Pies' Swan ups pace as AFL rivals tire - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Pies' Swan ups pace as AFL rivals tire

By Sam Lienert 31/07/2011 07:18:42 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood ball-magnet Dane Swan is relishing finding top form and fitness as late-season fatigue wears down his AFL midfield rivals.

The Magpies' best and fairest of the past three seasons amassed his season-high of 45 disposals at the MCG on Sunday, as Collingwood stormed home to thrash Essendon 25.16 (166) to 14.8 (92).

Trailing by 30 points in the second quarter, Collingwood booted 21 of the last 26 goals, after serious injuries to Essendon midfielders Brent Prismall (knee) and Travis Colyer (ankle) robbed the Bombers of running power.

The Magpies continued their season pattern of devastating late bursts, with 10 goals to one in the last quarter.

Swan's form has gathered pace, since being one of four Magpies who took a 12-day mid-season trip to train at altitude in Arizona.

Hampered by a quadriceps tear and shoulder injury, he had averaged 25 touches per game in the six matches immediately before that break, but has averaged 35 in the six games since.

He felt like he was just hitting top form.

"I'm starting to run a bit better, I'm starting to get just a feel for the game again and starting to get into the routine of playing four quarters of footy," Swan told AAP.

He said the fitness gap between himself and other midfielders could widen, with the full benefits of the altitude training still to kick in.

"It's worked wonders for me, I'm feeling good and hopefully, they say the benefits can come up to eight weeks later," Swan said.

"So hopefully they kick in later in the year. When everyone has played a full year and is a bit tired, hopefully I can stay a bit fresher and run pretty hard."

Swan said the Magpies were jumped by a "hungrier" Essendon early in Sunday's game, before Essendon's injuries and Collingwood's fitness aided their comeback.

But, having taken note of second-placed Geelong's 186-point annihilation of Melbourne at Skilled Stadium on Saturday, Swan said the top-placed Magpies could not afford to "cruise" towards finals playing in spurts.

"We've got to make sure our intensity is like Geelong showed yesterday. For four quarters they just belted them and showed that they're going to be a very hard side to beat.

"We need to keep pace."

Bombers coach James Hird said injuries hurt, but did not excuse the fade-out.

"They're stronger than we are and physically more able than we are, they're just a better football team," Hird said.

One positive for the Bombers was the performance of Paddy Ryder, who has been patchy as a ruckman-forward this season, but was good in defence on Collingwood star Travis Cloke.

Essendon were missing four tall defenders - Dustin Fletcher, Tayte Pears, Michael Hurley and Cale Hooker - with Fletcher, Hurley and Pears all some chance to return against Sydney on Saturday night.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2020 AAP

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