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Tackling is all in the mind: Swans coach

By Greg Buckle 03/07/2008 07:10:57 PM Comments (0)

Sydney coach Paul Roos has appealed to his players to reproduce the hard-tackling style of play that was the benchmark of their 2005 AFL premiership.

While the Swans are travelling nicely this year in fourth place after 13 rounds and are on a six-game winning streak, they face a massive test of their premiership credentials against seventh-placed Collingwood on Saturday night.

The ANZ Stadium clash gives the Swans (9 wins, 3 losses, 1 draw) a chance to end their four-game losing run against the Magpies including last year's elimination final defeat at the MCG by 38 points.

"We think we're playing pretty good footy," said Roos, who has recalled ruckman Peter Everitt from a hamstring injury but loses dual Brownlow Medallist Adam Goodes because of a one-game suspension.

It will be the first time Roos, who took over as coach in mid-2002, has guided a Swans team without Goodes in the team, breaking a run of 204 consecutive games for the star midfielder.

Roos recalled how Goodes was Sydney's best player in that losing side against Collingwood in last year's finals series, making his absence this week even more painful.

"Goodesy is such an important player for us. Obviously we are going to miss him," Roos said.

But another disappointing factor for the Swans in that elimination final was the tackle count which read 68-37 in Collingwood's favour.

"All guys are proud, they play (with) a competitive spirit," Roos said.

"They are aware that they have been beaten three times last year by Collingwood and they are aware that we need to play a lot better than what we did last year in order to win.

"We probably got out-tackled in most of those games and that's something we need to address.

"Tackling ... has always been a benchmark of the Brisbane teams that won three in a row and certainly our team and I suspect West Coast (2006 premiers) and Geelong (2007).

"They (Collingwood) have out-tackled us really well last year and that is a mindset thing. Our guys need to come with that mindset and compete really really hard.

"In that final I think they almost doubled us in tackles so we need to come (prepared).

"If they do that again they'll win, end of story, regardless of what happens at either end of the ground or in any other statistic. If they smash us in the tackles, they'll beat us.

"If we don't put pressure on the ball-carrier then they'll beat us like they have the last three times."

Questioned whether victory over Collingwood (7-6 win-loss) would have extra meaning, Roos said it carried no more satisfaction than beating any other side.

"It's four points regardless. You don't get 4.5 for beating Collingwood," Roos said.

Roos remains close to Magpies chief executive Gary Pert, his former Fitzroy team-mate who was best man at his wedding.

"I spoke to him (Pert) today and he gave me their team which was nice of him. As long as Mick (Malthouse) doesn't find that out so keep that to yourself," Roos joked.

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