Sydney Swans coach John Longmire says curbing the influence of Geelong captain Joel Selwood will be a crucial factor for his side in this weekend’s clash at Simonds Stadium.
Selwood was at his brilliant the last time the two clubs met in round four this season at the SCG, with the talented Cats’ leader notching up 31 possessions and two goals in Geelong’s 21-point win.
Speaking ahead of the Swans’ final training session of the week, Longmire said Selwood was without a doubt one of the Cats’ most dangerous players.
“He got us here (at the SCG) last time and he’s added the goal kicking ability to his game even more so now,” he said.
“He’s not only a brilliant contested ball player but he’s a brilliant leader and a player that does things when the team needs him and now he’s also added the ability to kick goals.”
The coach identified Swans midfielder Dan Hannebery as a likely candidate to battle Selwood this week, with Kieren Jack, who leads Selwood by two votes in the AFL Coaches Association Champion Player of the Year Award, also an option to take on the red-hot Cat.
“That’s the challenge for our midfielders. He played really well against us last time and we need to try to reduce his influence this week,” he said.
“It’s a chance (for Kieren Jack), but it’s also a chance for Daniel Hannebery whose able to play those roles.”
Following Geelong’s dominant 66-point win over West Coast last round, Longmire said his team would also need to keep track of the Cats’ small forwards Mathew Stokes, Allen Christensen and Steven Motlop who combined for five goals up forward last week.
The coach said Swans co-captain Jarrad McVeigh and defender Rhyce Shaw were likely to be among those rotated against the Cats’ pacey forwards.
“We’ve got some flexibility to be able to do some things with those players,” Longmire said.
“We thought Rhyce played really well last week and Macca as well, but they can still do some things that we may need to do against a team that has added some real speed.
“Geelong have got some speed through their midfield and their high half-forwards are electric, and we need to be aware of those.”
The Swans will be injecting some of their own pace into this Saturday’s match, with Longmire confirming that Gary Rohan would be considered for the Swans in the starting 21.
“We’d like to get some more game time in to him this week if we could,” Longmire said.
“We’re certainly considering playing him in the 21, which will give him the opportunity to play more minutes.
“We thought the introduction last week of 30 minutes of football against St Kilda was a really good start for him.
“He’s got some particular qualities that we really enjoy.
“Obviously his pace and his tackle and his chasing ability is critical.”