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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Classic West Coast Eagles, Sydney Swans rivalry reignited with both sides in top four

Sydney and West Coast's AFL rivalry has been reignited, with the top-four teams to square off in their most meaningful clash since the 2006 grand final.
The Swans and Eagles meet at the SCG on Friday night in what has the potential to be one of the highlights of the regular season, with both sides in cracking form and widely expected to progress deep into September.
Ladder leaders West Coast will be refreshed after the bye, seeking to an extend a 10-match winning streak.
Sydney, so far the only side to beat the Eagles this season, have now won five on the trot. They were awesome last Saturday night, blitzing St Kilda with the opening nine goals of a lopsided match.
Swans great Jude Bolton, who tackled the Eagles some 22 times during a storied 325-game career that ended in 2013, believes it's the biggest clash between the rivals since the 2006 grand final.
"Definitely. It faded out a little bit after that period, there's been some quality games between the two clubs over the last 10 years but this is one where it just means everything," Bolton told AAP.
"Particularly for the Swans. It's on their home deck and a good opportunity to really set the scene. They haven't had a great run at the SCG this year, so it's an important game.
"They almost need some validation. They've been going well without setting the world on fire.

"To put St Kilda away like they did was super impressive but this is now a huge challenge. The Eagles have had an incredible start to the year, I've been really impressed with their mids."
The stage is set for something special, as it so often was between 2005 and 2007.
The Swans and Eagles faced off in six consecutive matches decided by less than a goal during that stretch. Two of them were grand finals.
Some 43 of the 44 players who took part in the 2006 grand final have retired, with Swans veteran Jarrad McVeigh the outlier.
West Coast's games record holder and 2006 premiership star Dean Cox will be in Sydney's coaches box on Friday.
Cox was an assistant coach with the Eagles but opted to join John Longmire's support staff after the 2017 season.
Cox's guidance this year has aided the development of Swans ruckman Callum Sinclair, another former Eagle.
Sinclair's showdown with former teammate Nic Naitanui looms as one of many interesting subplots in what will be Swans defender Heath Grundy's 250th game.
"Sinclair has been enormous. That was one of Sydney's grey areas for me, was he going to step up after they lost Sam Naismith for the year? He's certainly done that," Bolton said.