Swans must lift for farewells: O'Keefe - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Swans must lift for farewells: O'Keefe

By Adrian Warren 24/08/2009 04:39:22 PM Comments (0)

Seven years after farewelling two club legends in style, Sydney stalwart Ryan O'Keefe hopes to give three more departing heroes a winning finish at the SCG on Saturday.

Sydney's AFL match against Brisbane marks the end of three distinguished careers with full forward and club games record holder Michael O'Loughlin, fullback Leo Barry and midfielder Jared Crouch all retiring.

Between them, the trio have logged 760 games and each played in the club's drought-breaking 2005 premiership win and the grand final loss the following year.

Midfielder O'Keefe drew parallels between Saturday night and the round-22 game against Richmond back in 2002, which was the last time Sydney failed to make the finals.

On that occasion, the Swans marked the final appearance of club legends Paul Kelly and Andrew Dunkley with a rousing 40-point home win over Richmond.

"It's going to be a big day for the club and back then, it was a big day and I think you can't really pick who has done more for the club than these guys," O'Keefe told reporters on Monday.

"I think we are going to give everything and it's going to be a big game for us.

"Those guys mean so much to us. We will do everything in our power to send them off on a good note.

"We were really disappointed in the weekend's game. It was the (three retiring) boys' last game in front of our Melbourne supporters and we definitely don't want to make the same mistake again.

"It's the last game of the year. We've got three champions of our club that we want to send off, so if we can't muster up the energy or the enthusiasm for that game, I don't know when we will."

O'Keefe is also hoping for a big spectator turnout despite the fact Sydney can't make the finals for the first time in seven seasons.

"I would sort of mark it, maybe, as a little bit of disrespect if people don't come and farewell these three champions of the club," O'Keefe said.

O'Keefe and the retiring trio apart, only five other current players were on the Sydney list when they last failed to make the finals.

He was sufficiently impressed by Collingwood's performance in their 41-point win over the Swans on Sunday to tip the Magpies to play St Kilda in the grand final.

"They (Collingwood) are a really good side," he said.

"They've got that even balance, those hard bodies across the field, so they are definitely a chance."

The forward-turned-midfielder said he wasn't at all surprised by Brisbane's return to the finals, but said the Swans were "definitely going to throw everything at them".

Forward Jarred Moore had been released from a Melbourne hospital after breaking two ribs and puncturing a lung against Collingwood and will return by car to Sydney later in the week, the Swans said.

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