Swans coach labels Essendon game critical - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Swans coach labels Essendon game critical

By Adrian Warren 01/08/2011 06:55:47 PM Comments (0)

Sydney coach John Longmire has labelled Saturday's clash with smarting Essendon as critical to his side's prospects of securing an AFL finals berth.

The Etihad Stadium encounter brings together sixth-placed Sydney and Essendon, who are three places and four points behind the Swans, having played one game more.

"If you look at the ladder, where we sit and where Essendon sit, it's important for both clubs, so it's crucial for us," Longmire told reporters on Monday.

"I don't necessarily think a win is going to seal our spot in the eight, but it certainly goes a long way to helping that."

While Essendon are coming off successive 74-point floggings to top-four heavyweights Carlton and Collingwood, Longmire was wary of a Bombers outfit that started well in both games.

"We looked at the game on the weekend and whilst the result in the end was a bit of a blowout, no team this year has kicked eight goals against Collingwood in a quarter of footy," Longmire said.

"We saw what they did against Carlton in the first half the week before as well, so we need to make sure that we've used the bye in a positive sense and allowed our players to freshen up and worked on some things that we need to and then focus in on the Bombers this week.

"It's just critical for our season this week, this game, and that's what we're worried about."

Sydney retained their spot on the ladder despite their bye.

"We were fortunate that we didn't lose any ground. We stayed in sixth spot, so the good thing about our position now is our destiny is in our own hands which is all you can want at this time of the year," Longmire said.

With Sydney a whopping ten points behind fifth-placed West Coast, sixth and a home game in the first week of the finals would appear their best possible finish.

"We're not looking that far ahead. The reality is we haven't won enough games to make the finals as we sit and that's all we're concerned about," Longmire said.

He said a number of Sydney players, including Gary Rohan, Brett Meredith, Andrejs Everitt, Jed Lamb and possibly Mike Pyke, are expected to return from injury this weekend.

"They are unlikely to be up for senior selection, because they've missed a number of weeks now, so they will probably come back into our reserves," Longmire said.

"We still think that there's a few players there that can come in and put some pressure on.

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