They’re sitting in the final two spots in the top eight, they’re both coming off poor defeats and they’re going head-to-head on Saturday night.
Sydney against St Kilda is an immense affair at the SCG and there’s not a hint of playing down the significance of it, from inside the Swans camp.
“It’s a massive game. There’s no hiding behind that,” said forward Will Hayward.
“It’s seventh v eighth, it’s a big game. We’re really strapping in and getting ready for it and ready for a big crowd here to get some energy going and get the job done.”
“There’s obviously a lot on the line. We’re stepping into it, we’re looking forward to it, we’re embracing it,” he continued.
The Swans will welcome back ruckman Tom Hickey to replace the suspended Peter Ladhams as they aim to recapture their best form from a stirring fortnight prior to the bye.
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Sydney stormed home to beat Richmond and then backed that up with a win over premier Melbourne at the MCG before its week off.
However, the inconsistencies that have plagued them too often this season appeared once more in last week’s loss to Port Adelaide.
A six-goal-to-one third quarter from the Power ultimately settled that contest and an inability to be at their best for the entirety of a game remains a constant issue for the Swans.
“A lot of our key areas that we usually pride ourselves on – our pressure, our contested footy, they’re things we need to do for four quarters, we fluctuated a bit last week,” Hayward added.
One of the remedies for John Longmire when that has occurred is moving skipper and star midfielder Callum Mills into defence as a loose man.
It’s a positional switch that helped turn the tide against Richmond and may be an ace up the sleeve if the Swans are under the pump in what will likely be a pressure cooker game on Saturday night.
“It’s something a lot of teams do, if a team gets a bit of momentum, you send a man back to get some control back of the game,” Hayward said.
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“The Saints do it with (Tim) Membrey a lot. When ‘Millsy’ goes back there it just allows you to take a breath and try get some control back.”
As for Hayward’s individual role, it’s been another consistent campaign for him at half-forward for the Swans, playing in every game this season and contributing with 18 goals in a position that can be a battle to stay involved across all four quarters.
“It’s a tough role but I love it. It sometimes depends on the ball movement as to how involved you are, but a lot of the time you help get your teammates off the ball, work with your winger, things like that. You might not be getting a lot of the ball every week but you still feel involved with stuff you do off the ball,” he said.
And he’ll certainly be required to do that against the Saints on Saturday night in a game that could well have a big say on the landscape of the finals come season’s end.
“They’re a great side, they’ve played great footy this year. They had a disappointing loss last week so we know they’ll be hungry to bounce back just like we are. Two hungry teams going at it.”