Sydney coach John Longmire views Friday’s crucial clash with Geelong as a great opportunity for his AFL club and a rallying call behind milestone man and embattled co-captain Kieren Jack.
Both sides will be striving to avoid back-to-back losses, which would represent a severe setback with the top half of the ladder being so congested.
Midfielder Jack will play his 200th game on Friday, though that milestone has been somewhat overshadowed by a family feud.
Longmire said Jack was fine and would be focused on the game.
“There’s no point getting that milestone if you don’t celebrate it the right way and play a good strong brand of footy,” Longmire said on Thursday.
“That’s what it gets down to and that’s what I’m sure the players will be looking forward to.
“Taking on Geelong at Geelong for Kieren’s 200th is a great opportunity for us.”
Longmire tasted victory at Geelong in his first year as the Swans’ senior coach back in 2011 when Sydney ended the Cats’ 29-game winning streak at their fortress.
But Sydney’s last three visits have all resulted in losses of more than 30 points.
Geelong have won their last eight matches at Simonds Stadium.
“Geelong in Geelong is a great challenge, most teams find it very difficult and we look forward to that challenge,” Longmire said.
“We’ve had a victory down there before (in 2011) and it was a special one.
“But we do know that there needs to be a lot of work put in place before we get ourselves in that position.”
The Cats will be coming off the bye following a shock loss to St Kilda, but have won six out of seven matches against top-eight sides.
Sydney are looking to rebound from a narrow loss to the Western Bulldogs and have successive six-day turnarounds heading into tough assignments at Geelong and at home against Hawthorn.
“The opportunity to come off a short break this week is probably a good thing, we know we go into another one next week,” Longmire said.
“But there’s no better test than playing the best teams and we’re looking forward to that test particularly on their home ground.”
Longmire regards the Cats as much more than a Joel Selwood-Patrick Dangerfield inspired machine.
“They’ve got a very good ruck combination and they are good marking the ball really well inside their forward 50 and have an experienced backline,” Longmire said.