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Match Preview: JLT Community Series v Swans

Brett Deledio will take to the field in JLT 1 on Saturday night. - GWS Giants,Sydney Swans,Blacktown International Sportspark
Brett Deledio will take to the field in JLT 1 on Saturday night.

With just three weeks left to go before the 2019 AFL Season kicks off, teams across the competition and finalising their preparations for the new season.

All 18 AFL clubs will compete in two JLT Community Series matches over the next fortnight as the pre-season comes to an end.

For the GIANTS, it starts on Saturday night with a home clash against the arch rival, the Swans, at Blacktown International Sportspark.

Who's In?

GIANTS fans will get a glimpse of a host of their favourite players, as well as the first sighting of some exciting new prospects in their first season of AFL footy.

Heath Shaw will be back for his first game since sustaining a season-ending knee injury in round 21 last year. Brett Deledio will be on limited game time as he ramps up preparations for round one while all four GIANTS who played in the AFLX tournament last week have been named.

The next generation will also take the field, with draftees Jye Caldwell and Jackson Hately selected after impressing in last week’s practice match.

You can see the full GIANTS JLT squad to take on the Swans here.

The GIANTS and Swans Meet Again

Saturday night will mark the second time the GIANTS and Swans have met this season – the two faced off in a practice match at the same venue last Friday.

The Swans took the honours in the scratch match, but the GIANTS improved greatly as the game went on and will look to hit the ground running on Saturday night.

The form of some young GIANTS was particularly impressive – Caldwell’s work around stoppages was a standout, while third-year midfielder Tim Taranto looks set to step up again after a best-on-ground performance.

The GIANTS have won four of the past seven clashes between the clubs in the growing rivalry, and the two sides will again meet twice during the home-and-away season.

The New Rules Get a Practice, Too

The JLT Community Series will see the nine new rules and rules adjustments for 2019 rolled out for the first time.

Many of the rules have also been adopted in AFLW to some degree, but here's a refresher ahead of the new AFL season:

Zones will be introduced at the centre bounce (with a 6-6-6 set up on the field), the player kicking in from a behind can now play on without first kicking to himself and players taking marks deep in defence will be given a bit of breathing space, with the man on the mark being moved back in line with the top of the goal square.

Players will also be able to play on after receiving a 50m penalty while the 50m is still being measured out, while a player kicking for goal after the siren now has more weapons at his disposal, with checkside kicks and snaps now allowed, provided the player stays in line with the man on the mark and the goals.

‘Hands in the back’ has reverted to the more traditional ‘push in the back’, allowing players to protect their position in a contest, provided they do not push their opponent in the back.

In ruck contests, taking direct possession of the ball from a bounce, throw-in or throw-up no longer constitutes ‘prior opportunity’. If a ruck takes the ball and is immediately tackled, another stoppage will ensue.

For more info about these new rules and more, check out AFL Media’s guide.

Last Time They Met

We’ll just skip right over the practice match, but the last time the GIANTS and Swans met in a match with something on the line, it was the 2018 Elimination Final at the SCG.

What a night it was, with the GIANTS advancing to the semi-finals after defeating the Swans 10.19 (79) to 4.6 (30). Phil Davis did a brilliant job on Lance Franklin (keeping him goalless), while Toby Greene slotted three goals at the other end of the ground.

How to watch it

Head down to Blacktown International Sportspark to see it in person. All the info you need about timings and how to get there is here – oh, and for those travelling by public transport, there’ll be free shuttle buses running between Doonside Station and Blacktown International Sportspark from 5pm til 10.30pm. Speak to venue staff on the day for more information.

For those unable to make the game (or saving the trip to Blacktown for when the GIANTS take on Melbourne in AFLW the next day), Fox Footy will broadcast the match. It can also be viewed on AFL.com.au and the Official AFL App with an AFL Live Pass subscription.

In a nutshell

What: JLT Community Series match against the Swans
Where: Blacktown International Sportspark
Date: Saturday, February 2
When: 7.10pm
Broadcast: Fox Footy, the AFL Official App and website with an AFL Live subscription.