Firebrand Sydney Swans young gun Tom Papley has called on the red and white faithful to flock to the SCG for what he expects to be “a really fierce battle” against Melbourne on Thursday night.
The Swans will be on the hunt for back-to-back wins as Sydney and Melbourne open Round 4, and Papley says he’d love to see as much red and white in the stands as possible.
“Thursday night footy is great. We want to see all our fans and we want them to make a big stage of it,” Papley said.
“We always love seeing our fans getting behind us at the SCG, and we’re looking forward to some great support again on Thursday.”
Melbourne is winless after the opening three rounds but is running third in the competition in most contested possessions.
Port Adelaide leads the way on 492, Geelong is running second on 488 and Melbourne rounds out the podium on 487.
From Nathan Jones to Jack Viney and from Clayton Oliver to Angus Brayshaw, the Demons boast gun midfielders aplenty at the feet of two-time All Australian ruckman Max Gawn.
Papley said Melbourne would pose a formidable challenge.
“We’re expecting a really fierce battle. Last year we had a good contest against the Demons, and although they haven’t yet won this year they’ve been in some good form stats-wise,” Papley said.
“Their midfield has Gawn, Oliver and a few other really good footballers. Their midfield is really hard to stop.
“They’re still in good form even though they haven’t won a game, so we’re expecting a tough match.”
One player Sydney coach John Longmire is likely to use to combat Melbourne’s dangerous midfield unit is speedster Zak Jones.
The 24-year-old produced arguably the best performance of his career in last week’s win over Carlton, charging to 31 touches (14 contested), seven clearances and seven inside 50s.
Papley says Jones adds a unique element to the Swans’ midfield rotation.
“His pace gives us a different look in there,” Papley said.
“He was really good last week with his hunt around the footy and the run he gives us.”