VENUE & TIME: SCG, Saturday, May 19, 4.40pm (AEST)
HEAD TO HEAD: Played 200, Sydney 106, Melbourne 92, draws 2
LAST TIME: Melbourne 11.18 (84) drew Sydney 11.18 (84), Round 1, 2011
LAST TIME AT VENUE: Sydney 17.7 (109) def Melbourne 8.12 (60), Round 5, 2007
Injuries have derailed the Swans in recent weeks, with stars Adam Goodes and Shane Mumford still watching from the stands with respective quad and back injuries. Midfielder Luke Parker was in the wars for the second time already in season 2012, when he injured his knee in the loss to Richmond on Saturday, after breaking his jaw in Round 1. However, he has been cleared of structural damage, but still needs to pass a fitness test before Saturday's twilight fixture. Key defender Lewis Roberts-Thomson (heel) will also need to pass a test.
The Demons had no new injury complaints from their loss to Hawthorn, with Jordan Gysberts (jaw) the only member of their best 22 to already be ruled out of this clash. James Strauss (leg) must get through training if he is to be included along with James Sellar, while a string of lesser lights - Josh Tynan, Leigh Williams, Max Gawn, Michael Evans and Neville Jetta - are unavailable.
Swans' Past Five:
Round 7: Loss, 8.14 (62) - 13.13 (91) v Richmond, MCG
Round 6: Loss, 14.10 (94) - 15.9 (99) v Adelaide, SCG
Round 5: Win, 16.10 (106) - 10.9 (69) v Hawthorn, Aurora Stadium
Round 4: Win, 17.11 (113) - 10.17 (77) v North Melbourne, SCG
Round 3: Win, 16.9 (105) - 12.11 (83) v Port Adelaide, AAMI Stadium
Demons' Past Five:
Round 7: Loss, 6.13 (49) - 15.25 (115) v Hawthorn, MCG
Round 6: Loss, 11.10 (76) - 17.17 (119) v Geelong, Simonds Stadium
Round 5: Loss, 10.6 (66) - 12.12 (84) v St Kilda, MCG
Round 4: Loss, 9.13 (67) - 13.10 (88) v Western Bulldogs, MCG
Round 3: Loss, 11.8 (74) - 20.13 (133) v Richmond, MCG
The Swans have now lost back-to-back matches after beginning their season in an unexpected flurry with five-straight wins. Now at 5-2, premiership points are becoming more crucial by the week due to the closeness of the competition, and they will be hoping to return to form against a lacklustre Demons side. Sydney were disappointing in their 29-point loss to up 'n' comers Richmond, but that could be credited to their poor form at the MCG, and not as much as a form guide for this clash.
The Demons are pretty much back at square one after their trampling at the hands of Hawthorn after gallant efforts in their previous three clashes against Geelong, St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs. And if the Hawks had kicked straight, it would have been much more than a 66-point margin at the final siren.
Josh Kennedy - One of the favourites for the Brownlow Medal this season, the former Hawk has been a constant in the Swans losing side over the past fortnight. A team-high 21 possessions combined with two goals against the Tigers is just a snapshot of his class, and John Longmire can bank on a consistent performance out of his versatile midfielder all year.
Mitch Clark - The ex-Brisbane star has not yet sung his new team song but that fact is not a reflection of his mammoth efforts to give his side a hope of scoring up forward. Clark bagged three first-quarter goals against Hawthorn, which turned out to be Melbourne's only majors for the first half. He finished the match with 13 possessions, nine marks, eight hitouts, four tackles and three goals - a stellar effort, considering his surroundings.
Despite losing their past two heading into this clash, it looks a no-brainer that Sydney will somehow win this game. The last time the Dees won at the Sydney Cricket Ground was 2006 - with just four of their current list playing that day. Two of those - senior players Brad Green and Colin Sylvia - are currently under the pump to perform, and that is a fair summation of Melbourne's problems at the moment: a lack of leadership. Their most recent visit to the SCG, though, was one year later in 2007, which means the match will present a brand new experience for most of the Melbourne outfit. Given they will still be getting used to their tight surroundings during the second quarter, it is a fair assumption that the Swans' class will see them get the jump on their opponents early, and cruise to a comfortable ('bruise-free', if you will) victory.Swans by 48 points.