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Suns' midfield among AFL's best: Scott

Sam Lienert 09/06/2011 08:29:00 PM Comments (0)

North Melbourne coach Brad Scott says bottom-placed Gold Coast are outperforming his AFL club in one of the areas the Kangaroos most pride themselves on.

Ahead of Saturday night's clash at Metricon Stadium, Scott has warned his team that the ball-winning ability of the Suns' midfielders is that of an elite side, not a struggler.

Young Suns ruckman Zac Smith ranks behind only Collingwood star Darren Jolly and Sydney's Shane Mumford in hit-outs to advantage.

And the likes of superstar Gary Ablett and Suns midfield colleagues Michael Rischitelli, Jared Brennan and David Swallow are reaping the rewards.

While the Kangaroos rate themselves as a good clearance side, with 2009 best and fairest Andrew Swallow excelling in that area, Scott said statistically the Suns had their measure.

"I only highlight it because we think that's a strength of ours and clearly Andrew's in terrific form and winning the ball in tight as well as anyone in the competition at the moment," Scott said.

"He's got good support from Daniel Wells and Levi Greenwood and Jack Ziebell as well.

"But the fact is, the numbers don't lie, we're fifth in clearance wins and the Gold Coast are second, so they're shading us in that area at the moment.

"It's going to be a big challenge."

The Swallow brothers will be keys, in what will be the first time they have played against each other at any level, given the age gap between 24-year-old Andrew and 18-year-old David.

Andrew Swallow had a career-best 39 touches and two goals in North's big win over Adelaide last round.

He expects to go head-to-head with his brother at some stage, but said the only previous experience he could call on was childhood battles.

"He's five years younger than me, so every time we played in the backyard I'd just push him around and kick goals on him and do all the speccy things," he said.

Scott said the Suns, who led Geelong for a half in their first match at Metricon in round 10 and pushed West Coast hard in Perth last round, would be eyeing Saturday night as a chance to convert solid form into victory.

"I'm sure they've looked at the draw and their second game at Metricon Stadium and they'd be super-keen to get their first win on home soil," he said.

"No doubt they would have earmarked this game against us to do that."

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