Hall back as Swans eye top four AFL spot - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hall back as Swans eye top four AFL spot

By James Dampney 13/06/2008 04:46:51 PM Comments (0)

Sydney's belief is on the rise and they have their sights firmly fixed on the AFL's top four heading into Saturday night's clash with St Kilda at the SCG.

After a slow start to 2008, the Swans have quietly moved into premiership contention, stringing four straight wins together to draw within half a win of the top four.

With fourth-placed Adelaide hosting competition pace-setters Hawthorn on Saturday, there is an opportunity for Sydney to enter the top four with a victory over the Saints and a Crows loss.

Saturday also marks the return of one Barry Hall into the red and white forward line after a seven-game suspension.

Having come back from a dreadful first half to pip West Coast at Subiaco Oval last week to keep their winning streak alive, Swans defender Tadhg Kennelly admits confidence is sky high.

"To win four games in a row, it's always good because you actually start to believe a lot more in yourself and your ability," he told reporters.

"That's what happened in the second half last week. We didn't turn up to play but we know we had been playing good footy and we were able to get over the line.

"We've got momentum and we're on a good streak."

With their defensive structure at its miserly best, the Swans have again been grinding teams into submission this season.

But they have also shown an ability to turn it on at the offensive end, leaving them with the league's best percentage at the halfway mark of the season, just ahead of Hawthorn.

Their offensive output has been even more impressive considering the significant absence of Hall, with veterans Michael O'Loughlin and Ryan O'Keefe, plus Jarred Moore and Jarrad McVeigh, picking up the scoring slack.

Former Cat Henry Playfair has also contributed since being given his chance in his first season in the harbour city.

When fit and available, Hall is a walk-up starter in the Sydney line-up, but Kennelly feels the fact other players have been forced to step up won't hurt the team later in the year.

"We've done well without (Hall), it just forces other players to step up," he said.

"But it's great to have him back."

While the Swans are cruising, St Kilda have had an inconsistent season to date and find themselves sitting ninth with a 5-6 record.

Kennelly is hoping the Hawks can do Sydney a favour and beat the Crows on Saturday, but he knows the Swans can only worry about St Kilda.

"Obviously Adelaide are playing Hawthorn over there and it's a huge game for us as well," he said.

"(But) we've always been a team to take care of our own backyard first and not worry too much about what else goes on."

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