Sydney and Adelaide, the two AFL clubs embroiled in off-field trauma in July, meet at the start of August in a match critical to their September aspirations.
If any club can empathise with Sydney over the maelstrom generated by the persistent crowd vilification of Adam Goodes it’s surely Saturday’s opponents the Crows, who were the focus of attention in the first half of the month following the slaying of coach Phil Walsh.
Adelaide lost their first match under interim coach Scott Camporeale, but have won their last two to be seventh on the ladder.
Stumbling Sydney have crashed to successive 80 and 52 point floggings by fellow top four denizens Hawthorn and West Coast respectively.
While the shadow of Goodes will loom large over Saturday’s SCG game despite his indefinite leave of absence, the Swans recognise they must kickstart their stalled campaign by beating Adelaide and believe its the best way to show support for their struggling colleague.
“Obviously we’re concerned for Goodesy first and foremost, but we need to win a game of footy, so that’s what we’re focusing on,” Swans’ co-captain Jarrad McVeigh told AAP.
“It’s a huge game for both teams.
“In terms of top four calculations, we need to win this week.
“We need to get back into some form and we’re confident we can do that.”
Sydney will miss Goodes and injured first-choice ruckman Mike Pyke, but regain four stars.
Fullback Ted Richards is back following suspension and returning from injury are Lance Franklin, Kurt Tippett and Ben McGlynn who have kicked 1154 senior goals between them.
It will be the first time Tippett has played against Adelaide since he left the club at the end of the 2012 season.
“He’s obviously missed every other time we’ve played. but I’m not sure the boys are actually too worried about whether Tippo plays or not,” Camporeale said.
Adelaide, who get back key defender Daniel Talia, haven’t beaten any of the teams above them and Camporeale acknowledged a win over Sydney would do wonders for their confidence.
“It’s a great opportunity for our players…we’ve got to earn the right to play later in the year, so this is another step forward,” he said.
The Swans kicked only seven goals in each of their beatings by Hawthorn and Fremantle, but also conceded over 100 points in those games, the only times this season they have allowed opposing teams to kick a three-figure score.
The booing furore over Goodes has taken attention away from Sydney’s form slump – and may have contributed to it – but McVeigh stressed internally they had subjected themselves to plenty of scrutiny.
“We review ourselves as hard as anyone, so we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to perform and we haven’t done that,” McVeigh said.
“The way we’ve been moving the footy and our skill work hasn’t been up to scratch, so that’s one of the main things we’ve been working on.”