After a stunning win over premiers West Coast in round 12, could the Swans do the unthinkable and make their tenth straight AFL Finals series?

Going into their clash against the Eagles on Sunday, Sydney were hoping for merely another competitive performance. After back-to-back wins in rounds 8 and 9, the Swans were gutsy but eventually overrun by the ladder-leading Collingwood and Geelong in rounds 10 and 11. It was understandable, for a side that had supposedly been ‘rebuilding’. John Longmire’s side were $2.20 outsiders pre-game with Palmerbet despite being on home turf. And when they went into the second half with three injuries, it looked like the afternoon would plays its course and the experienced Eagles would similarly overrun a young and depleted Bloods outfit. Except the opposite happened.

The Swans banged on nine second-half goals to four to round-out their best performance of the year. Before the game, the young Swans were a distant $13 to make the top eight in AFL season 2019. But all of a sudden, after a dominant performance against one of the competition’s best, they’ve shot into $4.50. They couldn’t do it again, could they?

Favourable draw

The Swans price shift into $4.50 isn’t just about their return to form. That makes up part of it, of course. But it’s also about their draw on the back end of the season. The battered Swans will enjoy the rest this week and then play five games in a row against sides outside the top eight. They are (in order): Hawthorn, Gold Coast, Essendon, Carlton, Fremantle. This run of games gives them a huge opportunity to improve their current 4-8 record.

Their reversal in fortunes is perhaps best typified by this price shift: after seven rounds the Swans were sitting at 1-6 and on the bottom of the AFL ladder. At this stage, they were $6 with Palmerbet in the ‘least wins 2019’ market. Since then, however, Longmire’s side is way out to $51.

All-round effort

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Swans form is the team-nature of their wins. Jake Lloyd and Dane Rampe are solid as ever down back, the experienced Luke Parker has really hit his straps alongside young gun George Hewett, while Tom Papley has joined the AFL’s elite class with his exploits this season, helping superstar Buddy Franklin and Sam Reid. It’s an all-round effort. In fact, no Swans player is even close to the reckoning in Palermebet’s Brownlow Medal market. Parker is the best-priced Swan, currently at a whopping $101. Kennedy ($151) Lloyd ($251), Franklin ($251) and Isaac Heeney ($251) round out the others.

The slightest sniff

Speaking of Buddy, the big man is back. After a persistent hamstring injury kept him out for four-straight games earlier this season, a five-goal haul playing against a premiership defence has certainly signalled a return to fitness. Or at least, a proper return to fitness this time (fingers crossed, Swannies fans). The 936-goal star is still 20 goals behind Jeremy Cameron on 39 goals this season, but traders are giving him the slightest sniff in the race for the Coleman Medal. Before the weekend, Buddy was a distant $41 for the goalkicking prize, but after his efforts at the SCG he has shortened into $26. As we asked of the Swans at the start – it couldn’t happen, could it?

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