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Swans won't back down from Cats challenge

Luke Parker of the Swans is lifted by his teammates after playing his 150th game in the elimination final against Essendon.
Luke Parker of the Swans is lifted by his teammates after playing his 150th game in the elimination final against Essendon. DAVID MOIR

SWANS coach John Longmire says he is backing his midfielders to get the job done against Geelong without having to tag star Cat Patrick Dangerfield in Friday's cut-throat semi-final.

Sydney will go into the game as huge favourite at the MCG after last week's thrashing of Essendon, while the Cats were left licking their wounds following their drubbing at the hands of Richmond.

Longmire said Dangerfield and Geelong skipper Joel Selwood were always mentioned in discussions when it came to how to handle the Cats' midfield but said players such as Luke Parker and Josh Kennedy were in such good form, he backed them to get the job done.

He said assigning someone to stop Dangerfield was not always the answer on how to beat the Cats.

"His impact on games is significant," Longmire said of the reigning Brownlow Medallist.

"He's a massive competitor and when you get he and Selwood together, two huge competitors with talent, it's a pretty lethal combination.

"Those blokes are really hard to quell because they're so good in 50-50 situations, but we've got a few blokes that are okay in the contest, and go okay in the 50-50 stuff.

"We obviously talk about Dangerfield, Selwood, (Mitch) Duncan, (Sam) Menegola - their midfield is a really good group, and we have some ideas.

"It doesn't mean they'll be implemented just yet, or that they'll necessarily work."

Some pundits have written off Geelong as a flag contender following the 51-point loss to the Tigers last Friday night but Longmire is not among them.

He said after Sydney lost its qualifying final to neighbour Greater Western Sydney last year, the Swans were in the same boat but bounced back with a six-goal win over Adelaide a week later.

 

Callum Sinclair of the Swans celebrates after kicking a goal against Essendon.
Callum Sinclair of the Swans celebrates after kicking a goal against Essendon. Mark Metcalfe/AFL Media

"We tend to jump on and off teams at this time of year and especially after the first week of the finals," Longmire said.

"We were in the same situation last year, and when you lose the first final it's incredible how people on the outside jump on or off teams.

"There's a reason they finished second on the ladder, they're a very good team.

"Their contested-ball differentials, their tackle numbers, all the things that stand up in finals are very strong."

Kurt Tippett was left out last week as Longmire went for Callum Sinclair against Essendon.

It proved a good call with Sinclair's three-goal effort a standout in the 65-point thumping.

Tippett came through unscathed in the Swans' NEAFL team's grand final loss following his injury problems but Longmire looks to be leaning towards Sinclair again this week.

"He was okay without setting the world on fire," Longmire said of Tippett.

"In the end he got through the game really well with his ankle, so that was important for him and us, that he was able to pull up well from the game.

"The doubts that we had going into the game last week have certainly lessened because he got through a full game of footy."

Topics:  afl finals geelong cats sydney swans

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