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Swans ready for fierce Hawks feud

Longmire Press Conference - 17 June, 2019 John Longmire addresses the media ahead of Round 14 against Hawthorn at the SCG on Friday.
We know it’s always a fierce contest and that’s what we’re looking forward to. It’ll be fantastic for our young team to play such a fierce opponent in Friday night footy.
John Longmire

Sydney Swans coach John Longmire says his team will relish the chance to face one of its most formidable rivals when Hawthorn descends on the SCG on Friday night. 

Not only have the Swans and Hawks squared off in two recent grand finals – in 2012 and 2014 – no more than two kicks have split the two clubs in their five most recent matches.

And the Swans-Hawks rivalry clearly sits high in the eyes of the footy world, with an average of more than 39,000 fans having swarmed to the SCG the last three times the clubs have met at the Moore Park venue.

“We’ve had some great clashes with them over the years,” Longmire said.

“We play them again this week, we know it’s always a fierce contest and that’s what we’re looking forward to. It’ll be fantastic for our young team to play such a fierce opponent in Friday night footy.”

Sydney’s clash with Hawthorn will cap a testing run of games for Longmire’s men, with the Swans having fronted top-four teams Collingwood and Geelong, as well as reigning premier West Coast, in the lead-up to the weekend’s bye.

The Swans struck back from consecutive defeats to Collingwood and Geelong to record a resounding 45-point victory over West Coast in their final match before the bye.

A host of young Swans headlined by Tom Papley played starring roles in the win over the Eagles, and Longmire has full faith his fresh-faced team can pose another mighty challenge against the Hawks.

“We’re really confident in our young group, we think we’ve got some really good young players and part of the journey is playing against the best teams,” Longmire said.

“Over the last three weeks we’ve played three of the best teams in Collingwood, Geelong and West Coast, and we get to face a team this week that we’ve had a great rivalry with.”

Sydney could welcome back from injury co-captain and midfield warrior Josh Kennedy, as well as Kieren Jack, Zak Jones and Will Hayward.

But veteran defender Jarrad McVeigh won’t run out against the Hawks, with the former co-captain set to miss at least the next two games due to a thigh strain sustained in the Eagles clash.