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Crunch clash awaits

Zachary Gates  June 13, 2018 4:50 PM

Longmire Press Conference - 13th June, 2018 John Longmire fronts up to the media ahead of Fridays clash against West Coast.

Sydney coach John Longmire has called on the red-and-white faithful to turn out in droves on Friday night, declaring a “massive game” awaits against long-time rival the West Coast Eagles.

The third-placed Swans will collide with the ladder-leading Eagles at the SCG in a blockbuster Round 13 showdown.

The Swans staved off the Eagles in the 2005 grand final before West Coast clinched a one-point win in 2006, while the two sides played out thrilling qualifying finals in both finals series.

Dean Cox went to battle in West Coast colours in both finals series, but on Friday the 290-game Eagles great will have his shoe on the other foot.

He joined the Swans as an assistant coach ahead of the start of the 2018 season and is offering Sydney ruckman Callum Sinclair the inside word ahead of a stoush with West Coast star Nic Naitanui.

Longmire called on Swans fans to fill the SCG.

“We want a big crowd here on Friday night,” Longmire said.

“It’s one versus three on the ladder, a massive game, two teams whose form has been pretty strong and we need a big crowd to support us and get behind us. We want a red-and-white army here on Friday night.”

The Eagles haven’t lost since the Swans managed a hard-fought 29-point victory at Perth’s Optus Stadium in Round 1.

They have since carved out a 10-game winning streak and sit a win clear on top of the ladder.

While the ruck duel between Naitanui and Sinclair shapes as a salivating match-up, the Swans’ defenders are set for a huge battle with a formidable Eagles forward line.

Two-time Coleman Medallist Josh Kennedy is running equal-sixth in the race for the 2018 gong and he will likely have the attention of milestone man Heath Grundy, who on Friday will play his 250th game.

Longmire said the clash had the hallmarks of a classic.

“They’re sitting on top of the ladder for a reason,” Longmire said.

“They’re a quality team, Adam Simpson has got them playing really good footy at the moment.

“One versus three at the SCG this week, Friday night footy, it’s a great opportunity to play the best team in the competition.

“Our form’s been solid and we’re really looking forward to a big clash.”

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