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Where: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
When: Friday September 13 – 10.50am (BST)
Watch live: Click here to watch online with AFL Global Pass!
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After enjoying a week off, the Sydney Swans face North Melbourne in the first preliminary final of the weekend at ANZ Stadium.
North Melbourne were excellent last week against Geelong and controlled large portions of the game to win a nail-biter by six points at the MCG.
The last time these two sides met was way back in round four, when the Kangaroos took apart the Swans to rack up a big 43-point win.
However, that game proved to be a big turning point for the Swans who went on to win the minor premiership by only lost two more games for the rest of the season.
How much exactly can be taken away from that game is debatable.
The muddy and wet conditions suited Brad Scott’s side, and as the rain tumbled so did the Swans’ grip on the match.
North Melbourne’s influential midfielder Brent Harvey was cleared of rough conduct on Geelong’s Joel Selwood as is free to play on Friday.
Harvey’s presence alone will be a massive boost to the Kangaroos and his experience on the big stage will provide a calming effect on some of the side’s youngsters.
Swans defender Nick Malceski seems to have overcome a hamstring niggle is set to take his place in the Swans starting 18, while North Melbourne have ruled out injured trio Lachlan Hanson, Leigh Adams and Jamie Macmillan.
You suspect the Swans will have too much at home here, but as we’ve seen in the past two weeks you cannot count North Melbourne out.
This match promises to be a ripper, so tune in!
1. Before their victory in round four this year, the Roos had a dreadful record against the Swans, losing seven consecutive games dating back to round six, 2007. Their previous victory in Sydney came in round 19, 2004.
2. This match will mark only the third time the two clubs have met in a final. North can boast of the 1996 Grand Final, which it won by 43 points, while the Swans won an elimination final back in 2008 by 35 points.
3. Overall the Swans have played in 13 preliminary finals for seven wins and six losses. This is the third consecutive year they have reached this stage of the season. The Kangaroos have a 9-9 record in prelims, but have lost their past two (2000, 2007) and haven’t won one since 1999.
4. There is a significant difference in finals experience between the two teams. The Swans enjoy a combined 281 games and 202 goals from finals action, compared to North’s 124 games and 67 goals.
5. If North can get over the line, it will be the first team outside the top four to reach a Grand Final under the current finals format, which was adopted in 2000. The Roos would also be the first traveling side to win a prelim since West Coast knocked off Adelaide en route to the 2006 flag.
6. Franklin not only won the Coleman Medal in his first year in Sydney with 67 goals, he also finished second in the AFL for pressure acts inside 50. Brent Harvey’s importance to the Roos also can’t go unnoticed. He was third in the AFL for goals by midfielders with 27 and second for score assists.