Swans relish finals-like run to AFL finals

Rob Forsaith
Swans midfielder George Hewett is unfazed as Sydney face a stiff challenge to seal a playoff berth

Sydney aren't spooked by a finals-like run to September and Sunday's crunch clash with Melbourne at the MCG, an AFL venue they always relish playing at.

The fourth-placed Demons and eighth-placed Swans are among five teams sitting on 12 wins after 20 rounds.

Sydney then face top-eight sides GWS and Hawthorn in the final fortnight of the regular season.

The prospect of the Swans missing finals for the first time under coach John Longmire still looms large but they have form when it comes to delivering under that sort of pressure.

Sydney won their final four games of the 2017 season, ensuring they'd become the first club in VFL/AFL history to reach the finals after a 0-6 start.

"That gives us confidence," young midfielder George Hewett said on Friday.

"Last week will give us a lot of confidence, beating Collingwood.

"I can't see why we can't do the same to Melbourne.

"Melbourne are first for contested possessions and third for tackling in the league, so we're obviously going to have to match them there."

The Swans are undefeated at the home of football this year, although that sample size extends to a single victory over Hawthorn in round eight.

Sydney, like every club outside Victoria, have lobbied for more regular-season games at the venue that will host the grand final until at least 2057.

"We're pretty pumped to play at the MCG," Hewett said.

"Last time Ben Ronke kicked seven against the Hawks, that was a good night.

"Hopefully we have another good result there ... we've been playing pretty well interstate."

Hewett, who this season has enhanced his reputation as one of the AFL's best taggers, is ready to lockdown on whoever Longmire sends him to.

Brett Kirk, Dean Cox and Kieren Jack have all taught Hewett plenty about how to get the better of gun on-ballers.

"Testing yourself against good players is always good fun," the 22-year-old said.

"Brett's been really good, so has Dean.

"Kieren obviously did a bit of it early in his career. They're all full of knowledge."

Hewett backed the Swans' engine room to help curb superstar ruckman Max Gawn's influence, noting Callum Sinclair has been in career-best form this season.

"Callum has improved out of sight this year and been really important for us," he said.