Confidence grows as Swans eye finals run

Sydney defender Nick Blakey is confident the Swans can attack the AFL flag no matter where they finish in the league table.

The Swans entered the final round of the season at home and away in second place in the standings.

But such is the closeness of the competition that they can finish fifth if they lose to St Kilda at Marvel Stadium on Sunday and other results go against them.

A six-game winning streak has turned Sydney into a true contender for the flag and optimism within the team is growing about what they can achieve in September.

“I don’t think we’re surprised where we are,” Blakey said.

“Earlier this year we were pretty optimistic about what we could do. We were pretty confident in our game plan.

“We enter the game expecting to win, and that won’t change if we finish second or where we finish. We expect to win, that’s for sure. “

The Swans match against St Kilda is the last of the round which means they will have the advantage of knowing what is needed to keep second place.

Blakey said the group of players will focus on their performance rather than the math of what is needed.

“If you enter the games expecting to win and get a percentage increase, you will probably have one right between your eyes. It won’t be too good for you, “she said.

St Kilda will use the game to say goodbye to two players.

Dan Hannebery, who played 208 games for the Swans before adding another 17 in four injury-plagued seasons for St Kilda, announced his retirement after being informed he will not be given a contract extension.

Little striker Dean Kent, who started his career at the Demons before spending the last four years at St Kilda, will also use the game as his farewell, albeit as a substitute.

The Saints started their season with an 8-3 record, but have only won three of their last 10 games since then to come out of the finals contention.

St Kilda announced this week that they will be launching a post-season overhaul of their football operations, with former North Melbourne manager David Noble assisting.

Coach Brett Ratten’s future shouldn’t be jeopardized by the review.

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