Talking points: Round 11, 2018

With the Blues hanging tough and fighting for every inch of the SCG turf, the Swans flexed their muscles when they had to, seeing off the dogged Carlton challenge.

It wasn’t an exciting or pretty match to watch from a Swans fans perspective, but credit is due for the Blues, who more than held their own for the majority of the match.

We look at some of the talking points from the Swans’ Round 11 win against the Blues at the SCG on Friday night.

1: Air-tight Swans defence stifles the Blues
For the 30th game in a row, the Swans held their opponents to less than 100 points. The last time a team scored more than 100 points, was Greater Western Sydney in Round 5, 2017.

Geelong threatened to break through last year, kicking 98-points in their 59-point semi-final win, while Port Adelaide kicked 94 points in their upset win in Round 2 this season, at the SCG.

2: Swans wasteful in forward half
The Swans often concede more inside 50s than their opponents, but on Friday night it was the opposite, recording a massive 21 more inside 50s to Carlton. Frustratingly for the fans, the Swans took 16 marks inside 50 to Carlton’s 8, yet kicked 8 goals.

It was a topic of frustration for Swans coach John Longmire after the game, lamenting his sides’ inaccuracy, kicking 5.10 from turnovers

3: Intensity flux-capacitor overloaded
Carlton were dialled in from the get-go, but the Swans were found wanting in the early parts of the game. When their intensity lifted, they threatened to run away with the game, but seemingly let the advantage slip away and Carlton took the half-time lead.

Sydney lifted after half-time, kicking five unanswered goals in the third quarter, but let the initiative slip in the last quarter again.

4: Horse’s bite worse than his bark
The Swans’ work rate and intensity were nowhere to be seen going into half-time, with the seared memories of their Round 6 loss to Carlton last year flashing back before their very eyes.

Callum Sinclair and Josh Kennedy after the match admitted that John “Horse” Longmire gave them a spray at the long break, sparking them into action.

5: Callum Sinclair shouldering the load
Arguably one of the leagues’ biggest improvers, Callum Sinclair has elevated his game to a level few expected this season. While hit-outs and centre contests continue to be a weak point, what he does around the ground is undoubtedly influenced by West Coast Eagles great, Dean Cox.

His 30.9 hit-outs per game is ranked 13th, but for ruckman in the competition, he’s recorded the third highest disposals (171) behind Stefan Martin and Brodie Grundy, is ranked first for marks (45), second for contested possessions (103) behind Brody Grundy, fifth for contested marks (12), equal-first for marks inside 50 (8) and equal-first goal goals kicked (7).

6: Where there’s a Swans youngster, there’s a way
Will Hayward, Ben Ronke and Oliver Florent three of the Swans picks from the 2016 AFL Draft and 2016 AFL Rookie Draft. Ben Ronke has proven himself a genuine goal threat this season, the electric forward kicking 12 goals in his first six games, including a match-winning bad of seven against Hawthorn.

Hayward spent a large part of 2017 in the senior team, while Florent played the majority of the season in the NEAFL. Both players have come along in leaps and bounds this year. Florent is almost unrecognisable from his first season in the AFL. Both can run, kick, tackle ferociously and kick goals, and will be stars for the Swans in future years. The future is exciting.

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Justin Mitchell

Justin is a passionate AFL and Sydney Swans supporter, and football blogger since 2016. All articles are of his own opinion. You can reach him by twitter and Facebook at @theswansblog

Melbourne, Australia

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