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AFL ROUND 18

SYDNEY SWANS VS GEELONG CATS

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 20, 3.35 PM, METRICON STADIUM, GOLD COAST

Geelong could probably not ask for a better final round fixture to prepare them for the Finals, unless of course they wanted a hard, tight match, as this could end up more of a glorified training drill, if recent form is anything to go by.  The Cats did hit a speedbump last weekend against the reigning Premiers Richmond, where they were unable to defeat them and indeed suffered a 26-point loss, though they had won several matches in a row prior to that.  Sydney have had a forgettable year, with just 5 wins good enough for 15th, missing their marquee player Lance Franklin all season long, and were belted by 32 by the Lions in the far north venture to Cairns last round.  Sunny, warm conditions await these players on the Gold Coast, though a breeze will keep them fresh, even if it makes kicking a little tricky.

Sydney have changed their Ruckman again this week as they continue to search for answers, as it will be left up to Sinclair to do the bulk of the work against Ratugolea this weekend, since Amartey was injured.  Rowbottom and Dawson are included, with the former to play from the Forward pocket, while the latter starts on the bench, replacing Taylor who is hurt and Wicks who is not selected.  Jarvis, Close and Fogarty all failed to make the cut for the on-field team this week after playing in the last game for Geelong, while Atkins was not selected for injury reasons.  Ablett returns in time to show the world how good he is again, before the Finals and the serious Geelong tilt at the title, while Rohan and Steven as well as Selwood are all returning, in a thorough boost to the Cats stocks across the paddock.

Geelong recorded a pair of fairly comfortable victories against the Swans team in 2019, which was marginally better than the 2020 iteration, as they won 85-63 in June and then by 27, 7 weeks later at the end of July.  In 225 matches of these clubs histories, the Cats lead the overall score 124-101, which is going well back into the South Melbourne days, though Geelong have been very good in recent years too.  Geelong are $1.17 favourites to take this match out, with a margin handicap of 26.5 points, while Sydney are rank outsiders at $5.25, needless to say anything but a Geelong win is a major upset.

PREDICTION: Geelong by 30+.

BETTING TIP: The 40+ market is healthy for the Cats to win @$2.85.