Lions the big test for Swans - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lions the big test for Swans

By James Dampney 30/04/2010 06:41:11 PM Comments (0)

Surprise AFL ladder-leaders after five rounds, it's fair to say few experts are predicting Sydney to still be there by round 22.

There were plenty of question marks over the Swans entering this season and while they have exceeded expectations, they have also taken advantage of a soft schedule, with wins over Adelaide, Richmond, North Melbourne and West Coast so far.

On Saturday night they host fellow top-four hope Brisbane, who will be smarting from last week's shock 50-point loss to Melbourne.

As is often the case, Sydney have been garnering little attention outside the harbour city, even as they sit atop the ladder.

And that suits the Swans just fine.

"It's a big test. You want to play against the best opposition and Brisbane have shown over the first five weeks that they're going to be right up there," Sydney co-captain Brett Kirk said.

"Outside the walls, we're not too worried about how people are seeing us. No one really gave us too much of a hope early on.

"People will obviously judge us come Saturday night but as a team, we want to put a four-quarter performance in and we'll get more of an idea how we're going."

Lions spearhead Jonathan Brown struggled against the Demons, picking up just eight touches and kicking one goal, having nailed 19 majors over the opening four rounds.

He admitted he was feeling "a little bit sore around the stomach", but there are reports Brown is carrying an abdominal strain that is again expected to limit him at the SCG.

The Swans received a significant blow when All-Australian defender Craig Bolton picked up an Achilles injury against the Eagles that is expected to sideline him for six weeks.

But they do have experienced tall defender Ted Richards ready to come into the team, while the form of centre halfback Heath Grundy has been close to a revelation so far in 2010.

Lewis Roberts-Thomson also had a stand-out game against West Coast and Sydney coach Paul Roos is backing his defence to match the Lions.

He is also planning for a fully-fit Brown to line-up alongside Brendan Fevola.

"Once they get on the ground, they're fit and I'm sure that Vossy (Lions coach Michael Voss) would take that opinion with his players and our players," he said.

"I'm expecting Browny to run out on Saturday night and we'll treat him with the respect he deserves.

"Heath (Grundy) will need to be playing well to beat him and we expect a 100 per cent Jonathan Brown."

The Lions will be boosted by the return of experienced trio Luke Power, Justin Sherman and former Swan Amon Buchanan in his first match back at the SCG.

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