Swan must be stopped, says Thompson - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Swan must be stopped, says Thompson

By Robert Grant 03/08/2010 04:41:10 PM Comments (0)

Geelong coach Mark Thompson has pinpointed Collingwood midfielder Dane Swan as the Magpies' key man in Saturday night's AFL blockbuster at the MCG.

The job could well fall to Cats skipper and master tagger Cameron Ling, although such is Swan's stamina and ability that Thompson says his output can really only be restricted at best.

"It looks like it doesn't matter who plays on him at the moment, they just can't stop him," Thompson said .

"(Ling has played on him) in the past. Last time he went to (Scott) Pendlebury and Swan got a whole lot of possessions.

"With Swanny, we'll have to work it out tomorrow, wait and see."

Such has been Swan's output in 2010 that he currently shades Cats linchpin Gary Ablett and Hawthorn's Luke Hodge at the top of Brownlow betting.

Thompson expects Collingwood to be a much tougher proposition than when Geelong beat them by 36 points in round nine.

"They probably are, their results show that," Thompson said ahead of the clash between the top two sides on the ladder.

"They've had a lot of players come through into the team and played well and they've got good players who are out of the team at the moment.

"You'd have to say they're a better team."

He forecast a tough match featuring shutdowns rather than high-scoring.

"Usually what happens in big games is players put a lot of focus and concentration on both elements of the game - the attacking side and the defensive side," he said.

"Sure, we go out and ask our players to attack and score as many goals (as they can) and move the ball as quickly as we can, and Collingwood will do the same.

"But at the same time there is enormous pressure put on from the opposition so you will usually find they're not the event or the types of games that we all want to see.

"There's going to be a real contest, probably low scoring, probably lots of tackles and lots of mistakes."

Thompson described his side as "pretty healthy" this week with Brownlow Medallist Jimmy Bartel and forward James Podsiadly ready to return after being rested for the big win over Sydney.

Ling and midfield dynamo Paul Chapman are also expected to overcome minor injuries.

Meanwhile, Collingwood have received a lift with midfielder Sharrod Wellingham cleared of serious injury after he received a knock above the knee during Saturday's 48-point win over Carlton.

While he suffered bone bruising, Wellingham will attempt to prove his fitness later this week and has not been ruled out of the match which is expected to attract a crowd of up to 90,000 to the MCG.

With both teams almost certain to finish in the top four, Collingwood key forward Chris Dawes said Saturday's match would be an indicator to what could happen in the finals.

"But it won't be the be-all and end-all," said Dawes.

" ... even if we were to drop this game we'd be a chance of finishing top two.

"There's not heaps on the line, it's another game and I think Geelong are going to treat it that way too.

"We both know we're going to feature in finals.

"But obviously it will be a nice edge to have over them if we do meet them again in September."

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