Swans big guns set for NAB Cup action - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Swans big guns set for NAB Cup action

By Adrian Warren 04/01/2010 06:13:45 PM Comments (0)

Sydney may be poised to end their dire AFL pre-season competition form, with coach Paul Roos preparing to field a near full-strength team in their opener against Carlton next month.

The Swans' pre-season record has often been a subject of jokes as they haven't won a first round match in seven years under the long-serving Roos.

Roos' focus has been on getting his team into top shape for the start of the premiership season.

And his Swans usually started pre-season training later than most clubs because of six successive years of finals campaigns and players recovering from off-season surgery, meaning they didn't have the luxury of choosing a strong combination for the pre-season opener.

But this year is different, after the Swans missed the 2009 finals.

Of their senior list, only midfielder Kristin Thornton is unlikely to be available for the February 20 NAB Cup first round game against Carlton at Blacktown Olympic Park.

Thornton is recovering from a knee clean-up, but several of Sydney's established stars, including dual Brownlow Medallist Adam Goodes, have done a full pre-season and will feature against the Blues.

"What we might be able to do this year is have a little bit of a change of focus during the pre-season and hopefully sharpen the players up a little bit earlier," Sydney coaching coordinator John Longmire told reporters on Monday.

"In the past the senior players have been limited in their preparations and to this point most of the senior players have had a good preparation.

"From that point of view the players who will be available will be available and whether that's Adam Goodes or a first-year player, it doesn't really matter.

"We will be playing our best line-up in that game."

Longmire, who will take over the head coaching job from Roos after this season, confirmed Goodes would be played primarily at centre half-forward this year.

Goodes, who will turn 30 on Friday, will be part of a forward line including prize recruit Daniel Bradshaw and rising youngster Jesse White.

"I think that he (Bradshaw) will largely be playing deep out of the goalsquare, he and Jesse White," Longmire said.

"Goodes has been doing some of his pre-season work at centre half-forward and I think at this stage that's probably the way it will pan out."

The recruitment of Bradshaw, the return of Irishman Tadhg Kennelly, the acquisition of ruckmen Shane Mumford and Mark Seaby, midfielders Josh Kennedy and Ben McGlynn and the selection of some exciting youngsters in the national draft has Longmire excited about Sydney's 2010 prospects.

While Sydney lost several premiership players including Barry Hall, Michael O'Loughlin, Leo Barry, Jared Crouch, Amon Buchanan and Luke Ablett, the additions to the list have boosted Sydney's hopes of returning to the finals after missing out last year.

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