Swans' season on the line


Sydney Swans' work through a hand-passing drill at SCG in preparation for their clash with Fremantle. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Sydney Swans' work through a hand-passing drill at SCG in preparation for their clash with Fremantle. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Under pressure and under the pump, Sydney recognise they can't carry any passengers for Saturday's SCG clash with Fremantle.

A 1-3 record represents their worst start to an AFL season since they began their 2005 premiership-winning campaign the same way.

Dual premiership winner Ryan O'Keefe and Gary Rohan have been dropped, with Craig Bird and Brandon Jack recalled and young midfielder Jake Lloyd named for his first game.

Coach John Longmire wants 14th-placed Sydney to follow Fremantle's example of rebounding from a 58-point loss to Hawthorn with a 53-point rout of Essendon last week.

That will be no easy task against the fifth-placed Dockers who, outside the loss to the Hawks, have blitzed their other three opponents by an average margin of 57 points.

"Everyone had their say and we just came to the reality that we haven't had the greatest start and we do know what's needed to bounce back," Sydney defender Jeremy Laidler said on Friday.

"The challenge has been put on everyone and it's going to be a great challenge.

"There's a little bit of pressure but we're just taking it as another week.

"We put a few blokes under pressure during the week. We know that we're not all playing the way we want to.

"As long as we play as a team and there's 22 contributors, it will go a good way towards winning the game."

Fremantle are anticipating a fired-up Sydney, who have lost three games in the rain at home this season, though the forecast for Saturday's twilight match is quite good.

"The heat has been on them and a proud club like Sydney will respond, we know that," Fremantle midfielder Tendai Mzungu said on Friday.

"It's up to us to come out prepared and we can't be surprised with the start. They are going to come out red-hot.

"It's going to be game on and a really intense battle."

Fremantle have two big inclusions in Chris Mayne and Nat Fyfe, the latter having tallied nine Brownlow votes from his four SCG appearances, but will be without small forward Michael Walters, their leading goalkicker from last year, who is injured.

"It's been a strength of ours that the next one [who] comes in does their job for the team and we hope that whoever comes in will do that this weekend," Mzungu said.

He expects a closer game than their last meeting in a 2013 preliminary final when the Swans were blown away in the first half on their way to a 25-point loss. AAP


Discuss "Swans' season on the line"

Please note: All comments made or shown here are bound by the Online Discussion Terms & Conditions.