By ZACHARY GATES - sydneyswans.com.au
The Sydney Swans were rapt to lock in a NEAFL Grand Final berth in Saturday’s 56-point win over the Canberra Demons, but know there’s one last challenge ahead.
The Swans will face the Southport Sharks at Fankhauser Reserve on the Gold Coast on Sunday in a fight for the 2018 flag.
A full-throttle third term put the Swans on a collision course with the Sharks, with Sydney running in seven goals to Canberra’s one to set up an 18.10 (118) to 8.14 (62) preliminary final victory at Blacktown International Sportspark.
While the Swans were thrilled to book their ticket to the Grand Final, young Sydney midfielder Jake Brown said development coaches Tadhg Kennelly and Jeremy Laidler drew their attention to the bigger task at hand.
“It felt really good to get through to the Grand Final,” Brown told SwansTV.
“All the boys were over the moon. The celebrations in the change rooms were unreal. Everyone was up and about.
“But the coaches said we’ve been playing some solid footy lately and that we’ve got to keep it going for another week.”
A total of 10 Swans hit the scoreboard in the win over the Demons.
Ruckman Darcy Cameron and speedsters Gary Rohan and James Bell collected three goals each, while forward James Rose and QBE Sydney Swans Academy youngster Sam Wicks bagged doubles.
Brown, Ryley Stoddart, Josh Stern and Hamish Ellem joined the party themselves, while key defender Jack Maibaum worked his way forward to boot his first NEAFL goal.
Brown said the wide spread of contributors was a plus.
“It’s good to see that we don’t have just one or two key forwards,” Brown said.
“Everyone’s getting involved. It was good to see Jack Maibaum kick his first goal for the club and the Academy top-ups have been unreal up forward as well. It’s really good to have a big spread of goal-kickers.”
Brown complemented his goal with 22 disposals and made an impact in the midfield and when ‘resting’ as a forward.
The 20-year-old graduated from the Swans Academy last year and has impressed in his first season as an AFL-listed player, averaging 18 touches across 16 games.
This season is Brown’s fourth in the NEAFL – he played 22 games across 2015, 2016 and 2017 as an Academy top-up – but he’s on the verge of his first NEAFL grand final.
He says the Swans are aiming to strike a balance between soaking up the excitement of the week and preparing for the game.
“We’ve got to enjoy the week. It doesn’t come around too often,” Brown said.
“But all the boys are stoked and can’t wait to get back to training again this week.”
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