Sydney co-captain Kieren Jack is expecting a fit and fired-up Essendon on Saturday in what he reckons will be an emotional round-one AFL clash.
Having fielded a makeshift team during the pre-season, the Bombers will be back to full strength at ANZ Stadium after 34 current and past players were cleared of doping charges.
Jack said the anti-doping tribunal’s landmark decision was a great result for the players after two years of turmoil.
“I certainly think they’re going to be fired up,” the Swans star said on Thursday.
“It probably will be emotional early for them – they’re going to be red hot.
“A lot of them haven’t played a lot of game-time as such in the NAB Challenge, but they’ve been training hard so they’ll probably be fit and ready to prove a point.”
Whether their lack of match fitness would favour the Swans, Jack was unsure.
“I’ve seen players have no pre-season games and no training come in and play really well round one before,” he said.
“So it’s a bit of an unknown.
“Certainly you’d like to play against some competition and some NAB games, that’s my personal view, but I’ve seen it work.”
While the All-Australian midfielder felt empathy for his rivals off-field, “when that ball’s bounced, I’m not going to go any easier just because of what they’ve been through.
“We’re going to compete and go out there to win.”