Sydney still working to hold its nerve in tight contests

Luke Parker's leadership will be critical if Sydney need to hold their nerve in a tight contest again
Luke Parker leads by example, and is critical as ever in a team pushing for finals. Picture: sydneyswans.com.au

How do you hold your nerve in a tight contest?

With Sydney Swans falling short last Saturday, co-captain Luke Parker spoke about what it will have to do to hold its nerve when the pressure is on in the future.

Parker went into detail about where Sydney stood at one point of its round 15 clash with Port Adelaide, with the Swans having to chase down a deficit after a poor third quarter that saw them kick one goal to Port’s three.

“It was probably the third quarter that let us down. Their [Port Adelaide]’s pressure rose, and our intensity dropped off,” he said.

“In that last quarter you are playing catchup, you’re using a lot of energy to get back in front, which I thought we did really well, the boys stood up, Bud [Lance Franklin] had a massive last quarter and some big chase-downs.”

In the final minutes of the game, Sydney held a slender advantage. And although it couldn’t hold its nerve, and didn’t walk away with the four points, Parker says there was much to take from the match, and lessons to put into practice going forward.

“I think it was more about feeling the flow of the game, especially in that third quarter when they were on top of periods, it’s more about swinging the momentum as quickly as possible, and not opening a window where teams are able to kick four or so goals,” he said.

“For us, it’s just about continual learning and making sure when we’re in those situations next time that we’re improved and we’re better for it.”

Parker believes Sydney can continue improving for the rest of the year, even with a team full of young bodies that may be tiring at this point of the season.

In addition to those who have been taking to the field each week, the Swans have plenty of depth players who can be called upon when required, such as Callum Sinclair and Ryan Clarke, and some experienced players who will likely return from injury in the coming weeks, such as Sam Reid.

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“We’ve got a really good squad, and we’re confident in who we’ve got out on the park. [We’ve] probably had a few unfortunate injuries, with Errol [Gulden] and Braeden [Campbell]. Errol’s back which- he played very good on the weekend,” he said.

“For us, it’s just about that consistency, we’ve played some really good games against the top teams, and we did that on the weekend. We’re really confident with where we’re at and how we’re performing, it’s about just making sure it’s a consistent performance for full games for the rest of the year.”

With all AFL clubs moved to Victoria, for the time being, Sydney will take on West Coast in Geelong, a happy hunting ground in years gone by.

Sydney has won three out of its last four at GMHBA stadium and Parker spoke about adapting to the neutral venue where it will play this Sunday.

“It’s a weird one playing West Coast down at Geelong. [But] we’ve always seemed to play really well down there, and the boys like traveling down there. It’s a different shaped ground, so I think we’ll have to just adapt to that with the training this week, bring the cones in, on the wings,” he said.

“But you can only do what you can do, it doesn’t matter where you play, who you play, it’s about how you show up, our physicality, our intensity, and that’s what’s going to win us the game.

The Sydney Vs West Coast clash kicks off at 1.10pm on Sunday at GMHBA stadium.

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About Thomas Grattan 114 Articles
Thomas is a journalist whom you'll often see writing and talking all things Aussie Rules. He also writes on a range of other sports including Netball and Basketball.

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