Sydney are ready and willing to banter with human wrecking ball Shane Mumford in Saturday’s AFL derby against fast-improving Greater Western Sydney.
Ruckman Mumford’s powerful physical presence sets the tone for GWS, the club he joined in late 2013 after four seasons with the Swans, having begun his career at Geelong.
Mumford left his mark on another former teammate last weekend, ending the afternoon of Cats midfielder Mitch Duncan in a bone-jarring clash midway through the Giants’ upset 13-point victory in Canberra.
“I think everyone tries to steer clear of him, but no doubt the boys will probably try to rev him up a little bit as well,” Swans’ defender Nick Smith said on Thursday.
“He played here for a long time and (we’re) good mates with him – but come the weekend it’s fair game.”
The duel between the Swans’ ruck duo of Kurt Tippett and ex-Eagle Callum Sinclair and the Giants’ tandem of Mumford and Rory Lobb looms as a key factor in the ninth harbour city derby.
“Mummy has been playing some good footy and it’s really good to have Tippo and Sincers over from West Coast forming a really good combination,” Smith said.
“There’s no doubt there’s a big reliance on that duel going well for us, but it’s also up to the mids and it’s a whole team performance as well.”
Smith will have an old adversary of his own to worry about on Saturday in forward Steve Johnson, now in his first season with GWS following a decorated triple-premiership career at Geelong.
“Most of all he brings that extra experience to them,” Smith said.
“I’ve played on him in the past for Geelong and a little bit at Drummoyne this year.”
The Giants flogged an out-of-sorts Sydney by 34 points in the NAB Challenge game last month.
“We didn’t play well that game, what it did show is they are a fair dinkum good side,” Smith said.
“They are not just a young group with talent anymore, they’ve got some bigger bodies and they run really well.
“They’ve got a good number of mids and they defend a lot better than they have in the past.”