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Swans to maintain defensive edge

Adrian Warren, AAP  February 6, 2018 3:50 PM

Smith press conference - February 6, 2018 Nick Smith speaks with the media on lakeside oval ahead of an all abilities clinic, a program apart of the 2018 community camps.
Nick Smith looks to get the handball away against his Geelong opponents.

Nick Smith looks to get the handball away against his Geelong opponents.

Sydney defender Nick Smith says the Swans want to retain their mantle of being the AFL's stingiest team but will work to improve their scoring output.

Despite losing their first six games of 2017, Sydney conceded fewer points than any other team in the home-and-away campaign but were the only fifth-highest scoring side.

"There's no doubt we want to be the No.1 defensively again. We need to get better on the offensive side. We'll work on that," Smith said.

"But we still want to maintain our edge on the defensive side."

Asked how Sydney could improve their offence, Smith said: "I think it's up to all the guys to get involved on the way out and use the ball when our mids get back to help out."

Sydney need to have more players kicking more goals to support Lance Franklin.

The mercurial forward kicked 73 goals last season, which was 43 more than Sam Reid and Tom Papley, the only other Swans to kick more than 22 majors.

It was a similar story in 2016 when Franklin finished 52 goals clear of his closest teammate.

Franklin is back training after undergoing knee and ankle surgery in the off-season.

"He's fine, he's back into it, he's looking really good," Smith said.

One of the AFL's most reliable small defenders, Smith needs just nine more games to bring up 200 appearances.

"Training has changed a lot. I remember the sessions we did when I first got here were tiny compared to the sessions we do now, especially in pre-season," Smith said.

Based on training track form, Smith anticipated a big season from third-year back-line colleague Callum Mills.

"He's improved every year so far and he's been out on the track a lot," Smith said.

"A few of the younger guys - Will Hayward, Ollie Florent, who have got a taste of senior footy - I expect them to be better this year."

Smith wasn't sure if the defence could hold on to 2016 Rising Star winner Mills much longer.

"I think the mids want to poach him," Smith quipped.

"I'm not sure what the coaches are planning with that but I've got no doubt in the future Millsy will be in the midfield at some stage."