Sydney coach John Longmire is confident the minor premiers’ worst tackling performance of the year will prove an aberration, after Greater Western Sydney laid 32 more tackles than the Swans in week one of the finals, laying the platform for an upset victory in the derby.
The result means Sydney face the ignominy of a straight-sets exit for the second year in a row if the Crows can pull off a boilover.
But Longmire is upbeat his side will ramp up the pressure on Saturday night.
“It was probably our worst result for the year in regards to missed tackles,” Longmire said today.
“Normally it’s a real strength of ours … we’ve been pretty good over the course of the year.
“If we play well we’re generally tackling in big numbers but also our tackle effectiveness is really strong.
“We were disappointed … but we’re really confident we can get some pressure on the ball (against the Crows).”
The Swans lead the league in tackles this year, while hard-nosed midfielders Luke Parker and Tom Mitchell both rank in the top 10 for tackles this season.
Longmire called on every player – no matter their finals experience – to lift on the weekend.
“We’ve got a pretty strong leadership group and an experienced playing group. We’ve also got some younger players in the team as well,” he said.
“But you back their focus and performances over a long period of time.
“They’ve certainly got the know-how and track record to be able to deliver some pressure around the ball.”
Longmire confirmed Toby Nankervis would replace injured ruckman Kurt Tippett, while Jeremy Laidler looms as a likely inclusion for injured young gun Callum Mills.
Tippett, who is nursing a broken jaw, and on-baller Josh Kennedy both required concussion tests during a physical cross-town clash at ANZ Stadium last Saturday.
Longmire guaranteed Kennedy would be fit to face the Crows.
“He was fine. He trained fully on Tuesday,” he said.
Longmire was full of respect for the Crows, noting their star-studded forward line would bust the game open if given the chance.
“That’s why the midfield pressure battle is always a critical one, particularly when you’ve got an opposition forward line stacked with so many talented players,” he said.
“We need to make sure the entries they do get have a bit more pressure around them than what we applied last week.
“With the talent they’ve got in their front half, they can cause any team headaches no matter where they play.”
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