The Sydney Swans have a tall task ahead of them in Round 22 of the 2017 Toyota AFL Premiership completion. Not only must they play top-ranked Adelaide Crows, they have to do it at the Adelaide Oval.
The Crows may have at least a bit of revenge motivation ahead of the games, as it was the Swans that knocked the Crows out, 118 – 82 in last year’s final in the meeting at Sydney Cricket Ground. The Crows did beat the Swans earlier, in Round 4 of the 2016 AFL season, by a narrow 10 points.
In the three meetings prior to that, the Swans won in 2015 and thrashed the Crows in 2014 and 2013. In a case of statistics not being truly indicative, over the past five meetings, the Crows have had an edge in the important categories, which seems hard to fathom, given the scoring disparity in the games from 2013 – 2015.
Current number one Adelaide seems uncatchable at this point, although the Swans and West Coast Eagles cannot be dismissed entirely. The Crows do have a top-two berth secured, but despite the difficulty that marred the beginning of the 2017 AFL season for the Swans, it would serve the Crows well to remember that although they have the home ground, number five Sydney was in the Grand Final last year.
Home ground does not seem to be the panacea it has been at times in the past and the Swans have won five of their past six interstate games this season.
The bookies have the game priced at $1.68 Crows – $2.25 Swans, but the line is only 6.5 points, so the game on Friday night seems to be shaping up almost as though it could be a Grand Final preview.
Fifty-five percent of the poll respondents on afl.com think the Crows will win compared to 45 percent for the Swans, so this game may be the highlight of the round, even if it does not have much impact on the ladder.