West Coast coach Adam Simpson has some juggling to do with his talls to match-up with the on-fire Sydney forward line while trying to plot the downfall of a hot Swans team on Sunday at Patersons Stadium.
Not only have the Swans won 10 straight matches to emerge as AFL premiership favourites, but they have recently dominated their once fierce rivals West Coast who they clashed with in the 2005 and 2006 grand finals.
Sydney have won their past seven matches over West Coast, including four of their past five at Patersons Stadium, so the trip west to Perth for this Sunday’s clash will hold no fears.
The Swans have named an unchanged side from the one that beat Greater Western Sydney last week, while West Coast have some concerns over trying to match up on the Swans’ forward line of Lance Franklin, Kurt Tippett, Adam Goodes and Sam Reid.
With captain Darren Glass having retired and key back Mitch Brown injuring his knee in last week’s loss to Fremantle, Simpson will likely be forced to throw emerging forward Jeremy McGovern back.
McGovern is a likely match-up for Tippett, with this week’s captain Eric Mackenzie set for Franklin while the jobs on Goodes and Reid could be left for Will Schofield depending how many are on the field at once.
“He (Mackenzie) is a good chance to get Buddy but a lot of it will depend on what we do with our other tall back. Buddy’s been playing pretty high lately but still getting his five to eight shots on goal,” Simpson said.
“Whether McGovern plays forward or back is something we are looking at, but he played seven or eight games with East Perth at fullback so we know we have that option.”
West Coast will bring in Scott Lycett to take the place of McGovern in the forward line alongside Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling while enigmatic ruckman Nic Naitanui could still miss the game after a horribly quiet day against Fremantle.
Callum Sinclair could replace him in the ruck.
Simpson, though, is focused on trying to stop a Sydney side that right is playing football that appears almost unstoppable.
“You respect the opposition but you can’t fear them. They are the form team of the comp, have won 10 in a row and have good form over here. We are looking forward to the challenge and in particular our backs,” Simpson said.
“We are playing some good football, but it’s not good enough and at the moment we are looking for that elusive four quarter effort. We feel like we are building and these lapses of 15 or 20 minutes are becoming less, but they are still there.”