Greater Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron says the club’s back six will need to be bulletproof against the Swans’ sometimes “unbeatable” forwards if they fancy extending their best-ever start to an AFL season.
A maturing Giants outfit will contest Saturday’s highly anticipated Sydney derby having won their opening two games for the first time since joining the competition in 2012.
They’ll be hell-bent on upstaging the equally undefeated Swans on their home turf in potentially the most important derby yet between the two sides.
Cameron said GWS have the goods TO repeat last season’s round-one upset of the Swans – if they can match the pressure of key forwards like Lance Franklin and Kurt Tippett.
“We feel as though our backline has gone a fair way to improving – their one-on-one contests, the ability to read the ball and help out your fellow defender,” Cameron said.
“But there’s no doubt it’s going to be a huge task, (because) they’re two really good powerful forwards.
“But not just those guys … they rely on a number of players to play their roles, so our back six, back seven are going to have to be on their game.”
Cameron described the Swans’ high-pressure style of play as “the backbone of their game” and the biggest challenge his squad will face.
“To beat the Swans you have to be very, very good … you’ve got to be good in all aspects: defence, offence and obviously contesting the ball,” he said.
“They dominate those three areas when they’re on song, and if you let them have their own way sometimes they can be unbeatable.”
Co-captain Callan Ward said a win on Saturday could set up the season for GWS.
The midfielder said his team have shown flashes of their opponents’ intensity, but struggled with consistency in their wins over St Kilda and Melbourne.
“We’ve been speaking about putting four quarters together for the last three and a half years to be honest with you,” Ward said.
“The Swans are a fit side as well, I think that’s a huge challenge for us after half-time to stay with them.
“But if we can be even within half-time or three-quarter time, hopefully we can finish well in the last quarter.”
Shane Mumford was the star against his former team in the Giants’ shock opening defeat of Sydney last season, but he’ll need back-up this time around with fellow ruckman Adam Tomlinson sidelined for 12 weeks with a toe injury.
Cameron admitted it would be a “huge task” for Mumford to deal with Sydney duo Tippett and Mike Pyke on his own, and indicated he will pick from trio Andrew Phillips, Tom Downie and Rory Lobb as a replacement.