GWS set for ‘Sydney final’ v Swans: Sheedy
Greater Western Sydney coach Kevin Sheedy dubbed Saturday’s AFL derby a “Sydney final”, admitting the fixture carries extra significance for his fledgling side.
With GWS no chance of playing football in September – bar a round-23 match against North Melbourne – most assumed they would mark games against Gold Coast and Melbourne as crunch clashes.
After all, they were surely the Giants’ best chances of rare victories.
But Sheedy disagrees – Saturday night’s match at the Olympic Stadium is the one the Giants have been aiming for.
GWS have had one eye on the second-place Swans for some time – best reflected in the fact veterans Chad Cornes and Luke Power were largely spared from a last-start loss to the Demons last week.
“For us it’s sort of a Sydney final,” Sheedy said at Friday’s joint press conference with counterpart John Longmire.
“I’ll be honest – we rested Chad Cornes last week and had Lukey Power as the sub to make sure he didn’t play a hell of a lot of game time.
“Because they’re very good players for us, experienced players.”
Aside from the rivalry – which players from both sides insist is genuine rather than manufactured – Sheedy said the weekend will also be a yardstick for his side’s development since losing to the Swans by 63 points in round one.
“We played a pretty strong first game against the Swans and hopefully after a dozen games we’re a little bit wiser and more experienced.
“… I think we can measure that now (after the Giants play a team for the second time).
“Hopefully we’ll be better and obviously the Swans are primed for a top four spot … they’re on target for it.”
GWS ticked over 10,000 members on Friday and Sheedy noted it was crucial his charges perform admirably to keep fickle fans’ faith.
The derby may not be as important to the Swans, but a shock loss could prove costly in terms of their top-four hopes – to say nothing of the embarrassment.
Longmire was confident complacency wouldn’t be an issue.
“They (GWS) have got talent but also a real competitiveness,” he said.
“Our players have talked about it and know they’re going to get a real contest tomorrow, and they’re prepared for it.
“We’ve got to make sure we match that and kick on a bit harder.”© AAP 2013