Swans still wary of Bulldogs' bite - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Swans still wary of Bulldogs' bite

By Angela Habashy and Sam Lienert 07/09/2010 06:57:30 PM Comments (0)

Sydney veteran Ryan O'Keefe has warned that an injury-hit and slumping Western Bulldogs outfit remains a potent threat.

The two clubs will enter Saturday night's MCG semi-final with starkly contrasting formlines, the Swans coming off five straight wins, while the Dogs have been thumped in three of their past four games.

That includes a 44-point Sydney win over the Bulldogs at the SCG less than three weeks ago.

But O'Keefe said a Dogs' side missing midfield star Adam Cooney and dependable defender Dale Morris still boasted enormous talent.

"That could be a little bit of false confidence, if you go in thinking that the Dogs have got some injuries so they're going to be weakened," he said.

"They've got some really good players who can really hurt you.

"Big Baz (Barry Hall) can kick a bag and you've got quality midfielders, so I think any player that steps in for the Bulldogs is gong to be tough opposition."

O'Keefe would be mindful that Sydney's most recent finals campaign - in 2008 - ended in an MCG semi-final loss to the Bulldogs.

As is the case this week, the Bulldogs were on the rebound from a qualifying final thrashing, which was also their third loss in four games.

Sydney, like they did last weekend against Carlton, had produced a morale-boosting comeback elimination final victory, on that occasion over North Melbourne.

One difference was Hall was still in Swans' colours, booting four goals as Sydney's campaign ended in a 37-point defeat to the Dogs.

This time, Sydney could have another experienced spearhead, with former Brisbane dual-premiership player Daniel Bradshaw likely to make his long-awaited return from knee and hamstring injuries.

"I don't think we've got too many guys that have got a huge amount of finals experience, a lot of guys played their first final on the weekend, especially our forward line, they're pretty young," O'Keefe said.

"So to have someone of Daniel's calibre and experience to just steady the ship is great."

O'Keefe played down suggestions that the Swans' campaign was starting to gain a sense of destiny after their gritty win over the Blues.

"I don't think we want to get too ahead of ourselves. It was a great lead-up, it's a good dress rehearsal for this weekend which is going to be much the same I think," he said.

"You always want to play to win the premiership, that's why we train every day.

"But I don't think you get too far ahead of yourself in this game because you get smacked pretty quickly."

He predicted the Bulldogs would be riding a wave of emotion after skipper Brad Johnson's retirement announcement.

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