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O'Keefe wanting to lift his game

By Adrian Warren 29/07/2010 06:17:10 PM Comments (0)

Sydney champion Ryan O'Keefe admits he let his side down against Melbourne last week and is determined to lift his game as part of an unchanged side seeking redemption on Saturday against Geelong at ANZ Stadium.

Clinging onto eighth spot following the 73-point mauling by the Demons at the MCG, the Swans host the Cats at ANZ stadium on Saturday.

It represents the start of a demanding four-week stretch of games against fellow finals aspirants.

Reigning Sydney best-and-fairest, O'Keefe was one of several prominent Swans to have his colours lowered by Melbourne.

Successfully converted into a midfielder last year, O'Keefe has earned a reputation for being a high disposal accumulator and hadn't tallied less than 16 touches in any game this year before last weekend.

He tallied only two kicks and 10 disposals in total and didn't take a mark in, statistically, his least impressive effort of the year.

"As a senior player, I admit that I let the team down last week with my performance," O'Keefe told reporters before training at the SCG on Thursday.

"As a senior player and one of the leaders of the team you've got to make sure that you are performing at a high standard every week, so I've got to really lift my game."

O'Keefe said Sydney would need to be competitive and win most of their remaining games because they were likely to run into the likes of Geelong, Fremantle, Hawthorne and Western Bulldogs again in the finals.

"If we put up rubbish performances at the end of the season, then if we make the finals we will be making up the numbers anyway," O'Keefe said.

Sydney coach Paul Roos pointed out his team had won the two games before the biggest loss of his tenure to the Demons and it will be good for them to get another chance against the Cats.

"Last week we probably only had four or five players that played well, but the week before we had our best game for the year, so they are not out of form," Roos told reporters on Thursday.

"So really there's no need to make any changes. The seconds didn't play last weekend, so that may have impacted a little bit on some of the guys' opportunity there."

Asked whether Saturday's clash was Sydney's toughest task this year, Roos said: "I think the toughest assignment in footy is Geelong at Skilled Stadium, the next toughest is (playing) Geelong at home."

O'Keefe said Sydney had concentrated this week on winning one-on-one contest and Roos said winning the ball and tackling had been his major focus points.

Roos admitted Geelong were "potentially" harder to pressure than any other team in the competition because of their slick ball use.

Earlier on Thursday, the Swans announced that midfielder Kieren Jack and defender Heath Grundy had agreed to new deals that will keep them at the Swans until at least the end of 2013.

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