Sydney Swans veteran Jude Bolton will miss this weekend’s clash with Geelong at Simonds Stadium, with young midfielder Tom Mitchell recalled to the side.
Coach John Longmire confirmed that the Bolton, who is ranked third in the Swans’ goal kicking tally with 26 goals for the season, would miss Saturday’s round 22 match after being struck down by illness this week.
“He’s been a little bit crook this week and we thought it was best to rest him rather than playing him when he’s not feeling 100 per cent,” Longmire told SwansTV about the 321-gamer.
“He’s obviously had a pretty good season for us this year and has kicked a few goals, and has brought some very good experience to the forward line, so it’s disappointing he can’t be out there.”
With Bolton out of the side, the coach welcomed the return of 20-year-old midfielder Mitchell, who has played ten games since making his debut in round ten this season.
“Tommy Mitchell comes into the team after having last weekend off,” Longmire said.
“He comes back into the team this week and hopefully really gets back to the standard he was playing before he went out of the team.”
After making his long-awaited senior return last week, Longmire said there was a strong possibility that Gary Rohan would shed the substitute’s vest in Geelong and begin in the starting 21 this Saturday.
“We’d ideally like to play him in our 21 and we’ll make the decision on game day,” he said.
“We think that some more minutes in him would be a good thing, and we know what he’s able to give us at his best, and we know the more he plays the better he’ll get.”
The Swans will travel to Geelong on Friday afternoon ahead of Saturday’s clash with the Cats at Simonds Stadium.
The Cats have lost just once in their last 42 matches at their home ground, with the one defeat coming at the hand of the Swans in 2011.
Longmire said the journey down to Geelong is one of the toughest trips in football.
“Whether it’s West Coast in Perth or you go to Adelaide or play Hawthorn in Tasmania, when you play Geelong in Geelong it’s a tough challenge for our team, but it’s one we’re looking forward too,” he said.
“We’ve enjoyed the challenge before and we were down there towards the end of last year and obviously played down there the year before as well, so we know Geelong are a great team.”
The last time the Swans met Geelong was in round four this season, where the Cats ran away with a 21-point win at the SCG.
Longmire said the Swans would need to play this weekend’s game on their terms if they are to succeed.
“We just need to make sure we put a bit more pressure on around the ball,” he said.
“We didn’t think we did enough around the ball (in round four) and in the contested ball and the tackle situation, and they were able to play the sort of football they were able to play by winning the contested ball a bit too easily and were able to get it out through broken tackles.
“It always gets back to that and making sure we’re strong minded defensively, and hopefully that strong minded defence turns into scores on the board for us this week.”
Geelong Cats v Sydney Swans
Saturday August 24, 2013