Afternoon all and welcome to another winning week. Winning weeks are great with the Swans, although it wasn't always like this back in March, it's still great.
This weekend I had the privilege of representing BigFooty at the Sydney Swans's Redback function on Saturday, and what a great night it was, great food, terrific company, and lots of free booze.
Early in the season I put $100 towards the BigFooty Redback double membership and was lucky enough to win the tickets to the Redback function by random draw.
I was sitting on the fence for a while about attending the game, since I had come up for the shambolic Hawks game a month earlier, and my partner was up just two weeks before for the Bombers game.
She couldn't attend so I met up with another local Swans member and we attended the function. Great company, awesome football conversations, and managed to snap myself with Michael O'Loughlin and Aliir Aliir.
Overall, it was a great game and an awesome experience, and one of those events where you really do appreciate how much access the members have to the club and players, and how nice the players are overall.
In any case, as a premiership club member, there's a lot of benefits, such as AFL members reserve access and guaranteed grand final tickets, but I may look at adding a Redback membership in 2017 through The Swans Blog.
Thoughts for the future, but something worth while, since I may be able to provide access to some members and fans that they wouldn't otherwise have.
Anyway, the Swans put the points on the board on Saturday afternoon where it mattered the most.
It was a bit of a club day, with the Swans reserves playing the curtain raiser against the Suns reserves in the NEAFL, putting them to the sword in emphatic fashion, despite the best the Suns threw at them.
Edwards and Sinclair were certainly amongst the best players on the field and overall it was a really good, strong performance from the Swans reserves team. Despite the scoreline, the Suns reserves team put together two really quarters, but couldn't do much with the ball when the moved it inside 50.
Enjoy some snaps from the game:
Despite a slow start, the Swans put the Suns to the scored, giving up just two goals after quarter time in a supremely dominant performance.
Gary Rohan bagged a career-high five goals and showed what he can do when he's taking those marks and kicking straight, while Melican kicked his career-first goal, and Rampe played his best game of the season.
It was one of those games that despite an early start by the Suns, the Swans never looked like being threatened, and made sure they put the points on the board when it mattered most.
Perhaps the best part of the weekend was once again clawing our way into finals contention, then watch Richmond self destruct in a way only Richmond possibly can, then Carlton losing to an injury decimated Demons outfit, and the Giants hilariously drawing consecutive games.
Port Adelaide gave the Eagles a good old trashing at home to cap off the weekend of football, another with upsets, while some of the favourites won heavily and another Bulldogs thrashing, as they sink deeper in the quagmire of premiership hangovers.
Not to sound too spiteful, disappointed or aggrieved, but they receive no sympathy from me. Sure, some of their players absolutely, I'm not a cold hearted bastard, but as far as the fairy tale, the premiership drought, all that nonsense, no.
They were gifted an incredible chance to get something, anything from the season. They were certainly one of the best teams last year, no doubt about it. But with the end-of-season bye being introduced midseason to avoid teams deliberately throwing games (thanks Ross and Scott for this, it should be called the Ross Lyon-Brad Scott bye), instead of the AFL showing a bit of character and mettle, it gave the Dogs an improbable chance of getting something from the finals.
Their five players coming back from injury was perhaps the biggest problem, because no other team since the introduction of the interstate teams, has had that sort of reward for finishing 7th. It severely devalued finishing in the top 4, essentially punishing those teams, given they played 2 games in a month if they finished 1st.
Anyway, this isn't a Dogs blog, so enough of that. The Swans take on the Giants this weekend in another cross-town Derby that they've dominated in recent times, winning the last three clashes convincingly.
The Swans are going to have to improve their play if they're going to get anything from this match, but the one thing that's common with their last three attempts, is that the Giants have bullied the Swans out of the game.
Despite a fast start earlier this year, the Swans never looked like winning and the Giants even lead at quarter time. Last years' final was at times gut wrenching to watch, the lack of fire, spite and fight from the Swans, as Tippett and Kennedy spent time on the canvas, while the Giants ran rampant.
If the Swans want to get anything from the season, they've got to beat the Giants. They'll likely face them in the finals, should they make it and win through the first round, and they're going to have to find the blueprint to beat them. Cameron has made mincemeat of Rampe in recent times, but Grundy has the wood over Patton, while Smith will undoubtedly get Greene, while Jones and McVeigh play on Johnson.
The biggest question will be do we go tall, or do we go small. There's arguments for and against, but one thing is for sure, they don't lack height in the ruck or in defence. Playing a single ruck is a risk that the Swans might be prepared to go with again, but with Sinclair doing a pretty good job in the reserves and kicking goals, it might be time to recall him.
Looking ahead, the Swans have on of the toughest run homes in the AFL. They sure haven't made it easy for themselves, but navigate the final seven games, wining 5, and they'll find themselves finishing in the top 6 and playing finals.
Barring injuries and suspensions, the Swans could win all of their remaining games, but it's going to take a lot of luck and results to fall their way, but let's have a look anyway.
The Swans play the Giants this weekend at Spotless, and the Giants are understandably favourites. The Swans are back at home to host the Saints in the reverse fixture, before traveling to the MCG to play the Hawks.
It's a tricky fixture, with the Swans finding success against the Hawks at the MCG in recent times, while they've struggled to beat them at the SCG. A bit weird really, since they've lost just twice at the MCG since the 2012 premiership.
Then they're back on the road to face the Cats at Skilled Stadium, another ground with recent success, winning the last two games there, quite convincingly too, then it's back home to face Fremantle.
Then it's another tough game away to the Crows, who'll be jockeying for top spot, then back home to host the Blues, who eventually kick started the Swans' season.
All the games are winnable when the Swans are playing their best football over four quarters. They've beaten all of those teams at those grounds, but little wriggle room, it's possible the Swans might drop a game or two.
If we can get over GWS by any margin, the ladder opens up for us, given teams around us have favourable results (they all lose). With Richmond's form in the toilet and both Melbourne and St Kilda stuttering, winning the next three is critical for finishing top 6. It gives the club a bit of wriggle room and margin for error, for the Cats and Crows.
No matter what happens, it's going to be a tough, but exciting final two months of the season for the Swans. So buckle in, grab some popcorn, wave your scarf, put your dogs on whichever boxes have the Swans logos on them and cheer the Swans on. 8 wins from 9 is a great start, with 5 on the trot, but lets make it 15 from 16!
The Swanscast crew is back tonight recording the next episode of The Swans Blog's Podcast, so get your questions to use on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using @theswansblog, or the hashtag #SwansCast. We'll try to answer some of the questions from previous rounds that we couldn't quiet fit in with our guests.
Until next time, go Swans!
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