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Hot Topics: Round 22, 2019

Star Sydney Swans midfielder Luke Parker shrugs off Melbourne counterpart Clayton Oliver.

A rare trip to the MCG headlines the latest instalment of Hot Topics ahead of the Sydney Swans’ clash with Melbourne on Friday night.

A visit to the home of footy

Sydney assistant coach Steve Johnson says the Swans will “relish” the opportunity to visit the MCG because they rarely play at the home of footy. Friday's game will mark Sydney’s second visit to the MCG this season, and its first since squaring off with Essendon in Round 16. The Swans have played out a host of thrilling games at the grand final venue in recent times, including a match in which Ben Ronke booted seven goals to inspire an eight-point Sydney win in Round 8 last season.

Taming Gawn

Rookie-listed Sydney ruckman Hayden McLean has tackled some mighty assignments in his first month of AFL footy – and a clash with arguably the best big man in the competition now awaits. McLean faced behemoth Fremantle trio Aaron Sandilands, Sean Darcy and Rory Lobb on debut in Round 18, before colliding with the imposing Shane Mumford in Sydney Derby XVIII in Round 20. The 20-year-old is now set to meet Max Gawn at the centre of the MCG in his first AFL game at the grand final venue, which will match him with a dual All Australian and one-time best-and-fairest. Swans coach John Longmire might decide to blood either mid-season recruit Michael Knoll or second-year youngster Joel Amartey to give McLean assistance, two big men carving out impressive NEAFL campaigns.

Brotherly bragging rights

Not only will four points be up for the taking but brotherly bragging rights as the Jones brothers – Swan Zak and Demon Nathan – wheel out on the MCG. The midfield guns have met in an AFL match just twice since Zak was drafted to Sydney via the 2013 AFL Draft, with Zak’s Swans triumphing in Round 13, 2016 and Nathan’s Demons in Round 4 this season.

Dominant Demons record 

Sydney has won 12 of its 15 most recent clashes with Melbourne – and drawn one – in a dominant period stretching back to Round 19, 2006. The Swans lay claim to an average winning margin of 40.58 points per game in that time, with their most convincing victory a 101-point win at the SCG in Round 8, 2012.