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Roos says Swans are back in the mix

By Greg Buckle 31/08/2008 01:23:56 PM Comments (0)

Jude Bolton has been reported and Barry Hall may follow but Sydney coach Paul Roos insists the Swans are "in the mix" to do some damage in the AFL finals series.

The Swans comfortably accounted for the 10th-placed Brisbane Lions 17.12 (114) to 6.17 (53) at the SCG, despite resting Adam Goodes (groin) and Ryan O'Keefe (flu).

The win guaranteed the Swans a home final at ANZ Stadium next weekend.

While the Lions had only their pride to play for and fell away badly after halftime, Roos could see positive signs for his side which had been in poor form, winning two of their previous eight games.

Jarred Moore, in his 30th game, and teenager Patrick Veszpremi, in his fourth match, combined for eight goals as key forward Hall (one goal) struggled to shake off Brisbane fullback Daniel Merrett.

But with 2006 All-Australian half-forward O'Keefe and dual Brownlow Medallist Goodes to return this week, hard decisions must be made at the selection table - assuming Bolton and Hall are also available.

Bolton was reported by umpire Mathew James in the last quarter for rough play after crashing into Brisbane's Albert Proud as he got a kick away in midfield.

Hall appeared to punch Merrett in the shoulder during the third term in an incident which may come under scrutiny by the AFL match review panel.

Swans co-captain Leo Barry said he was confident Bolton would be free to play.

"I saw the incident. I don't think it's much to worry about," Barry said.

The 2005 premiership fullback said ahead of Sydney's sixth consecutive finals campaign that their win over Brisbane showed the Swans were not going to be also-rans in September.

"We have improved and we've ticked off a few boxes that have been an issue over probably the last two months," Barry said.

Roos agreed.

"If we play like we did (against Brisbane) we can certainly do some damage," he said.

"Every team bar the top two - Geelong and Hawthorn - has had really up-and-down seasons.

"It's good, you're in the mix. The team's in reasonable form ... so hopefully we can play as well as we did tonight and that does give us an opportunity to win next week."

Roos said the home final would be a "significant advantage".

"It makes a big difference to the guys' psyche as well," he said.

"Last year we had to go down to the MCG and play against Collingwood."

Roos was thrilled with the efforts of his crumbing forwards and while Hall appeared to be a ticking time bomb ready to go off at any moment, his coach said he was pleased with his star forward's efforts under pressure.

"It was a good contribution," Roos said of Hall, who has been suspended twice for a total of eight weeks this season.

"A forward is always going to be frustrated when they've got two or three guys on him.

"The opposition is going to be throwing themselves on the ground and jumping around and carrying on every time he gets near the ball.

"There's a little bit of play-acting I think going on from opposition teams, which is a bit disappointing but that's what Hally has to put up with at the moment."

Roos said Hall, who had only six possessions and four marks, had created a contest for his small forwards.

But Veszpremi, who was a late inclusion for O'Keefe, could be dropped.

"There's going to be a few blokes in form not playing," Roos said.

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