Racing and Sports will provide analysis of many games in the 2021 AFL Season.

We'll endeavour to run through the form, incorporate appropriate stats and also supply a betting prediction which won't always just be who will win.


Thursday 8 April @ SCG

What can you say about this game? Around three weeks ago it looked ho-hum. Even last week you were thinking that the Bombers had bombed out.

Now look at it after that. The visitors gave an insipid Saints team a shellacking out of nowhere. The hosts were explosive in walloping the champs.

Tradition in this match up, a bit like the Geelong/Hawthorn one from Monday, has been for compelling and close contests.

Some bloke called Franklin is back
Some bloke called Franklin is back Picture: Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

You only have to recall from a few years back when the Swans came from hiyacky in the last two minutes to win it after the siren. Then there was a certain full forward named Plugger nailing a point to send the Bloods into the Grand Final.

There have been many, many variations in style since then – jeepers the Swans have had two over the last twelve months.

Their first three weeks have seen 19, 18, 17 goals progressively. They haven't kicked that many in aggregate since Gerard Healy and Greg Williams were hitting Capper on leads in the mid-80s.

It's been invigorating for many Swans fans to watch and I'm sure for neutral viewers as well to not be bored by tight, congested ruck and mauls all match as has been the way.

The most exhilarating part has been that it has been driven by the kids. Kennedy, Parker, Rampe (and Lance when he is selected) haven't needed to be the drivers but instead important cogs in the wheel.

Dawson, Campbell and McCartin solid down back, Rowbottom and Warner through the middle and Gulden with McDonald up front.

Toss in Heeney, Mills and Blakey as the cream on the cake just for the Academy haters down south. So very humorous discussions of the impact of them being in-built compromisers to the draft.

That is undoubtedly a fact – strangely very little mention of the fact last year's No1 was a Western Bulldogs Academy player who was bid on and then taken. Or the huge number of Father-Sons that created Geelong's dynasty. Collingwood will see it happens again at year's end with another Daicos. Better that never be publicly mentioned as it doesn't fit areas of the media's narrative.

They take on Essendon fresh off some much needed confidence building at home. Suggestions of the direction of the team came thick and fast. Early season missives get changed in a week when it is 'hot-take' time.

A good start is always handy so 6 goals to 3 in the opening stanza are never a bad thing. They nearly added the same all the way as the quarters past.

They too were driven by youth but Merrett and Parish through the middle can only benefit the Bombers longer term.

Stringer is fitter now
Stringer is fitter now Picture: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Many people's concerns for the season related to how they would kick a score without Daniher being there and others surrounding him.

Well Hooker forward and Jake Stringer back fitter and viable played its role against St Kilda. They aren't always a structured team but improvisation and scrambled ball aids the likes of McDonald-Tipungwuti and Smith around the feet of the bigger bodies.

Essendon are a chance in this game despite the current market. Sydney has seduced the football community as well as the odds makers. But this season has shown things fluctuate quickly.

Day games have been much more the Swans domain rather than the ice-skating rink that the SCG can become. There is, however, the addition of some bloke called Franklin which spices things up. He has had his way with the Bombers through history.

All things equal Sydney are the obvious play but it is no formality. Watch for Essendon to go after the youngsters and that may let the old heads like Kennedy and Parker loose.

Match Selection: Sydney by 17 points

Suggested Bets: Josh Kennedy 25+ possessions @ $1.80

Racing and Sports