They are no stranger to the finals stage but Swans midfielder James Rose says this year’s campaign is all about the future of the club as they prepare for an Elimination Final against Sydney University on Saturday.
The Swans’ season might be over in the AFL, but it is only starting to heat up in the NEAFL with Saturday’s all-Sydney blockbuster against the Students at GIANTS Stadium.
Rose says the whole club is excited and getting behind their NEAFL finals campaign.
“Everyone around the club is really excited for us and to see what we can do,” he told neafl.com.au.
“There has been a wide range of support for us everywhere including all of the seniors in our playing squad.”
Rose has been a part of three NEAFL Grand Final losses with the Swans over the last three years, but says that doesn’t add any extra motivation for this year’s final series as a new focus takes priority.
“This year’s finals series is just a good opportunity to grow as a player once again, and to also drive our younger group forward,” he said
“My attitude this year when playing down in our (NEAFL) side to and just really drive that young group and help them grow.”
Rose says the source of their form starts from academy players finding their feet at NEAFL level and listed players getting experience at AFL level, such as James Bell.
“The academy players have been really good for us this year,” Rose said
“Kyle McKellar and those sorts of guys that have been in our the side the whole year have really grown in their confidence and leadership at this level which has really helped with their ability as footballers.
“[James Bell’s] development over the last nine or 10 months has been crazy, to be honest, and to finish the year off playing in the seniors has been super impressive. That I really admire about him and I am really proud of him.
“He has come back to our NEAFL side with such great leadership and attitude. You tell after his time with the AFL side that he has been a lot more confident, he is our skipper for the finals series which says a lot about his character and the club think of him and his confidence has just grown ten-fold.”
Rose believes they are finding their feet at the right time of year after an inconsistent season.
Despite losing their final round match against Brisbane at home, many were impressed with the Swans ability to push the strong Lions outfit right to the end.
“I would put our inconsistency down to a lack of continuity to be honest. I think our form is coming together at the right time, given that the seniors are done for the year. A lot of the team that has spent much of the year together is really starting to gel,” Rose said.
“I think they (Brisbane) had four or five hundred games of AFL experience on the weekend against us so to come up against them with such a young group and challenge them all the way like that is was pretty impressive in my opinion.”
The Swans and Students have only had one meeting this season all the way back in Round 6 resulting in a red-and-white 22-point victory.
Rose believes it will be another tight and physical affair on Saturday.
“I think it is going to be a really contested game, it’s a strength for both of our sides it will be a battle of midfields I suppose, and who will be able to win that contested ball will be pivotal for the match,” he said.
“They (Sydney Uni) have a pretty quality side in as well, and they have a young side also, so it will make for an interesting game."
The Swans and Students lock horns at 11.30am at GIANTS Stadium, with the winner to take on Brisbane in a Preliminary Final the following week.
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