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Hot Topics: Round 17, 2019

Star Sydney Swans midfielder Josh Kennedy reels off a kick.

A highly anticipated battle between two of the competition’s most fearsome midfielders headlines the latest edition of Hot Topics ahead of the Sydney Swans’ SCG clash with Carlton on Saturday afternoon.

Midfield guns set for battle

Two of the competition’s most relentless inside midfielders will square off as Sydney’s Josh Kennedy and Carlton’s Patrick Cripps wheel out on the SCG. Of all current AFL players, Kennedy and Cripps sit among the top three in average career contested possessions, clearances and ground-ball gets per match. The midfield bulls engaged in a captivating one-on-one duel as the Swans met the Blues at Marvel Stadium in Round 3, with Kennedy (31 touches, 13 contested) and Cripps (28, 22) both mighty at the coalface. Expect their inside work to take on even greater importance on the tighter confines of the SCG.

Top-10 draft picks eye duel

As two established stars in Kennedy and Cripps steel themselves for battle, two of the hottest young talents will light up the SCG. Carlton midfielder Sam Walsh (pick one) and Sydney forward Nick Blakey (pick 10) have both enjoyed exceptional starts to their careers. Walsh posted 28 possessions (13 contested), seven clearances, five inside 50s and six marks to earn the AFL’s Round 4 Rising Star nomination, before Blakey turned in a scintillating fourth-quarter performance to be the pick of Round 14. The QBE Sydney Swans Academy product booted two final-term goals and pulled down a Mark of the Year nomination in Sydney’s grafting win over Hawthorn. Expect the fresh-faced duo to again star in Saturday’s highlights reel.

A dominant run

The Swans have won 10 of the last 11 Sydney-Carlton match-ups in a dominant streak stretching back to Round 19, 2012. They lay claim to an average winning margin of 39.5 points per game over that time, with their biggest victory an 81-point win at the SCG in Round 23, 2017. The Swans haven’t lost to the Blues since Round 13, 2011, and they toppled Carlton by 19 points when they last met in Round 3 this season.

Red Day 

The SCG will turn red as the Swans and charity partner Redkite join forces in support of children and families fighting cancer. The message is simple ahead of this year’s Red Day: wear red and give generously to Redkite via the multiple donation options. A total of 40 Redkite volunteers will be roaming Driver Avenue accepting donations and selling Red Day wigs, while Redkite families will combine for a guard of honour. A total of 350 kids and family members receiving ongoing Redkite support will also be seated in Bay 317, while a wave of support will take place at quarter-time. Red Day ambassador Amber Pereira will also toss the coin, and fans are encouraged to connect with the day’s theme on social media through #SwansRedDay. The Swans and Redkite have worked as a team since players visited the oncology ward of Sydney Children’s Hospital in Randwick in 2000, and names like Brett Kirk, Rhyce Shaw, Brad Seymour and Harry Cunningham have all championed the cause.