Laidley sizes up Swans in Melbourne - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Laidley sizes up Swans in Melbourne

By Robert Grant 04/05/2007 05:12:37 PM Comments (0)

Kangaroos coach Dean Laidley will venture into the AFL unknown against the Swans on Saturday night.

As the rejuvenated 'Roos chase a hat-trick of wins, Laidley - in his fifth year at the helm at Arden St - will be coaching against the Swans for the first time in Melbourne.

The Swans have won the two most recent AFL matches between the two clubs - a slender seven-point victory in round 10 last year at Manuka Oval in Canberra and a 37-point win at the SCG late in 2005.

"It's a bit of foreign territory for us," Laidley said.

"We haven't played Sydney down here for a long time and I think it's the first time we've played them at Telstra Dome and certainly the first time I've coached against Sydney in Melbourne."

The Swans are third on the ladder and approach the match bolstered by a big win over injury-riddled Melbourne.

The Kangaroos are also confident after pulling off a rare victory over Geelong at Skilled Stadium.

With two wins in succession, Laidley says the Swans encounter will provide the Kangaroos with an important trial.

"I think (Tadhg) Kennelly's the only player out so they'll still have maybe 17 or 18 of their premiership side in so it's going to be very tough," Laidley said.

"It's going to be a great test to see where we are mentally and physically. It's a wonderful opportunity for us."

One of the areas in which the `Roos are sure to face a severe examination will be in the ruck, with Swans Peter Everitt and Darren Jolly meeting young giant Hamish McIntosh and Drew Petrie.

McIntosh was among the Kangaroos' best players against Geelong, not only at the ball-ups but around the ground and Laidley has noted a new approach from the 22-year-old.

"He's been very good. It all gets down to his work ethic and his maturity that way," Laidley said.

"He's always had the football talent.

"We'd like to think long-term he'll get better but he's only playing between 65 per cent and 75 per cent of the game at the moment.

"The further he goes you'd like to think he can play a little bit more but we don't want to over-burden him at this stage with too much work."

The `Roos have also included defender Jesse Smith after waiting on a long-term injury to heal.

"He hurt himself in the last practice game last year, so he hasn't had a good run at it," Laidley said.

"We think he's going to be a very good player and we've brought him in now he's played five or six games back in the VFL.

"He certainly adds some pace and some foot skills to our side because that's his strength but we expect him to play, perhaps 60 per cent of the game and work his way into it over the next few weeks."

Sydney has handed a debut to Kieren Jack, the son of rugby league legend Garry Jack.

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