By MADDY McCASKILL
NEAFL ROUND 19
Saturday, August 11, 2018
Canberra Demons (2nd) v Sydney Swans (4th) at Phillip Oval, 12pm *This match will be streamed live on NEAFL TV (youtube.com/northeastafl) *Live Champion Data statistics available on the Official NEAFL App
For the first time this season, Canberra Demons will face Sydney Swans showcasing what a potential finals clash may look like. Both teams will be looking to redeem themselves after last week’s defeats, with Canberra having their biggest loss of the season losing to Southport by 103 points and Sydney going down by 61 points to a strong Brisbane Lions.
The Demons have a big midfield advantage with competition MVP leader before voting was closed off to the public, Mitch Maguire, currently dominating. Stopping him will be crucial for Swans so ruckman Darcy Cameron, who is in ominous form of his own, will have a huge task at making sure they win the hit-outs which he did extremely well at last week.
This match could have serious finals ramifications and could affect one team making the top six. It’s crucial that both teams bring their fierce, contested footy which they both lacked last week.
*Full teams announced Friday morning.
Round 14, 2017: Sydney Swans 20.18 (138) d Canberra Demons 7.5 (47) at UNSW Canberra Oval Round 7, 2017: Sydney Swans 25.15 (165) d Canberra Demons 6.8 (44) at UNSW Canberra Oval Round 15, 2016: Sydney Swans 20.20 (140) d Canberra Demons 6.7 (43) at UNSW Canberra Oval
1. Both teams were given a harsh reality check that no team is certain for finals with their previous losses. Before the Swans’ loss to Gold Coast in Round 16 and again another defeat to Lions last week, they were enduring a nine-game winning streak. Similarly, Demons ended their eight-game winning streak after Round 18’s loss to Southport. A win is vital to securing their top of the ladder positions.
2. What a difference a year can make. Last year saw Canberra Demons get thrashed by Sydney in both games with an averaging losing margin of 106 points. This match is the first time this year Demons have the chance to prove themselves and their ability to beat top of the ladder sides. There is also a slice of history at play, with Canberra having already beaten fellow AFL clubs Brisbane, Gold Coast and the GIANTS this season. If they can beat Sydney, they will become just the second team in NEAFL history to defeat all AFL clubs in one season. The first team was 2015 premiers, NT Thunder.
3. In both teams’ losses last week, both Sydney and Demons were beaten in contested possessions. Canberra were outplayed by Southport 169-128 and Sydney came second to Lions 150-130. Winning the contested ball will always play a huge part in a team’s ability to win and both teams this weekend will need to fight hard to win it.
20-year-old Sydney Swans defender, Jack Maibaum, has had a strong season so far. Delivering strong performances on multiple key forwards, Maibaum adds depth to their backline where it counts. He is a reliable player that had 100 per cent kicking and handball efficiency last week which Swans will need again this week.
STATS THAT MATTER
Last year the Demons were competition leaders for average tackles. But this year, the Swans are leading the pack, averaging 75.5 per game. Their ability to stop Demons run-and-carry will be a major advantage this weekend if they can get it right.
Canberra by 12 points.