In the latest edition of Opposition Watch, Swans Media looks at the Saints camp ahead of the Pride Game on Saturday at the Gabba.
The Saints have been one the competition’s biggest ladder climbers so far in 2020. They currently sit just outside the top 4 on percentage and come off their best win of the year last week against ladder leaders Port Adelaide
Ins and outs
The Saints have come through their strong win against Port Adelaide last week in good health. While they have been dealt a blow with key injuries to former Swan Dan Hannebery and Jimmy Webster, neither of those players were part of the win against Port.
Reigning best and fairest winner Seb Ross did look to sustain a minor injury during last week’s match, but did not appear on the team’s mid-week injury report.
With the newly dubbed ‘Festival of Football’ getting underway, this will be the first week that players and lists may be managed to cope with the short turnarounds between games. The Saints will play their Round 10 match on Thursday evening off a five day break.
During the ‘Festival of Football’, final teams will be confirmed at 6.20pm the evening prior to the match.
There are a couple of very familiar faces amongst the key Saints who will play pivotal roles in the Pride Game. Former Swan Zak Jones has been among the Saints best in the midfield this season and comes off a strong game against Port where he collected 20 disposals and eight clearances.
Up forward, fellow former Swan Tim Membrey has been the Saints key tall target and has booted 12 goals in 2020 (second at the Saints behind Dan Butler), including two goals last week against Port Adelaide. Both Membrey and fellow forward Max King rank inside the top-20 in the competition for contested marks so will provide a challenge for the Swans back six who have been so strong in recent weeks.
Last time they met
Round 23, 2019 @ SCG
Sydney Swans 17.7 (109) def. St Kilda 8.16 (64)
Pride Game 2019 was all about the Swans. The match was Lance Franklin’s 300th and became a farewell for club greats Jarrad McVeigh and Kieren Jack.
With scores level at the main break, the Swans put together an emotionally charged blitz in the second half, piling on 11 goals to St Kilda’s three to score an impressive 45-point win.
It was a memorable send off for former captains McVeigh and Jack, with both kicking goals late in the match; and a fitting result for milestone man Franklin, who booted four goals.
What they said
St Kilda CEO Matt Finnis on the importance of the Pride Game.
“We know the entire community is confronting unforeseen challenges through the current global pandemic, but research shows this impact is even more severe on the LGBTIQ+ community.”
“It’s an important time for us to be sending a message that everyone has the right to feel a sense of belonging, and playing the game in Queensland gives us an opportunity to take this message to a whole new audience.”
“We know our fans and those who support the Swans would love to be at the game with their rainbow scarves and flags, but we hope they can get together on Zoom or other digital platforms to celebrate pride using the hashtag #AFLPrideGame.
“As is the case with so many parts of daily life under COVID 19 restrictions, we will find new ways to celebrate Pride.”