Geelong 'just as tough' without Ablett - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Geelong 'just as tough' without Ablett

By Adrian Warren 07/05/2009 07:18:21 PM Comments (0)

Paul Roos says the absence of Gary Ablett won't hurt Geelong on Saturday in a match he rates one of the toughest in his long tenure as Sydney coach.

The bookies rate Sydney a rank outsider for the Skilled Stadium encounter, listing them at between $6.00 and $7.00 for a win.

Like most AFL teams, Sydney have a poor recent record against the Cats and the Swans have lost all three of their away games so far this season.

"It's probably one of the toughest games we've played in the last six or seven years," said Roos, who became Sydney's coach halfway through the 2002 season.

"I remember when we were going really well in 2005 and 2006 Brisbane at the Gabba and West Coast at Subiaco, Geelong at Skilled Stadium is right up there, if not harder than those tasks."

Roos said it was the "top-end evenness" of the Cats which made them so hard to beat and which would make it easier for them to compensate for Brownlow Medal favourite Ablett's unavailability with a groin injury.

"Everyone has asked me about Gary Ablett junior, the fact that he is not playing makes no difference to their team, as silly as it sounds because they've got so many other players," Roos said.

"You can keep two of their good players under control and they've got another six that can come and beat you, so their top end evenness is probably the biggest challenge.

"They are very interchangeable they have midfielders who can go to half-back and half-forward and they can throw their team around, they are very even and very good at playing different positions."

Geelong will welcome back skipper Tom Harley and the league's best tagger Cameron Ling from injury for the match.

While the bookies have written Sydney off, Roos stressed the Swans would still be subject to pressure from within their own group.

"There's no pressure on us (externally) because everyone expects us to lose, but we put pressure on ourselves," Roos said.

"These guys are professional, they've got pride in their own performance and we are not going to be the last team that goes down to Skilled Stadium and gets rated $6.25 to win."

He felt the key to an upset Swans' win was to deliver their trademark competitiveness and tackle and pressure the Cats.

Roos expected veteran key forwards Barry Hall and Michael O'Loughlin to be better for their run last week after long injury lay-offs.

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