Swans coach in the dark with Demons - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Swans coach in the dark with Demons

By Adrian Warren 24/07/2009 07:02:54 PM Comments (0)

Sydney coach Paul Roos is wary of an "unpredictable" young Melbourne AFL team, as he attempts his own juggling act between blooding youngsters and winning matches.

Six losses in their last seven games has left Sydney two wins off eighth spot with just six rounds remaining.

Although Sydney retains a slight mathematical prospect of making the finals for a seventh straight year, their regeneration program is already underway.

While committed to pouring more game time into his younger players, starting with Sunday's clash with Melbourne at Canberra's Manuka Oval, Roos stressed the Swans weren't sacrificing the club's short-term future.

"We want to win as many games as we possibly can, I think that's our priority, the players are aware of that," Roos told reporters prior to training on Friday.

He said some of the younger players could be demoted over the closing rounds if they became fatigued, with midfielder Craig Bird and forward Patrick Veszpremi both dropping down to the reserves this week.

However, three less experienced players, ruckman Mike Pyke, midfielder Kristin Thornton and forward Jarred Moore were among the men promoted along with premiership player Amon Buchanan.

Sydney will come up against a Demons team who are well into their own rebuilding program, having notched encouraging back-to-back wins over West Coast and Port Adelaide, before losing to Geelong last week.

Melbourne, who have lost the last four clashes with Sydney, have made seven changes to their team.

Six of those were forced by injuries and illness, with Mark Jamar, Brock McLean and Brad Green among the casualties.

"They are young, they are enthusiastic, they run and I think the other thing is they are unpredictable," Roos said of Melbourne.

"When you are bringing players in and out of teams and you've got younger guys, they are harder to scout.

"We don't know a lot about their younger guys, they haven't played a lot of footy, so it is a little bit hard.

"When you're looking at a younger team you're not really sure how they are going to play."

Sydney will be looking to rebound from last week's 61-point hiding from Carlton, their biggest loss of the campaign.

Roos stressed Sydney had still been very competitive in the vast majority of their recent losses.

"The last five or six, we've been super competitive and within that six-week period, we've played Hawthorn, Collingwood and Adelaide, three very very good sides," Roos said.

"Carlton and Essendon are up and coming teams, so the quality of the opposition we've played over the last five or six weeks has been very high, so we've shown that we can be really competitive.

"We just need to be competitive for a little bit longer in order to win games, but certainly we're really pleased with the effort that has been put in."

Roos was encouraged by the efforts last weekend of youngsters Jesse White, Nick Smith, Ed Barlow and Dan Hannebery.

While keen to keep blooding youth, Roos stressed he would maintain a balance between senior and emerging players.

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