Sydney are adamant they won’t take lowly Fremantle lightly as they try to move a step closer to completing one of the greatest comebacks in Australian sporting history.
The Swans Have won 11 of their past 13 games to move closer to becoming the first AFL-VFL side to secure a finals berth after a 0-6 start.
They still need to win all three remaining games to have any chance of a top-four spot.
Sandwiched between home matches against stragglers Fremantle and Carlton is a daunting away assignment against ladder leaders Adelaide.
Fremantle have shown improvement over the past two weeks despite their modest 8-11 record and 14th position on the ladder.
A narrow away loss to finals-bound Greater Western Sydney was followed by a 23-point home win over Gold Coast.
“We’re definitely not taking them lightly,” Swans’ back Nic Newman told AAP on Friday.
“They’ve played some really good footy the last couple of weeks, we know what they are capable of and we’ll have to be on our game.
“Some of their outside run, the Hill brothers, can be really damaging and they’ve got a really strong midfield group in (Nat) Fyfe and (Lachie) Neale and (David) Mundy.
“I think it’s going to be a really good midfield battle on the small SCG.”
Numbers suggest Sydney should prevail in that area, as they are fifth in the competition for contested possessions to Fremantle’s 17th.
The Swans will be without captain Josh Kennedy for the second-straight week.
Sydney spearhead Lance Franklin will look for more scoreboard impact after kicking just one goal in each of Sydney’s past two games.
He could come up against key back Joel Hamling, who kept him to a single goal when playing on him for the Western Bulldogs in last year’s grand final.
But Fremantle coach Ross Lyon, whose club are 3-5 in interstate games this season, wouldn’t confirm Hamling would definitely get the job on Franklin.
“It doesn’t matter who plays on Buddy Franklin. You need good pressure around the ball, otherwise he’s pretty hard to stop,” Lyon said.
“It (Saturday’s game) is a real measure to see where we’re at.
“Their (Sydney’s) mindset is going to be really strong building into a finals campaign, so it’s a really big challenge.”