Swans out to reclaim defensive honours - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Swans out to reclaim defensive honours

By Adrian Warren 24/03/2010 11:32:33 AM Comments (0)

A rejuvenated Tadhg Kennelly says Sydney are gunning to wrench the title of the AFL's defensive kings back from St Kilda, starting with their opening-round clash at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.

The Irishman has returned to the AFL after a one-year break, during which time he won an All-Ireland Gaelic football title with Kerry.

The 28-year-old defender believes Sydney has its speediest team in his time with the club and expects the addition of some outside runners to the established corps of in-and-under midfielders will pose plenty of problems for opposing teams.

St Kilda, coached by former Sydney assistant coach Ross Lyon, took the AFL by storm last year when they invariably held teams to modest scores with a suffocating defensive intensity reminiscent of the 2005 premiership-winning Swans.

"We are trying to get back to being the most aggressive defensive team in the competition," Kennelly told AAP.

"St Kilda took that to a new level last year and if we can match that on Saturday night, we will go a long way to becoming a successful team."

While most pundits have tipped Sydney to miss the finals for a second straight year, Kennelly is adamant the revamped Swans can return to the September stage.

He was excited about the prospect of Sydney unleashing four genuine dashers across the half-back line in Nick Malceski, Martin Mattner, Rhyce Shaw and himself.

"What are teams going to do, you can't exactly pull all four players back to the goal square, or are you going to upset your forward line?" Kennelly said.

And Kennelly believes a lack of predictability will pose problems for opposing midfields.

"In the past, teams have said 'they (Sydney) are slow and have good inside players in Brett Kirk and Jude Bolton,' but now we've got the outside players with speed, so it's going to be very hard to play against the Swans because you don't know how you are going to play against them," he said.

"We've got two very drastic different styles of football, which we haven't had in the past."

Kennelly, who is contracted to the end of the 2011 season, is fitter than at any stage since 2006, after finally ridding his body of a series of debilitating injuries.

"I'm physically absolutely fantastic and I can express myself fully now without having that mental block," Kennelly said.

"Those last two years (2007 and 2008) were extremely tough and hard. Mentally and physically I really didn't enjoy my football.

"That was probably one of the decisions that helped me to come back here, because I thought I wasn't playing at a level that I was happy with and I wanted to come back to the Swans to play at a level I know I can play."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

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