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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Giants round 12 preview: Sydney Derby out West

The GWS Giants will be looking for their fourth straight win when they take on their cross-town rivals, the Sydney Swans at Optus Stadium this evening, 13 August.

The 19th Sydney Derby will be unlike any other as both sides have shifted across the Nullarbor to their Perth hub to face off in front of a neutral crowd.

The previous 18 clashes between these sides have been played in Sydney with the Swans leading the head-to-head matchup 11 wins to 7, but the Giants have won their last three meetings and come into this match with much better form.

The Giants have won three matches in row to have themselves inside the top 8 while the Swans have lost 6 of their past 7 matches and are languishing in 17th spot on the ladder.

The Giants are coming off a nail-biting win against the Essendon Bombers where they overcame a 29-point deficit in the third quarter to eventually record a 4-point win.

The second half of that game showed the Giants’ best football is as good as any team in the competition as their quick ball movement allowed their more skillful players to shine.

Josh Kelly and Stephen Coniglio both came under scrutiny after slow starts to the season, but their improved form has been a key reason for the Giants’ recent success.

Another key member of their midfield mix is Tim Taranto. Taranto missed the first 6 rounds of the season after shoulder surgery but was back to his best last week against the Bombers, racking up a game-high 32 disposals.

Zac Williams has also returned from injury in recent weeks and his dash from the backline has made a huge difference to the Giants’ ball movement.

The Giants have made two changes to their side with Phil Davis ruled out with a knee injury and ruckman Shane Mumford being managed.

Sam Jacobs comes in for Mumford while 24-year-old Tom Hutchesson has been named to make his AFL debut.

Hutchesson was the final pick in the 2019 AFL draft when the Giants selected him at pick 65 after he played in the SANFL in 2019.

Their opponents, the Swans, are coming off a close 9-point loss against the Collingwood Magpies and have struggled for consistency with such a young side.

The Swans had been a regular in the finals until last season and now find themselves in the midst of a rebuild with several of their more experienced players out injured.

Lance Franklin and Josh Kennedy are the main two players injured, but their absence has opened the door for some younger players to debut.

Nineteen-year-old Zac Foot will become the Swans’ 6th debutant for the season tonight as he has been named to come into the side along with Colin O’Riordan and Nick Blakey.

Aliir Aliir is out with an injury while youngsters Elijah Taylor and Matthew Ling have been omitted.

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