To beat Carlton in Friday night’s elimination final, Sydney will have to overcome both Melbourne’s wild weather and the recent series of horrors at the MCG.
The Swans have failed to record a win at the MCG this season, a worrying sign for coach John Longmire amid fears last year’s brutal grand final demolition at the hands of Geelong left lasting scars.
Amid the severe weather currently hitting Victoria, Sydney will face one of the competition’s in-form teams in Carlton for a place in the semi-finals.
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The Blues are enjoying tremendous momentum having won nine games in a row before their finals defeat to GWS.
But with the return of captain Patrick Cripps and the return of Sam Docherty and ruck Marc Pittonet, it is a strengthened Blues side that will contest the club’s first final since 2013.
Mitchell is beaten for embarrassing act | 00:32
Interestingly, it was the Swans who ended Carlton’s attack in that finals series – but since that win there are only two players left in Sydney’s lineup.
It has been more than six years since these two sides met at the MCG – their only meeting at the venue since the 1986 qualifying final.
In fact, the last time Sydney beat Carlton at the MCG was in 1918, which was an ominous sign for the Swans’ hopes on Friday night.
This game starts at 7:50pm AEST at the MCG.
Watch it live on Fox Footy (channel 504) from 7pm AEST.
Quarterly match report
There were no late changes on either side, with Jesse Motlop (Carlton) and Robbie Fox (Sydney) named as substitutes.
It wasn’t a great start for the Swans before the game as their banner fell apart in the windy conditions.
And things didn’t get much better after the opener as Sam Docherty gave the Blues a hot start and his teammates quickly got around him.
Moments later, Charlie Curnow dribbled through his side’s second half as the large MCG crowd erupted.
“The Swans just need to breathe – they are under siege at this early stage,” said former Swan Jude Bolton.
“You couldn’t have started better, Carlton,” added commentator Matthew Richardson.
Midway through the inaugural season the Swans suffered a major blow when defender Nick Blakey was forced off the field.
He caught what appeared to be a stray hit from Blue Jack Martin in the face and was sent straight to space.
Errol Gulden finally held his own for the Swans after Carlton took credit for all the run.
The Swans wasted their chances at one end and when Harry McKay came out behind, his shot from the goal square was completely thwarted.
“Oh no! He missed from close range!” commentator James Brayshaw said.
“Man, he needed that for his confidence,” Brian Taylor added.
Matt Cottrell snapped brilliantly in the closing stages of the first period to ensure Carlton took a 20-11 lead at the first change.
Blakey was able to return for the second season, giving the Swans a big boost, but once again the Sydney back line was under pressure.
Carlton were in control of the opening minutes before Matt Owies did everything he could to take advantage of a golden chance in almost disastrous scenes.
Owies was caught in two thoughts when he went to handball Curnow on the goal square and then decided against it.
“What does he think? Just score the goal!” Brayshaw said.
“He can’t believe it, Matty Owies.”
A review of the score was required to determine whether Owies still managed to score the goal – in a moment where coach Michael Voss simply asked: “What was that?”
“He tried to be too selfless there, Owies,” Taylor added.
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