Essendon coach Ben Rutten still charges Sydney as one of many AFL’s greatest contested beasts regardless of the Swans’ inconsistencies on the coalface this 12 months.
Sydney (5-3) have misplaced consecutive video games on the SCG to slide to sixth on the ladder, with the workforce’s poor first quarters one among their largest considerations.
The Swans have received simply two of their eight first quarters this 12 months, with a type of coming in opposition to hapless West Coast.
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Sydney are ranked seventeenth for contested possession differential throughout their first quarters this 12 months and ninth total for contested possessions within the league this season.
The Swans have constructed a fame for being the most effective contested-ball groups throughout coach John Longmire’s 12-year reign, and Rutten feels the aura still stays.
“That’s a hallmark of their game,” Rutten stated forward of Saturday night time’s conflict on the SCG.
“I think their attack and ball movement over the last couple of years is what’s shifted in their game. They’re really aggressive from the back half, from turnovers in particular.
“That is a menace that is possibly taken the (exterior) consideration off the competition. However it actually underpins their video games.”
The 16th-placed Bombers (2-6) welcome back Jordan Ridley, Jake Kelly, Sam Durham and Matt Guelfi after they were late withdrawals through illness last week.
Devon Smith, who was a late inclusion in the 27-point win over Hawthorn despite battling a knee injury, has been ruled out with illness while Brandon Zerk-Thatcher (injured) is also unavailable.
Swans ruckman Tom Hickey will return from a knee injury while Sam Wicks and James Bell were also included.
Hickey’s return for his first game since round three is a vital boost for the Swans.
The 31-year-old will partner former Port Adelaide big man Peter Ladhams in a powerful ruck combination.
“Hickey provides us that flexibility to play ruck and play ahead, in addition to Peter Ladhams,” Longmire stated.
“The 2 of them are doing a little bit of a twin position this week.”
The past five matches between Essendon and Sydney have been decided by 10 points or less, with three of those going the way of the Swans.
Essendon gained a confidence boost last week following their eight-goal final-quarter blitz against Hawthorn, and they’ll be aiming to celebrate captain Dyson Heppell’s 200-game milestone in style.
It will also be Heppell’s 30th birthday.
“Dyson’s means to get round guys irrespective of in case you’re the boot-studder or the perfect participant within the workforce; that is what makes him a actually sturdy contributor for the membership and he is such a liked participant,” Rutten stated.