The biggest showdown of the week will be held on Friday night, when we revisit one of the great rivalries of the modern era with Sydney hosting West Coast. This has huge top four implications, and should be an absolute ripper of a footy match between two of the league’s best.
Not that it needs to be said once, let alone twice, but this is the game of the round. You’ve got two legitimate grand final contenders with a plethora of stars who are all playing fantastic footy. If that weren’t enough, there will always be spice in this rivalry because of their legendary contests in the early-to-mid 00s which saw them face off in back-to-back finales. It will be fascinating to see how the open and expansive play of the Eagles contend with the small conditions and tight pressure of the Swans. If West Coast want to be taken seriously, winning this would put even the staunchest doubts to rest.
Gun: Jake Lloyd ($14.8m)
Regardless of how this game plays out, whether it is high or low scoring, end-to-end or battled out through the middle, you can trust Jake Lloyd will be involved. He has taken the next step into becoming an elite defender and is thriving with the trust from coach John Longmire to push forward and playmake for his midfield and forwards. His average is just 4 points south of 100, and he will have plenty of work to do against a team that provides Sydney about as many matchup headaches as any other team in the competition.
Dud: Callum Sinclair ($14.1m)
Callum Sinclair is another Swan who has absolutely taken the next step in their careers this season, but I think this game presents a high probability that he will fall comfortably short of his incredible 98 average. Sinclair faces one of the best backlines in the competition, who in particular love an intercept mark. While he is a good athlete, he is not the most mobile, and the All-Australian filled Eagles backline offer both mobility and athleticism. Sinclair’s scores are also supplemented by working as a backup ruck, but against a red hot Nic Natanui, it’s hard to see him gaining much of an advantage there. Sinclair should be one of the first Swans you look for most weeks, but not this one.
Point of Difference: Shannon Hurn ($14.3m)
The Eagles captain is having another All-Australian year, but it seems every time I look at his ownership in fantasy football it is very low. The average is there, sitting at 93, the big scores are there, particularly last week’s 108, and he is the talisman for a very, very strong side. So why no love? He, like Jake Lloyd, will have plenty to do against a red hot Swans forward group and on the small ground of the SCG, which often minimises the impact of midfielders and maximises the work of the back and forward units. Hurn is an expensive but all too often left-field choice. Worthy of the money.
That’s all for Friday’s analysis, so be sure to get your lineups in and check back for picks for the rest of this weekend’s games. Good luck!