Swans aren't talking finals yet - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Swans aren't talking finals yet

Adrian Warren 17/05/2011 07:44:36 PM Comments (0)

Sydney veteran Rhyce Shaw believes his youthful Swans can contend for an AFL top-four spot, but says the club is keeping that sort of talk "off the radar".

Sixth-placed Sydney have notched four wins and a draw from their seven games, but face a litmus test at the SCG on Sunday against Hawthorn, the team directly above them on the ladder.

While many pundits have pencilled in Geelong and Collingwood as top-four certainties, Shaw believed Sydney was among a pack of contenders vying for the other two places.

"I like to think we can beat anyone on any given day. That's the nature of AFL football these days, the competition is really close," he said on Tuesday.

"I think there's a bunch of teams just below those top teams that are all fighting for a top-four spot and we're going to be certainly one of them."

Shaw expected the Hawks to be another of the teams pushing hard for a double chance in the finals.

"They are a very good side. I wouldn't be very surprised whatsoever if they finished top four, they are that good a side," he said.

Defender Shaw was excited by the emergence of a host of young players at the Swans.

"I think on the weekend we had 10 players 22 or under, so it's pretty exciting for us old blokes," said 29-year-old Shaw.

"We want to be a really competitive side against everyone in the competition and Hawthorn are one of the top teams.

"We've got to be competitive again and stick to our structures and hopefully get the win.

"But any talk of top four or finals is off the radar at the moment."

Shaw emphasised Sydney, in their first season under new coach John Longmire, were far from the finished product.

"We're still a long, long way from where we want to be as a footy club and, whatever result that happens on the weekend, I think we've still got a lot of improvement to come," he said.

Just two points separate Hawthorn from Sydney heading into their SCG encounter.

"It's going to be a really important game for both sides. We're close on the ladder and it's a real chance to test ourselves against the best," Shaw said.

He noted Sydney's defensive unit was looking forward to the challenge of containing a forward line including Lance Franklin, Jarryd Roughead and possibly Cyril Rioli, who is poised to return from a hamstring injury.

"That's a massive in," Shaw said of Rioli.

"I've played on him a fair bit. He's a very talented young man."

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