Sydney midfield star Josh Kennedy says the Swans have a game plan suited to AFL finals football, but believes his former club Hawthorn are still the team to beat.
Minor premiers Hawthorn and Sydney are each enjoying a week off and looking ahead to a home preliminary final after winning last weekend.
The Hawks won 13 of their past 14 games, with their only loss coming against Geelong, who were eliminated by Fremantle last weekend.
Sydney loom as one of the Hawks’ biggest potential stumbling blocks, beating them by 37 points in Tasmania and losing by seven in the penultimate round at the SCG after leading by 38 in the second quarter.
Asked if the Hawks were the team to beat, Kennedy, who played 13 games for Hawthorn in 2008-09, said: “I think their form of recent weeks would suggest so.
“They are looking very good…. but we’ll just concentrate on what we can control.”
Sydney restricted Adelaide to a season-low 42 points last Saturday and ball magnet Kennedy, who tallied 35 touches, thrived in the finals cauldron.
“I love the rawness of it (finals), the matches are stripped back and it’s just basically a lot of one-on-one contests,” Kennedy said.
“It’s very very basic. It’s a game of inches and that’s what I really love about it.
“I think it suits me and I think it suits our game plan and our game style that we want to play.
He said Sydney were enjoying the opportunity to freshen up after being battered and bruised during a tough month.
Kennedy wasn’t concerned Sydney managed only 37 inside 50s against the Crows and said the result proved their game plan stood up in finals.
Sydney’s leading possession-getter and seventh in the competition overall, Kennedy has made the All-Australian short-list and is considered a serious Brownlow Medal contender.
“Personally, I think I’m pretty happy with the season, obviously not finished yet, and I guess hopefully in three weeks, I’ll be able to reflect on the season on a personal level,” Kennedy said.
“But right now it’s a huge opportunity, an exciting time amongst the footy club and I’m looking forward to a prelim final.”
Asked what had lifted him to another level this season Kennedy said: “I think it’s just time in the system, confidence, obviously a number of pre-seasons under the belt.”
He said former Hawthorn teammate and current Swans colleague Ben McGlynn was upbeat about his recovery from a hamstring strain he suffered last weekend.
“He’s very confident he can get back if not in two weeks, hopefully if we can put a good game in the prelim, maybe for the granny,” Kennedy said.