Teetering Swans must stay in the black - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Teetering Swans must stay in the black

By Adrian Warren 31/05/2010 07:11:38 PM Comments (0)

Sydney coach Paul Roos says his side simply cannot afford to drop into the red on their 2010 AFL win/loss ledger.

The two-point defeat by Hawthorn at the MCG was Sydney's fourth straight loss following a five-one start to the season.

Another reverse at home to Essendon on Sunday would slip the Swans to 5-6 and leave it all to do in the season's back-end.

A win would make a significant difference for reasons mental as well as mathematical, capitalising on the tentative gains made against the Hawks.

It was Sydney's most competitive performance over that period following losses by 67, 38, and 37 points to Geelong, Western Bulldogs and Fremantle respectively.

The early season ladder leader, Sydney has slumped to seventh, ahead on percentage of three other teams, the closest of which is Essendon.

"It's a big game definitely ... you don't want to fall to five-six," Roos said on Monday.

"Six-five at the halfway mark puts you right in the mix.

"Hopefully at some point in the back end of the year we'll get some players back.

"I think this week is just about getting us back on the winning track with the team that we've got."

The Swans head into their halfway game of the season without several key players, including defender Craig Bolton, full forward Daniel Bradshaw, ruckman Mark Seaby, and half back Tadhg Kennelly.

Although their losing streak continued with their defeat by Hawthorn, Roos was adamant his team had turned the corner with a much more competitive performance.

"Absolutely. No one tipped us to win and obviously we went in there with a pretty understrength team against a side that's got a lot of quality in it and played really well last week," Roos said.

"It was definitely a step forward for us, give or take a couple of things, we could have quite easily won the game, so we've got to take a lot of positives."

Roos reiterated he was happy with the efforts of several of his youngsters against the Hawks.

Midfielder Daniel Hannebery, 19, defender Nick Smith, 21, rookie Gary Rohan, 18, and ruckman Shane Mumford, 23, were Sydney's stand out performers against the Hawks.

Roos felt Sydney definitely upped their pressure skills against the Hawks and cited that area as a reason behind Essendon's three match winning streak.

"I think Essendon's pressure skills have really picked up over the last two or three weeks," Roos said.

Young midfielder Craig Bird, who hasn't played a senior game this year because of a foot injury, is a strong chance of returning to the side after playing around 100 minutes in his comeback match in the reserves last weekend.

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