Cats still a forward force: Ted Richards
Plenty believe Geelong aren’t the AFL team they once were, but Sydney fullback Ted Richards isn’t one of them.
A series of AFL pundits – including Tim Watson, Mick Malthouse, Kevin Bartlett and Robert Walls – have questioned the Cats’ premiership credentials as they bid for a fourth flag in six years.
The Cats are a foreign seventh on the ladder, while the side’s contested-ball worries have been well documented.
Many attribute the drop down the ladder to the absence of retirees Cameron Ling and Brad Ottens, the latter’s contested marks during stints up forward being key.
Richards expressed disbelief over the notion the Cats’ forward line was more unconvincing with Ottens no longer there.
“That’s definitely not (a weakness),” Richards said on Monday ahead of the Swans’ testing Friday night SCG clash with Geelong.
“They’ve got talls and smalls – and the x-factor Stevie Johnson.
“These guys are premiership players.
“Myself, Heath Grundy and Alex Johnson will be siting down with (defence coach) Johnny Blakey and doing our homework.
“(Tom Hawkins and James Podsiadly) are fantastic contested markers. Which is something that’s really hard to stop.
“We can’t be giving them marks inside 50 and easy shots on goal.
“We know what Geelong are capable of and I’m not too worried about what they’ve done in the early parts of the season.”
Richards knows the exploits of Podsiadly from when the pair were in the VFL, noting he’s played on him for “about 12 years now”.
Sydney also boast the rare advantage of winning their most recent game against the Cats.
The Swans snapped the Cats’ run of 29 straight wins in Geelong last year with a 13-point upset.
“They’re such a quality team and last year we really struggled to beat the top-four teams,” Richards said.
“It was something that we really set ourselves for, and we did get a bit of confidence out of it.
“Having said that, I’m sure they’ll want to make amends.”
Swans co-captain Adam Goodes is slated to return after a six-week layoff due to a quadriceps tear.
Goodes completed a full training session on Monday without issue and will have another hit-out on Wednesday at the side’s final training session.© AAP 2013