John and Lila, will tune in to the game from overseas, while his brother Chris and sister Beck will be in the SCG stands. In two changes for the Round 4 opener, the Swans have called on McInerney and veteran Kieren Jack to replace the injured Jarrad McVeigh and Will Hayward.

Midfield bulls set for battle

Sydney co-captain Josh Kennedy last week engaged in an enthralling midfield duel with Carlton hard-nut Patrick Cripps – and his attention has this week turned to Melbourne’s Clayton Oliver. The young Demon is averaging 32 disposals, 18 contested possessions and four centre clearances per game to be leading his club in all three key categories. Kennedy thrives at the coalface of the contest – as this season’s contested-possession average of 13 per match shows – and he’ll relish the opportunity to butt heads with one of the league’s best on Thursday.

Franklin eyes Lloyd

Star Sydney forward Lance Franklin will move into seventh on the all-time VFL/AFL goal-kicking leaderboard if he kicks more than three majors. The four-time Coleman Medallist currently sits in eighth on 923 goals, marginally behind Essendon legend Matthew Lloyd on 926. Franklin has booted six goals across his first three games of the season, including two in a captivating battle with Carlton defender Liam Jones last week. Sydney and St Kilda great Tony Lockett (1360) sits atop the list of the greatest goal-kickers in history.

Gun Sydney Swans forward Lance Franklin has longed brought the crowd to its feet.

Last time the clubs met

Round 21, 2018 played host to a game for the ages when the Swans and Demons last squared off. After reviving its season with a desperate win over Collingwood the week prior, Sydney took on Melbourne in an afternoon game at the MCG. The Swans had just two players left on the bench after first-half injuries to Alex Johnson and Nick Smith, and they trailed by 18 points early in the second stanza. But they’d then power to seven consecutive goals across the second and third terms to establish a 21-point buffer. Melbourne would run in three final-quarter goals to Sydney’s zero, but the late dash wasn’t enough to save the day. Swans fans will on Thursday enjoy another game to treasure if the SCG plays host to a match of similar intrigue.

Can the streak continue?

The Swans have clinched victory the past seven times Sydney and Melbourne have met. They haven’t lost to the Demons since Round 17, 2010, and their average winning margin in that time stands at 43 points per game. At the SCG in Round 8, 2012, Longmire’s men recorded a 101-point victory over Melbourne to crack a two-game losing streak.