Will the real Sydney Swans please stand up? After having the opportunity to win the premiership in 2016, the Swans were left for dead in the 2017 Toyota AFL Premiership competition when they had the horror start of six consecutive losses to open the season. They were so low that the AFL had to consider adding a 19th rung to the ladder.
They silenced their detractors with three straight wins in rounds 7 – 9 and gave voice to their supporters. The Swans immediately used the opportunity to take a nosedive and a six-point loss against the Hawthorn Hawks, leading many to say, “Here we go, then.”
The week off in Round 11 must have supplied them with the elixir of life, an elixir, we assure you, that is perfectly acceptable and not of the PED variety. They reeled off seven consecutive wins against respectable opponents before the improbable scenario of another six-point loss to the Hawks. Does anyone suspect conspiracy?
That wakeup call led to a 46-point mauling of the Geelong Cats, which find the Swans at number six with three games remaining. With four premiership points in hand and an upcoming game with the Fremantle Dockers, the Swans seem a lock for a top-eight finish.
The final obstacle for them is hosting duties in round 22 against the Adelaide Crows, which will serve to truly illustrate exactly where their form is at this critical juncture of the 2017 AFL season. The finish the home-and-away season against the sad and blue Carlton Blues, who could be suspected of tanking in order to take the spoon and the top draft pick.
The other Round 21 game that holds key implications will be the GWS Giants v the Western Bulldogs. The Dogs would like to prove they have the form to defend their 2016 premiership and they could help the Richmond Tigers in the bargain, provided those Tigers can change their four-game win streak to five games with a win over the Cats.