O'Keefe takes aim at critics of Swans - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

O'Keefe takes aim at critics of Swans

By Greg Buckle 09/09/2008 05:00:09 PM Comments (0)

Sydney half-forward Ryan O'Keefe misses many things about his home town of Melbourne but he can live without the constant and feverish discussion of AFL football.

Some of these public and media views do, however, reach the Harbour City and O'Keefe, a member of the Swans leadership group, has been annoyed by the ongoing criticism of the team.

"We probably don't know half the stuff that goes on (in Melbourne)," O'Keefe, 27, told AAP.

"I think it's a good thing."

O'Keefe, Adam Goodes and Barry Hall contributed eight goals in Sydney's 35-point win over North Melbourne in last week's elimination final and the Swans will rely heavily on the trio to reproduce that form in Friday night's semi-final against the Western Bulldogs at the MCG.

O'Keefe says with the Swans building momentum in their sixth successive finals campaign, the 2005 premiers and 2006 runners-up are keen to show they are still a force in September despite a list that includes six players in their 30s.

Those thirty-somethings include Hall and co-captain Brett Kirk, whose 12-possession haul in the third quarter against North helped spark Sydney's revival from 10 points down at halftime.

"People have got opinions and are always going to write us off," said O'Keefe, who was an All-Australian in 2006 and has made the shortlist of 40 nominees this year.

"It does fire the players up and it does get a bit annoying.

"If people want to keep writing us off, we'll keep proving them wrong."

Hall, who has served seven-week and one-week AFL Tribunal suspensions this year and also received a club ban to seek anger-management counselling, has kicked 37 goals in 14 games and was praised by Swans assistant coach John Longmire.

"When he has been out there, he has played pretty well for us," Longmire said.

"He just wants to let his footy do the talking.

"That's all he's worried about at the moment and that's what he's doing, so hopefully that will continue."

Longmire said there was no secret to Sydney's wins over the Kangaroos and Brisbane in the past two rounds after losing six of their previous eight games.

"It's just really the players have been able to set themselves to win the contested ball," he said.

"It's very much a mindset thing that the players have been really good at over the last couple of weeks.

"When you are in that frame of mind, it makes you hard to beat.

"It's good to see some players returning to some form. Therefore the players get that self-belief in each other and as a team and I think that has been a factor in the last couple of weeks.

"It's good to be able to get back to our trademark footy, which is that in-and-under, contested style of play.

"There's no science to it as far as what wins finals games. We know that winning the contested ball is a big part of that."

Small forward Amon Buchanan said: "I just think we're getting back to that kind of traditional Swans style of football where we are tackling, the intensity is up.

"That kind of belief is coming back now. There's a good feeling around the club."

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