Pyke spiked as Swans look to oust Eagles - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Pyke spiked as Swans look to oust Eagles

By Adrian Warren 14/05/2009 07:00:43 PM Comments (0)

Sydney have dropped Canadian ruckman Mike Pyke and recalled midfielders Luke Ablett and Craig Bird for Saturday's AFL clash with West Coast Eagles at ANZ Stadium.

Former Test rugby back Pyke has made way for youngster Jesse White after playing the last two games.

The Swans match committee also decided to drop youngster Kristin Thornton and classy half back Nick Malceski, who has yet to reach his best form after returning in the middle of last season following revolutionary surgery on his knee.

Sydney coach Paul Roos said Pyke's demotion was not based on form, but was part of the Canadian's Australian Rules education.

He said throwing Pyke in against the league's premier ruckman, Dean Cox, wouldn't necessarily help the Canadian's development.

Roos said the match committee needed to see him do different things and fill different positions which wasn't really possible in the AFL.

"We've got to be mindful that he's still got a long way to go to become a bona fide AFL player," Roos said.

"His two games have been competent. And I thought last week he improved significantly on the week before."

Roos said Malceski was OK about being dropped and hoped the dashing defender would regain form in the reserves.

Malceski will be under "no pressure, he can go and play, get the footy, use the ball better and hopefully it's just a week in the reserves if he plays really well and gets back next week," Roos said.

"Kristin (Thornton) is another just learning. Obviously he's done pretty well, but he's just making way for Luke Ablett, who has been out for a couple of weeks, and Birdy, as well."

"Hopefully those guys will continue to improve and the guys we've brought in will give us something as well."

Roos said premiership player Ablett was not 100 per cent fit after being troubled through the early rounds by a shoulder problem.

"At his best, he is a versatile player, he can play on different types," Roos said of Ablett.

"He can play inside, he can go outside, he can go forward, so certainly with Luke healthy and playing really good football, he's a pretty important player for us."

Roos said there was still a keen rivalry between Sydney and West Coast even though the personnel of both teams had changed since their memorable 2005-06 grand final clashes.

With the teams locked in mid table on 3-4, Roos said Saturday's game was important for both sides.

"We've got to win and then hopefully play consistently over a two or three week period. Obviously at the moment we are a better team at home," Roos said.

He admitted to not knowing a lot about some of the younger Eagles.

"We know they are competitive and a team with a lot of pride and they are in pretty good form, they are pretty similar to us in a sense," Roos said.

"We will just get ready for the very best they can deliver."

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