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AFL Grand Final Preview: Sydney v Hawthorn

Who will emerge victorious?

Saturday marks one of the biggest occasions on the Australian calendar- AFL Grand Final day. The sense of summer approaching should already be well realised and as a result barbeques and beers will fired up and cracked opened as people gather nationwide to see Sydney take on Hawthorn in what should be another legendary Grand Final.

Both teams endured tough schedules just to earn the right to play in the biggest game of the season, but obviously only one team is going to walk away the victor (unless we have a repeat of 2010)…who will it be?

Sydney was mighty impressive in their demolition of Collingwood last Friday night. Looking back at their form over the past two months it’s debatable whether the Magpies were truly deserving of a preliminary final spot and their efforts on that day weren’t up to standard. Their performance wasn't a true test. Sydney will have a harder time against the Hawks and it is highly unlikely that they will again be gifted with 10 opening quarter scoring attempts as there were last week.

Hawthorn is strong just about everywhere, but their forward line is among the league’s best. Rioli and Franklin were pivotal in turning last week’s prelim scare against the Crows when the duo responded with two goals after Adelaide’s tremendous comeback put them one-point up in the final quarter. There may not be a better tall/small combo going around than that of Franklin and Rioli with both capable of blowing a game open. You also have to wonder how key defender Ted Richards pulled up after last week’s injury scare. This will be a challenge for the Sydney defence.

Sydney’s goal kicking forward line is no weakness in its own right, but where the Swans have been enjoying success is with their huge ruck duo of Mumford and Pyke. Individually they do a lot of damaging things, but together they will prove a real handful for Hale and part-timer Roughead.

Hodge is a near certainty to play Saturday, meaning both midfields will be at their best.

It might not be a high scoring affair, but it will be entertaining.

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Follow Robert White on Twitter @RobertWhitebrrr.