Sydney are eager to prove they’re worthy road warriors, but they’ll need to overcome a white-hot Fremantle on Anzac Day to achieve their goal.
The Swans won nine of their 12 games on the road last season, and their 48-point demolition of the Power in Adelaide two weeks ago sent shivers through the rest of the competition.
But toppling Fremantle in Perth has proven troublesome for the Swans over the past 15 years.
The Swans have lost five of their six matches against Fremantle at Domain Stadium since 2000, with their only triumph during that period being a nine-point win back in 2010.
Both Sydney and Fremantle enter Saturday night’s match with an unbeaten record this season, and Swans coach John Longmire admits his team need to be switched on from the outset in order to come away with the points.
“Facing Fremantle at the top of their form in Perth is a terrific challenge and one we look forward to,” Longmire said.
“If you want to be a good team, you’ve got to be able to compete against the best, either home or away. That’s what we try to do.
“Just because we did it a couple of weeks ago (against Port) doesn’t mean it automatically happens this week. It’s a new challenge against a new opposition in ripping form.”
The Dockers were at their ruthless best against the Eagles last week, scoring the first 11 goals of the game to set up a cruisy win.
Although Lance Franklin looms as a potential match-winner for the Swans, both Longmire and Dockers coach Ross Lyon predict the midfield battle will hold the key to victory.
“Fremantle’s midfield depth and quality is absolutely A-grade, right down to six, seven, eight,” Longmire said.
“They’re quality at contested ball, they’re quality at kicking goals.
“They’re as well balanced as any midfield going around.”
Swans veteran Adam Goodes will spend another week in the reserves while he builds up match fitness and form.
In his absence, 18-year-old Isaac Heeney has flourished, with the forward booting four goals in last week’s win over GWS.
Longmire doesn’t want to heap too much pressure on Heeney just yet, but he likes what he sees so far.
“We’re only three games in,” Longmire said.
“He’s still learning the game and he’s still got a lot in front of him to try and get his head around.
“I’m sure that journey of learning will continue the longer the season goes. But so far the signs are that he’s a real competitor, which is important and why he’s been able to play so early in the season.”
Fremantle recalled utility Tendai Mzungu, while All-Australian defender Nick Smith returns for the Swans after recovering from groin soreness.