Swans the benchmark

THE only blight on Lismore Swans’ 2010 copybook is the touch-up Tweed Coast handed them in the second round of the Summerland AFL.

Then, the Tigers defeated the Swans by 19 points – a reality check for the traditional early-season front-runners.

Today, the feathered flyers have the chance to atone when they host the Tigers at Mortimer Oval, Lismore, in a top-of-the-table clash.

Lismore hold top spot on the SAFL ladder by percentage over Tweed Coast – the teams sharing a 5-1 win-loss record – with the Tigers’ only blemish a first-round two-point loss to Byron Magpies.

Much is riding on the game, even though it’s just a quarter of the way through the season.

It’s no secret Tweed Coast hold the Swans up as their benchmark – this season at least – and claiming Lismore’s scalp in Lismore presents a mouth-watering prospect for the visitors.

Purely on form, today’s clash promises much.

The Swans have unveiled several newcomers in strong-marking Jak Johnson, midfield maestro Reece Lavery and man-mountain Dean Webb, complementing their stable of mainstays in Simon Howard, Phil Tsourlinis and player-coach George Massa, among others.

Key to Lismore’s chances will be stopping former Queensland Under-21 representative Arnold Knight, whose work rate around the ground is second to none in the league.

Knight showed last week in the rep game against Darling Downs what damage he can do.

While happy with being rated by the Tigers, Massa is cautious.

“We’ve changed the way we play footy by being that benchmark,” he said.

“If they knock us off they know they’re a chance and by putting us up as their benchmark, then we also become the hunted.”

In other games, Byron hosts Coolangatta at Shultz Oval, Bangalow, tomorrow, and Ballina will play Nimbin today.

All games start at 2pm.

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