Sport AFL Swans downplay any advantage

Swans downplay any advantage

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Sydney have dismissed any advantage they might have from their easier passage to the AFL grand final, saying the occasion makes it irrelevant.

One of the main reasons the Swans are favourites for Saturday’s clash with Hawthorn is that they have enjoyed a much easier run through the finals.

The Swans smashed North Melbourne in their preliminary final and did not have to travel at all in September until the premiership decider.

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By contrast, Hawthorn have had one day’s less break after just surviving a brave Port Adelaide fightback last Saturday night.

Sydney have also enjoyed an unchanged team through the finals, in contrast to Hawthorn’s much-publicised changes.

“It’s a grand final – you get yourself up, no matter what,” said Swans co-captain Kieren Jack.

“(It’s) two teams, incredible will, it’s just going to be a big battle.

“An extra day’s break isn’t going to make a difference.”

Likewise, Sydney coach John Longmire said he would focus more on Hawthorn’s ability to counter-attack, rather than their inability to stop the late Port charge.

“What we saw was the ability of Hawthorn to be able to hang in there (in the first quarter),” Longmire said.

“Then they hit the scoreboard enormously and we had first-hand experience of that the last time we played the Hawks.

“Their ability to stay in the game and then counter-punch is one of their greater strengths.”

Longmire added that superstar key forward Lance Franklin, the centre of attention ahead of this grand final, was unfazed by all the fuss.

“It’s a spotlight outside the club – inside the club it’s very much about the day-to-day preparations for a grand final,” he said.

“We try to keep that the same as what we do for any round of the season.

“There are some challenges as far as different things that happen throughout the week, but inside the footy club … it’s the same as what we normally do.

“That helps – there’s been a big focus, but I’m sure he’ll be ready.”

-AAP

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