Swans backline to turn defence into attack

·3-min read

Sydney co-captain Dane Rampe believes the Swans have the versatility to subdue Collingwood's mix of hybrid forwards and regularly turn defence into attack in their preliminary final clash at the SCG.

Rampe has partnered with the McCartin brothers, Tom and Paddy, to control the airways in the Swans' backline this season in what looms as a pivotal weapon against the Magpies on Saturday.

With Darcy Cameron and Mason Cox likely to be the only tall forwards named for the Pies, they are set to turn to the 192cm Brody Mihocek as their focal point while the Swans' key defenders can mind a host of medium forwards.

"Despite their lack of talls they've got a number of players that play really well above their head," Rampe told reporters on Thursday.

"(Jamie) Elliott, Mihocek and (Will) Hoskin-Elliott, just to name a few, are really capable on the deck but in the air as well.

"I think their pressure is number one in the comp in terms of their forwards, so that's something we have to be mindful of and respect."

The rise and form of the McCartin brothers has allowed the 188cm Rampe to be released from minding the opposition's top key forwards as he enters the twilight of his career.

While Tom has continued to evolve as one of the competition's leading full-backs, Paddy has starred in his first AFL season in defence and is ranked No.2 for intercepting marks with 71.

"What has been great about our team, particularly the backline, is that we complement each other," Rampe said.

"The strength of our backline is probably our versatility. You've got the McCartins that can play on a key position player and then play off as that intercept marker.

"Then myself and Robbie Fox can play on either talls or smalls."

The Swans can take confidence from their 27-point victory over the Magpies at the SCG in round 22.

The Pies' in-form midfielder Jordan De Goey missed that match that snapped their 11-match winning streak due to a hip flexor injury, while forward Jack Ginnivan was subbed out with a hamstring concern just before half-time.

"I'm not going to lie, it is in the back of your mind, but at the same time Collingwood have changed, they've got De Goey back in, who is an important player for them," Rampe said.

"Just because we beat them last time doesn't give us the right to rock up here and think it's going to happen again."

Oliver Florent moved freely as he trained with the main group on Thursday and will be available for selection after rolling his ankle late in the qualifying final victory over Melbourne.

But Josh Kennedy has played his last game for the Swans after the retiring former skipper tweaked a hamstring while trying to return from the same injury in time for an unlikely grand final farewell.