Swans better than 1996, says O'Loughlin - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Swans better than 1996, says O'Loughlin

By James Dampney 01/09/2005 06:30:49 PM Comments (0)

Veteran forward Michael O'Loughlin pulled a surprise on the eve of Sydney's AFL qualifying final against West Coast, labelling the current Swans team better than the 1996 grand final side.

Apart from sidelined midfielder Stuart Maxfield (knee), O'Loughlin is the only survivor from the team that took the Swans to their first grand final since relocating from South Melbourne in 1982.

It ended a serious drought for the Bloods, whose previous grand final appearance was a 28-point loss to Carlton in 1945.

That setback sat alongside grand final defeats in 1934, 1935 and 1936, all coming in the wake of the club's last premiership in 1933.

The 1996 side included three players that would ultimately be named in the club's team of the century - Tony Lockett, Paul Kelly and Daryn Cresswell.

Lockett retired in 2002 as the game's all-time leading goal-kicker with 1,360 majors, including 462 with Sydney.

Lockett, Kelly, Cresswell, Paul Roos and Andrew Dunkley - the stars of the 1996 squad - can boast over 1,300 AFL games between them.

And yet O'Loughlin, who was just 19 in the 1996 grand final, believes the 2005 version is better.

The Swans have preached all season that every player should be aware of their role in the side and what the team needs from each player to win and O'Loughlin feels that is what separates the two.

"I think it's probably a better team," O'Loughlin said.

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