Swans again expecting to soar in 2009 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Swans again expecting to soar in 2009

By James Dampney 21/12/2008 07:50:58 PM Comments (0)

Sydney have been having another typically quiet AFL off-season, but the Swans are confident they are heading for another strong year on the field.

Many expected the Swans to struggle to have an impact last season, but the 2005 premiers responded with a sixth-placed finish on the ladder and a first-round elimination final victory over the Kangaroos.

Heading into 2009 there are again question marks over the Sydney list, which is littered with mainstays such as Barry Hall, Leo Barry, Brett Kirk and Michael O'Loughlin, who are in the twilight of their careers.

But defender Nick Malceski expects the Swans to again be among the more competitive teams in the AFL in 2009 and is targeting a top-four finish.

"We're always positive about being competitive each year," he said.

"We don't really set ourselves goals but you do look at it and you hopefully finish in the top four.

"It's obviously the best position to be in at the end of the year and we're confident of playing well next year."

Sydney coach Paul Roos has acknowledged the club needed to start recycling their veteran list and have brought in plenty of youth over the past couple of seasons.

Some of them began to emerge last season, while there are also high hopes for their latest draft picks, Lewis Johnston, Daniel Hannebery and Campbell Heath.

"It's good having youth at the club," Malceski said.

"Obviously Jarred Moore, Kieren Jack, Craig Bird, they're all going really well at the moment and it is good having youth coming through."

Another part of the Sydney line-up Malceski is happy about is the defensive line, of which he is a major part.

A backline featuring the fleet-footed foursome of Tadhg Kennelly, Marty Mattner, Malceski and new recruit Rhyce Shaw is the equal of any in the AFL.

But a variety of injuries meant Kennelly, Mattner and Malceski barely featured on the field together last season.

"We were looking forward to (former Crow) Marty coming in, but then I ended up doing my knee and myself, Tadhg and Marty didn't play that much footy with each other last year," Malceski said.

"Bringing Rhyce in as well, hopefully we all get to play with each other.

"We've only got two spots at halfback, so I don't know who's going to be taking them, but it's pretty exciting."

The Swans are well into their pre-season training schedule and open their NAB Cup campaign against Port Adelaide at Manuka Oval on February 22.

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