We are finally through the excruciating ordeal that is the bye period and we can now focus on what should be a very exciting run home. We have been spoiled with an opening game that very likely could be a Grand Final preview. The reigning Premiers Richmond host the Swans in what could prove to be the game of the year. After this blockbuster, we will be one step closer to identifying a clear favourite for the 2018 premiership.
No.1 and No.2 on the ladder, same amount of wins and losses, same amount of superstars across the park, high profile matchups, free-flowing attractive brands of footy. This is what the AFL is all about. You’ll want to be rushing home from work and putting the kids to bed early for this one. Unplug the phones, turn off the lights, close the curtains and tell your significant other that date night is off because this is must-watch TV.
The obvious matchup everyone wants to see is Alex Rance on Buddy Franklin, but I am more excited to see how some of the younger Sydney stars, namely Will Hayward, Ben Ronke and Ollie Florent (who have become valuable contributors), do against this experienced Tigers outfit. It’s going to be an absolute ripper.
Let’s dive into the fantasy plays.
Gun: Lance Franklin ($14.3m)
No one loves the big stage like Buddy Franklin, and that will be the entirety of my analysis here. He actually has gotten the better of Rance in a few occasions in the past, which also helps my case, but really I am basing this on nothing more than Big Bud at the MCG in primetime against the Premiers. He’s going to go huge.
Dud: Callum Sinclair ($13.9m)
Callum Sinclair has certainly cooled off, failing to find the same wide open spaces that he did early in the year thanks to all the attention being on Buddy Franklin. He’s also seen a bit of a decrease in his ruck time, taking further points away. Sinclair needs goals to be effective, and with Alex Rance picking off anything coming into his defensive 50, I don’t like Sinclair to replicate his partner and get the better of the game’s best defender. Average is sliding from triple figures to getting close to dropping out of the 90s.
Point of Difference: Jarrad McVeigh ($13m)
I never thought I’d be putting a man I have called washed up on several occasions in this category but very, very quietly, Jarrad McVeigh is proving to be one of Sydney’s most important players, even at the advanced age of 86. He is averaging in the low 80s, which isn’t massively exciting, but he’s shown an ability to step up and increase his calming influence in the bigger games, notching up several 90+ scores. They will need his change of pace and deadly accurate kicking in what could be a belter skelter game. I like McVeigh as a left field pick.
Check back soon for picks and analysis for the rest of this weekend’s AFL action. In the meantime, be sure to get your lineups in. Good luck!