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Swans ready to take on in-form Cats

Angela Habashy 14/04/2011 03:59:55 PM Comments (0)

Tadhg Kennelly could play his first game for 2011 when Sydney try to continue their unbeaten start to the AFL season against a fit and firing Geelong side at the SCG on Saturday.

The Swans, one of three undefeated teams after opening with two wins and a draw, don't have a happy recent history against Geelong, losing seven straight games including 67 and 53-point maulings last year.

First-year coach John Longmire knows his charges will be seriously tested and get a good gauge of where they sit on Saturday.

"It doesn't get any bigger than Geelong in red-hot form at the SCG," Longmire said before training on Thursday.

"We've been able to persist for four quarters until now, but Geelong will be a huge challenge for us.

"So we're really looking forward to testing ourselves against one of the better teams going round at the moment."

After playing two games in the reserves, Kennelly is in contention for his first match this season, although Longmire is being cautious with the fleet-footed Irishman, who has been recovering from knee surgery.

"We've got to be mindful, it's not just about this game for Tadhg, it's about the whole season," Longmire said.

"He's played two (reserve) games which is fantastic.

"But the AFL intensity level is pretty demanding these days so we've got to make sure he's ready for that in the short, medium and long term, not just the short term.

"Largely that will come down to how he pulls up from training today."

Their opponents meanwhile will be bolstered by the return of Andrew Mackie, David Wojcinski and Tom Lonergan from injury.

"Geelong are in great form, they've got superstars across every line," Longmire said.

"Their best players are playing really well and they get a couple more players coming back into the team this week, so there's no way they're going to drop off."

While Brownlow Medallist Gary Ablett, who has caused the Swans plenty of headaches in the past, has moved to the Gold Cost, Longmire knows the Cats' midfield artillery is still among the best in the league.

"We've struggled to contain Gary (Ablett) when we've played Geelong in the past, no doubt about that, he's had a field day against us at times," he added.

"But they've got (Joel) Selwood and (Jimmy) Bartel and (Paul) Chapman and (Cameron) Ling all in there.

"So the depth of quality in their midfield is the best going round.

"We're aware of that obviously, but we're excited by that challenge as well."

Longmire will decide after Thursday's training session whether Jarred Moore will be picked for Saturday's squad, while centre half-back Lewis Roberts-Thomson is likely to play another week in the reserves alongside ruckman Mark Seaby.

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