Swans ruck duo hitting their straps

Mike Pyke believes he and Kurt Tippett have established themselves as a genuine ruck combination in the surging Sydney AFL side.

The Swans have won their past three games and kicked their biggest scores of the season in their last two, rattling up 20 goals against both GWS and St Kilda.

Pyke has a simple explanation for why the Swans have clicked into gear after only going 3-4 in their previous seven rounds following their bye.

“The fact finals is coming,” he said.

Another factor may well be the blossoming ruck combination between Tippett and Pyke.

Tippett, who has alternated between forward and ruck, has already logged a career-high tally of 339 hitouts, almost 200 more than in any of his seven previous seasons.

He has kicked 37 goals, his most since 2012, and thrived on a greater diet of ruck work this season after managing just 93 hitouts across his first two injury and suspension affected season with the Swans.

“The last few years I have been playing the number one role, 70-80 per cent of the game there and Kurt was coming in and doing ad hoc position in the ruck,” said Pyke, who has tallied 476 hitouts this season.

“Now I’d say that we’re sharing it evenly so it really is a combination, whereas before it probably wasn’t.

“We’ve been working all year trying to get our synergy going and the last few weeks has been pretty fruitful for us.

“It’s a matter of keeping that form going and just trying to keep other clubs guessing.

Pyke has been nursing ongoing knee issue and doubts he could have made it this far without having had four games off through the second half of the season.

“It hasn’t been bothering me for the last few weeks so it’s been great,” said Pyke who has played the last three matches.

“I’ve given it some anti-inflammatory and that’s helped really settle it down and it’s pulled up better than it has all year,” added Pyke, who may still need surgery at the end of the season.

A win in their final game at home to Gold Coast on Saturday will secure at least fourth spot and possibly even a higher position depending on the other results.

Pyke conceded the Swans were most likely to have to face either Fremantle or West Coast away in the opening week of the finals.

Although teammate Adam Goodes was booed by some members of the Etihad Stadium crowd on Sunday, Pyke didn’t feel it was at the same level which prompted the veteran to take a week off earlier in the season.

“I think it’s something that’s been addressed and we just move forward from it,” Pyke said.

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