Sydney co-captain Kieren Jack has warned the Swans can’t afford to get sucked into the hype surrounding their AFL grand final rematch with Hawthorn.
The two sides meet at the MCG on Saturday in their first clash since the Hawks thrashed the Swans by 63 points in the 2014 season decider.
Midfielder Jack said while it would be exciting to get back to the vaunted venue for the first time since that day, he didn’t buy into the concept of a grand final replay.
“If you believe all the hype that’s surrounding it, you can get caught up in it,” Jack said at the SCG on Thursday.
“I don’t think you can afford to.
“If you get caught up in it, `it’s Hawthorn, it’s a huge match’, you lose focus.
Jack said the Swans haven’t referred to their grand final mauling during the buildup to Saturday’s game.
“What happened last year is done and dusted,” Jack said.
“We’ve dealt with the hurt and disappointment of that, but this is a new year.
“People talk about grand final replays, the reality is there isn’t.
“There are no grand final replays, They won the competition last year, they were too good.
“We’re firmly focused on this year.”
Jack said while Hawthorn would miss suspended skipper Luke Hodge, their team balance was so strong they would be able to cover his absence, especially with fellow midfielder Jordan Lewis returning after serving a two-game ban.
“You can’t really focus too much on one or two individuals, it’s a real team focus, so that’s probably their strength and why they have been so good,” Jack said.
The Swans go into the game on 5-2, one win ahead of the Hawks and buoyed by back-to-back victories over Melbourne and Geelong.”
We’ve certainly got confidence going into the game,” Jack said.
He felt the Swans midfield had more variety this year, with Tom Mitchell’s inclusion adding a new dimension.
“It’s so important to have a really strong engine-room and not rely on two or three individuals,” Jack said.
“If you are continually playing inside and playing midfield it can take its toll throughout the year.
“(Playing forward) you can just conserve a bit more energy and hopefully that will play dividends.”