Barry Hall back to his best for Swans - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Barry Hall back to his best for Swans

By Laine Clark 06/04/2008 01:53:11 PM Comments (0)

Two goals doesn't exactly say "big, bad and bustling".

But Sydney forward Barry Hall still lived up to his feared reputation despite a modest goal return as the Swans again tamed the Brisbane Lions with a 17-point AFL win at the Gabba on Saturday night.

Indeed Hall's performance was enough to suggest that the Swans spearhead may need a different preamble in 2008 - "bigger and better".

After undergoing off-season surgeries on his groin, eye and nose, a new and improved Hall has hit the ground running this year.

He backed up his five goals in last round's thrashing of Port Adelaide with 14 marks and 23 possessions on a hapless Daniel Merrett along with his goal double - including a telling major at the death that put the match behind the Lions' reach.

The win ensured the Lions have not beaten Sydney since round one, 2004 - a run of eight games.

No wonder Swans coach Paul Roos appeared more happy with Hall's double than his SCG heroics against Port.

"Hally we knew was going to be a lot better because of his groin operation, and I thought his game (Saturday night) was just exceptional," Roos said.

"It's good to have one of your really good players back in form. It's good that the operation has worked really well."

Lions coach Leigh Matthews - a fair judge of a player - went a little further in his assessment of Hall.

"Barry Hall was fantastic, probably the best player on the ground," Matthews said.

"He didn't put the goals on the board but he had 14 marks and was just that really good running centre half-forward.

"Their good players played well, better than ours. (Brett) Kirk, (Adam) Goodes and (Tadhg) Kennelly - all the usual suspects, we couldn't stop them doing what they do well."

Roos agreed it was the Swans' old guard who influenced the game - thanks to the club's Department of Youth.

The likes of Jarred Moore, Ed Barlow and Craig Bird - who have racked up less than 20 games between them - were livewires for the Swans.

And the injection of youth has kept the senior Swans on their toes, Roos said.

"We've needed to develop some kids. There was a few rookies playing who have been elevated and it's really important," he said.

"I think it gives the older guys a bit of a kick as well. They see Jarred Moore kicking goals and Ed Barlow charging around and Craig Bird in his first year - it gives them a bit of excitement.

"(Ex Adelaide Crow) Marty Mattner is not a young player but I think he's been a great addition as well."

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