AFL ladder leaders Sydney won’t be doing Richmond any favours by resting star players for their final-round clash next Sunday.
While Richmond have leapt back into the top eight with Sunday’s win over St Kilda – their eighth victory in a row – Sydney have posted 16 victories in their past 17 matches and could hardly be in better shape.
The Swans burst out of the blocks in Sunday’s round-22 clash with the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium, kicking seven goals to the home side’s one in the opening term.
Sydney’s 20.10 (130) to 9.13 (67) victory included six goals from Coleman Medal leader Lance Franklin and four from fellow big forward Kurt Tippett.
The Swans had the luxury of subbing out Tippett at three-quarter time.
Sydney coach John Longmire says injured quartet Josh Kennedy, Craig Bird, Ben McGlynn and Sam Reid, who was a late withdrawal on Sunday with a hip complaint, are all pushing for selection this week.
The Swans will host Richmond at ANZ Stadium on Saturday and despite being a win and almost seven per cent clear in top spot, there’ll be no resting going on against the Tigers.
“To be able to jump out of the blocks and have that seven-goal first quarter and reduce their scoring impact was critical,” Longmire said.
“The longer the game went, we were able to make a few decisions which a good start allows you to do.
“We had four blokes back in Sydney who missed today.
“They’re all a chance. Reid and Kennedy would be huge chances.
“We’ll play our players who are fit and ready to go. I don’t think there’s many teams who rest players.”
Longmire said his stars such as onballer Kennedy were desperate to play.
“They want to keep going and continue to be in good touch and good form,” Longmire said.
“That’s the other consideration to take into it as well.”
Luke Parker and Jarrad McVeigh were two of the headline acts in Sydney’s dominant midfield, and All-Australian half-back contender Nick Malceski kicked two goals in another fine performance.
Tom Liberatore, Jack Macrae and Nathan Hrovat were prominent for the under-siege Bulldogs, who have lost four of their past five games.
The 14th-placed Bulldogs face the 16th-placed Giants at Etihad Stadium next Sunday.
Coach Brendan McCartney says 15-minute lapses continue to cost his side.
“We’ve been beaten up a bit by three really strong clubs in the last month, all going into a pretty optimistic finals campaign, Hawthorn (62 points), Sydney and North Melbourne (50),” McCartney said.
The coach says the Bulldogs are determined to give 264-game veteran Daniel Giansiracusa an appropriate send-off.
McCartney has guaranteed the 32-year-old he won’t have to suffer the embarrassment of starting his final game on the bench as the sub.