Swans are no fans of history
Previous Magpies wins over the Swans will mean nothing tonight. Picture: Sam Ruttyn The Daily Telegraph
IT doesn’t matter how many times each coach says it, people tend not to believe that the past 11 wins by the Magpies will have no bearing on the outcome tonight.
Coaches genuinely never look at the past, whether you’ve beaten teams convincingly, lost by great margins or had an even rivalry. Every game is different.
The only game either coach will even bother to look at is the round 20 clash. Both coaches will scout this game
to see what they did well and what they didn’t do well, and that is what tonight will be all about.
Last week the Pies played by far their best defensive game for the season. Their accountability, tackle pressure and defensive transition was at a season high.
This the Swans coaching panel would have looked at closely. The Pies still don’t look as slick with their ball movement but their stars are certainly in good form.
The Swans have recorded just 89 backwards kicks this season, the fewest of any side, and in fact 48 fewer than the next team.
Their game plan is effective and simple. They will get it in long and quick at every opportunity.
I believe both coaches will opt to have a defender drop off in front of the key forwards. Marty Mattner did an outstanding job against the Crows and will generally play that role tonight.
The Pies’ best at doing the same thing is Ben Reid and John Longmire and the Swans coaches will look to occupy Reid by playing a reasonably tall forward line.
They would hope to drag Reid to the last line of defence and stop his intercept marking ability.
The stoppages will be brutal with both sides having quality, tough, relentless midfielders.
It is hard to see too many easy possessions and in round 20 there were 131 stoppages, the equal most recorded in any game this season.
The Swans certainly have an ability to kick a high score. However, it is still their defensive mindset that makes them such a good team.
The Swans allowed their opposition to score over 90 points on five occasions this season and lost each of those games.
Jolly comes off a game where he singlehandedly cleaned up the two All-Australian ruckman last week. Having seen Jolls closely for many years in an outstanding career for the Swans, I believe he has continued to improve as the Pies’ ruckman. Both Shane Mumford and Mike Pyke would have spent hours watching tapes of Jolly this week and must work out a way to dominate the Collingwood veteran. This ruck duel could determine the outcome of the game.
The Pies finally looked 100 per cent committed to the contest last week after an up-and-down season with injuries and form. If the 2010 Premiers drop off at all from last week’s fanatical approach, they will not win tonight. We saw Geelong as hot favourites two weeks ago against the Dockers and completely underestimate their Freo opponents. Which Collingwood team will turn up tonight?
The Swans must continue with what has made them great in 2012. They have the talent, game style and coaching expertise to defeat the Magpies tonight. They should not feel the need to change anything and individuals should not feel they have to suddenly go outside coaching instructions. Tonight, for the Swans, is playing your role with the team and if every player has that belief and carries his role out to the letter, Longmire will be a very content coach when the final siren goes.