Swans a 'finals-type clash' for Cats - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Swans a 'finals-type clash' for Cats

By Adrian Warren 15/08/2008 05:13:42 PM Comments (0)

Geelong coach Mark Thompson believes Saturday's clash with Sydney at ANZ Stadium is exactly the challenge the defending premiers need going into next month's finals series.

The AFL ladder-leaders head into the clash riding a 10-match winning streak since their only loss of the campaign against Collingwood.

The Cats will come up against a Sydney side desperate to cling on to fourth place following a run of poor form.

Sydney came from behind in the dying minutes to shade Fremantle last week and Thompson expected the Swans renowned tenacity to provide his team with right type of challenge.

"We know it's a hard task to play Sydney at any time and to play them at their home state is another challenge, but I think that's exactly what we need at the moment," Thompson said.

"We are playing a very hard contested football team tomorrow night and that in itself is a very very good thing.

"We look forward to that because that's the sort of thing finals are made of and we probably expect that sort of thing tomorrow night.

"To be honest, you would rather play Sydney than a team lower on the ladder because it's better practice going into the final series."

Swans coach Paul Roos has replaced co-captain Leo Barry with midfielder Nick Malceski after the veteran fullback still felt a little sensitive on Thursday night after aggravating a hamstring injury last week.

He hoped to have Barry back next week, but said it was "touch and go" whether another of Sydney's longest-serving players, full forward Michael O'Loughlin, would return from an ankle injury before the finals series.

Roos was hoping Sydney could establish some consistency in team selection heading into the business end of the season and declared dual Brownlow Medallist Adam Goodes would remain up forward for the rest of the season, even after O'Loughlin returned.

"At the moment, we're a team that has a few players in and out and it's probably hard to get some consistency," Roos said.

"I think in tomorrow night's team you get (Nic) Fosdike back, Malceski back, obviously Goodes last week (and Jared) Crouch, so we are probably a little bit more experienced at this time of year."

Roos suggested he had no special plans to try to end Geelong's winning streak and was basing his hopes on his team producing a complete four-quarter effort.

Geelong needed a flurry of late goals to inflict a 43-point defeat on Sydney earlier this season and Roos noted the Swans had been competitive in their recent clashes with the Cats.

"We've been pretty competitive against them, but we haven't been able to play 120 minutes of good footy," Roos said.

"That's really our main focus to try to be competitive for longer and hopefully in front of them at the end of the game."

The match marks the first appearance this season of 150-gamer Fosdike.

It will be the 2005 premiership-winning midfielder's first game since Sydney's elimination final loss to Collingwood 11 months ago.

"It's been very frustrating," the 28-year-old South Australian said.

"I had the knee (injury) which dragged on and then I had a hamstring injury."

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