Swans midfield to aim up against Pies

Striving to regain a coveted top-four AFL position, Sydney have no intention of allowing a desperate Collingwood to waltz through them, as Geelong did last week.

A win is critical to the aspirations of both clubs, who will clash at the SCG on Friday night for the first time in 15 years.

The Swans find themselves out of the top for one of the few times in the last three seasons and will be without leading goalkicker Lance Franklin.

The 11th placed Magpies start the round six points outside the eight and a loss would effectively extinguish any faint hopes of a finals campaign.

“They are fighting for survival and we want to try and get back in the top four and put our mark on that, so it starts against Collingwood,” Swans’ senior assistant coach Stuart Dew told AAP.

“We’ve been patchy all year, so we’re hoping to string a few wins together heading into September.”

Dew made it clear Collingwood can expect a much more physical challenge from Sydney than Geelong got last week in their 32-point win at Simonds Stadium.

“Far too often last week we didn’t even get our hands on Geelong and they were able to waltz it through,” Dew said.

“Certainly when Collingwood get their hands on the ball we want them to be really aware that Sydney are out there on the oval and being the stronger of the two teams in the contested ball department.”

The Swans’ star-studded midfield has come under more scrutiny than at any time in recent memory after some lacklustre efforts.

Dew, who is also the Swans’ midfield coach, conceded some of the criticism had been warranted.

“Going on last week most of them had a down day, so I guess you can’t call it unfair,” Dew said.

“But the week before they really came to play and set the tone, so that’s the impact they can have.

“They are well aware of what’s at stake tomorrow night as a group.”

One man who still clearly rates the Swans midfield is Magpies coach Nathan Buckley, who played in the last SCG clash between the two clubs.

“They probably have the strongest and deepest midfield going around.” Buckley said.

Collingwood, who have won 11 of their past 13 matches against the Swans, snapped a six-game losing streak last week against Carlton.

“We need to win every game, we have that in the back of our minds,” Buckley said.

IT’S BEEN SO LONG SINCE SYDNEY LAST PLAYED COLLINGWOOD AT THE SCG IN 2000 THAT:

* Adam Goodes is the only present-day player from either club to have taken part in a Sydney-Collingwood game at the SCG.

* Mick Malthouse was in the first of his 12 seasons as Magpies coach.

* Sydney’s 2005 premiership hero Nick Davis would play two more seasons for the Magpies before joining the Swans.

* Paul Williams, who later went on to win two best and fairests at Sydney, was also still playing for Collingwood.

* The top three finishers on the ladder that year were Essendon, Carlton and Melbourne, all of who currently reside in the bottom five.

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
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