Will Hayward

Will Hayward is ready to capture an opportunity come September. Picture @sydneyswans

How exciting is a return to the finals? A spot awaits Sydney and Will Hayward following this weekend's match with Gold Coast.

How exciting is a return to the finals? A spot awaits Sydney and Will Hayward following this weekend’s match with Gold Coast.

In his five years at Sydney, Hayward has only played in one final – an elimination final defeat at the hands of cross-town rivals GWS in 2018, which he may face again next week.

Hayward spoke about the excitement he and the rest of the youngsters at the Swans have about getting into finals action following the match against Gold Coast this weekend.

“At the moment we’re locking in on Gold Coast this week, and hopefully we can build some good form going into finals, but we’re bouncing off the walls to get out there in September,” he said.

“I’ve only played in one final in my time at the club, so to be able to play finals with all the boys here under some weird circumstances is very exciting.”

Should a Sydney Derby elimination final be confirmed, it will add yet another chapter to the rivalry that has developed strongly over recent years.

“Yeah definitely [it has developed] especially over the last few years. the Giants have started becoming a really solid team. We’ve seen what they’ve been able to do, they’ve been to a grand final,” Hayward said.

“It makes it a bit more competitive; you know we want to be the best team in Sydney, and I dare say they want to be as well.

“It makes it a bit interesting, but it’s a good edge to have, and makes you want to compete that little bit more.”

The Swans and Giants did battle in the 2018 Elimination Final. (Photo: AFL)

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Before that finals berth comes the Gold Coast Suns, a side that has proven to be a real headache for Sydney in recent years.

The Suns have won three of the last four clashes between the two sides, including in round six of this season.

Hayward spoke about what Sydney will need to lock in on if it is to square the ledger for 2021 and go into the finals with a winning record.

“They [Gold Coast] are a great side, they’re hard-working, they run really hard, their contested work inside’s really good,” he said.

“We just need to bring that full intensity and full pressure all game, and really do the basics well.”

Hayward will also want to continue his strong second half of the season form, especially after a strong final term against North Melbourne that helped ensure the Swans’ victory.

His form, which has included multiple goals on nine occasions, has been important for the Swans, which Hayward in turn says has been important to him.

“I’m just really enjoying contributing, and being part of this much team success, I’m not sure, maybe early on in my career but this is probably the most wins I’ve played in,” he said.

“It’s a really good place to be at the moment, and I’m just really enjoying my footy.”

Sydney faces Gold Coast at 1:45 pm Saturday at Marvel Stadium.

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