Demetriou heaps praise on Swans - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Demetriou heaps praise on Swans

By Adrian Warren 24/03/2009 08:21:54 PM Comments (0)

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou has praised the Swans for defying the laws of footballing nature and vowed the sport's governing body will focus massively on the club in the lead-up to a second Sydney team.

Demetriou and Sydney have had a frosty relationship in recent years but there was nothing but mutual praise on display as he helped the Swans launch their season.

He said Sydney had been one of the AFL's best on-field performers and he expected big things from them again this year.

Demetriou said the Swans' bucking of the system by reaching the final for the last six years was testament to the efforts of coach Paul Roos and his players.

"It's an incredible effort in our system, because normally what has to happen, is clubs have to bottom out to be able to climb up the ladder," Demetriou said at the Bondi Icebergs club on Tuesday.

"The Swans have been incredible in the way that they have been able to regroup from time to time and perform the way that they have."

Roos said while he found the draft frustrating from a coach's perspective, he acknowledged it was also a strength of the competition.

Demetriou again defended the AFL's decision to place a second team in Sydney from 2012 but stressed his organisation's continued support for the Swans.

"We definitely need another club to help the Sydney Swans, they've been doing the heavy lifting and really admirably," Demetriou said.

"They are a fantastic football club, very successful.

"They've got double the turnover of most other clubs and they've got easily the highest membership, but it's tough when you're competing against 17 other clubs (in other football codes in Sydney).

"At a point of time people will be forced to choose between the Sydney Swans and whatever the other team's name will be, but I think you will see a massive focus in the next two or three years from the AFL (in) supporting the Swans in everything they do as we go down the track of putting another team into this market."

Roos stressed it was imperative both Sydney clubs were strong and that the Swans were in an "impregnable" position once its new intra-city rival arrived.

"If the second team comes in and we are not at a stage where we are almost impregnable, the whole thing is going to be a disaster, because I think everyone would agree you can't have two bad teams in Sydney," Roos said.

Heading into the opening round this weekend, Roos admitted he was still a little confused about the new rushed behind rule, even after talking on Monday to umpires director Jeff Gieschen.

"Hopefully the benefit of the doubt will go to the defender nine times out of 10," said Roos, who didn't support the introduction of the rule.

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