Just three weeks into the 2021 AFL season and one thing is clear: one Sydney club is on a rapid rise, while the other is in free-fall.
Prior to the 2021 season kicking off, many experts had the Giants on the brink of a finals return after being squeezed out in 2020. By contrast, almost every pundit said the Swans — while on the improve — would be in for another lean year with a young list.
How wrong they’ve been.
The Giants are in free-fall, sitting 0-3 with some tough games to come. The $2.00 Top 8 hopes are already out to $4.20. Conversely, the Swans are flying high. Pre-season, John Longmire’s side were $5.00 outsiders to make the AFL Finals but in just three weeks they’re into $1.57 fancies.
The two Sydney clubs are moving in opposite directions.
Flogged the prelim finalists on their patch and now dusting up the premiers on theirs … without Franklin on both occasions. The hype is real. #AFLTigersSwans 🦢
— QUENTIN HULL (@QuentinHull) April 3, 2021
Sydney Swans 2021 AFL Premiership: $51 into $11
The Round 3 win over Richmond proved that a brilliant opening fortnight wasn’t some early season fluke. In fact, it proved that the Swans are a genuine flag hope, ala the Baby Bombers of 1993. In just three games the Swans have moved from $51 into $11 in Palmerbet’s AFL Premiership market.
And the experts have quickly changed their tune. “I don’t think I get too carried away when I watch teams but I’ve not been as excited as what I saw on the weekend,” Garry Lyon said this week on SEN Radio. “This is really serious talent.” His co-host (and 1993 premiership player) Tim Watson said that the Swans defensive “DNA” has been topped up with class. “The great thing about what they’ve done…is their fundamentals and their basics. The things they hold dear to the way they play are the things they train all the time. Now they’ve got some polish and some flair.” With it, the Swans have moved from $13 Top 4 hopes into $2.40.
Without doubt, youngsters have led the charge. Callum Mills (24), whose midfield move has prove vital, picked up all 10 coaches votes in Round 1, while Sam Wicks (21) picked up 10 against the Tigers. More incredibly, they’ve picked up three AFL Rising Star nominations in the first three rounds — the first time any club has done so.
Sydney go back-to-back-to-back!
For the first time ever we have three consecutive AFL Rising Star nominations from the same club.
— AFL (@AFL) April 6, 2021
GWS Giants 2021 AFL Premiership: $23 out to $81
What has happened at the Giants? The’ve lost 12 of their next 20 games after the 2019 Grand Final mauling at the hands of Richmond, and have rarely looked like the side that so impressed during that season. Their start to this year has been lacklustre at best, and punters have jumped right off. Leon Cameron’s side are already out to $81 for this season’s flag (from $23 in the pre-season). On Sunday night against Melbourne, they certainly weren’t as meek as in the Round 2 loss against Fremantle. But they failed to get the job done, and their season could well be over within a month if they don’t change something. And quick smart.
While the Giants have certainly been poor, a mounting injury list hasn’t helped their cause. And the news has only gotten worse in the last few days. Skipper Stephen Coniglio, Phil Davis, Matt de Boer and Harry Perryman all face extended periods on the sidelines. Compare this to the Swans, who have the leanest injury list in the AFL.
Giants will be without Coniglio (ankle) for 8-10 weeks, de Boer (hamstring) for 10 weeks and Davis (calf) for six weeks after they were all injured against Melbourne. pic.twitter.com/mHCWt3sOZD
— 7AFL (@7AFL) April 6, 2021