We are now entering week four of the AFL season and what a start it’s been so far. No one could have predicted the slow start of Craig McRae’s Collingwood – winless in their first three as the reigning champions made a stuttering start, whilst GWS continued their unbeaten start with a dominant victory over West Coast Eagles.

Stephen Coniglio and co are continuing a journey that has been redolent of a fairy-tale over the last few years and since flying in the dizzy heights of fourth to finish last season, they surely couldn’t go all the way and pick up the championship?

One side desperate to stop them in their tracks is second place Sydney Swans. The only other side in the AFL that is unbeaten, their recent victory was massively overshadowed by Essendon’s Peter Wright for his heavy hit on Swan Harry Cunningham, which could have easily resulted in a serious injury for the midfielder. 

However, attention now turns to what is a tough trip to Melbourne as they take on Richmond.

Team form

As mentioned, Swans are three for three in their opening matches but it has been roles reversed when assessing Richmond’s season, as they continue their search for a first win of the new campaign riddled with injury.

Losses to Gold Coast, Carlton and Port Adelaide have represented a difficult start, inflicting more punishment to their poor finish last term, which ended in a lukewarm 13th despite some flickers of brilliance. They seem to be getting closer but it looks like it will take a lot to get the better of this Swans side.

Sydney have undergone a massive facelift this campaign and the new-look Swans have been in fine fettle as mentioned earlier, looking to continue their unbeaten start to the season. Their ability to continue scoring late in the game, even when they were in so much control against Essendon, will be a valuable asset as the year progresses, especially if their form does drop off and they need to pull a rabbit out the hat for a late win.

Key Players

Richmond head into this one as underdogs as far as the form table and online NZ sports betting sites are concerned, but this depleted squad can still rely on veteran

Jordan Lewis to work as hard as possible for his side, and played admirably against

Travis Boak in what was his 350th AFL Game for Tigers. 

Alongside Lewis, Richmond will need Noah Balta to continue his solid 12 kicking average as he enters the last year of his contract, with many suitors interested in the 25-year-old.

As for the Swans, the new additions to midfield coupled with the existing experience of the current squad have made them a formidable outfit, and a team that have all the credentials to go and win the Championship come August. 

Isaac Heeney, Errol Gulden and Chad Warner have stepped in to cover injuries and absences, and supported by James Jordan’s fine scoring form, it’s hard to look past Sydney in their trip to the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Injury news

Both teams have marquee players out, with Mykelti Lefau called in to make a debut having signed as a rookie just a month ago for Richmond, demonstrating their availability concerns. Jacob Hopper remains sidelined, with Coach Adem Yze believing the injury is not as serious as the other six in the Richmond roster.

"He's going in tomorrow just to have a bit of a look inside his knee - so he might be out for two weeks," Yze said, after Hopper played 16 games last season.

"They might have a bit of a cleanout. He probably could have tried to push his way through it, but he's too important. We want him to be able to train and get on top of that now."

The Essendon game all but confirmed a month on the sidelines for Cunningham, who was left concussed after the big hit, with the incident graded as careless conduct, high contact and severe impact. A melee broke out on the ground following Wright’s hit and Sydney’s Nick Blakey, Justin McInerney and Tom McCartin have all been fined by the AFL, but will be available to play against Richmond.


While we are still very early doors this season, and there is so much that can happen between now and August, Sydney have hit the ground running as far as their early form is concerned. Richmond should sort themselves out later in the year, and although they were close against Tigers, it’s hard to see anything but the Swans picking up the win on the road.

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