AFL 2021 LIVE updates: Swans top-four chances on the brink as Hawks fly out to lead

Was that your best performance of the year so far, it looked like it was.

We had an opportunity over the mid- season bye to have a bit of a reset and do some soul-searching to be fair.

And perhaps the fact that we were able to do that, get a rest, set ourselves up for a restart and try to find something out of the second half of the year.

The intensity from the get-go was strong. And it was pretty free-flowing. There were seven goals scored in the first 15 or 18 minutes. It was pretty open early on.

We played some really strong footy. Really pleased and proud tonight.

Swans big man Joel Amartey grapples with Hawks ruckman Jon Ceglar in the ruck. Credit:Getty Images

Was contested possession the key focus? I think you ended up +25 tonight. Was that a key focus this week?

Every time you play winning contested football is really important. Particular against the Sydney side on their home patch. They have been such a proud club in that space for a long period of time.

We have such regard for the likes of Josh Kennedy and Luke Parker and these guys were been so pivotal for a long time through the middle of the ground.

For us to compete, we brought in the first game in young Jai Newcombe and I think he had 14 or 15 tackles.

We got first in for tackles and possessions because that was the intensity we needed to play and we are so pleased that he made his debut in this game appeared to perform so well.

It took a little bit of pressure off the other midfielders for us who have carried the load for the club now we have another one in there who can do that.

Unfortunately, Shiels could not stay in there, he had to go to the wing once Morrison went off in the second quarter.

We are really pleased with Jai Newcombe’s game and the strength of our players in the contest.

There was a bit in the commentary about the boxing gloves coming out of training. Was that right? Did you want them to toughen up?

The boxing is part of the program every week. And we have been involved in 10 games this year or 12 games this year and the players have done some boxing every week.

That was just an unfortunate incident and we were doing some sparring on Monday, Mitch Lewis zigged when he should have zagged and got a knock to his head. Hopefully, he will be OK to play next week.

You made it clear yesterday that Jai Newcombe was very much ready for AFL, with that in mind, did he exceed your expectations?

It is so tough to know whether they can step up to the senior level, whether they will be able to cope with the rigours of the game and the speed of the game.

He has been outstanding at Box Hill in the first six games of the year he played.

He is just such a grounded kid. He is a country lad. He just loves his football and he loves his teammates and we just thought he was ready.

Jackson Callow is not too far away either. He has a great strong body and really impressed with what he has been able to do. Hopefully, he will get an opportunity soon. And what we have to lose, really? Our first half of the year was disappointing and we need to find some pieces. And we hope we found two in the mid-season draft.

It is only his first game of course. His contribution tonight was really important for our side.

Jonathon Ceglar had a great battle with Hickey in the ruck. Is that the sort of performance you have been looking for him to deliver as he tries to fight his way back into the side?

Unfortunately, Ned Reeves hurt his ankle at training yesterday, a slight roll of the ankle. And he was not quite ready to go and we test that this morning.

Ceglar had an opportunity and I thought he was really strong. Hickey has been pivotal to Sydney’s first half of the season. In terms of their clearances and first use of the football. Hickey has provided that a lot. And he has got a lot of clearances himself. Ceglar was able to turn the tables on that tonight. I think he had over 10 clearances himself and that was really important to the way we played.

He was really strong in the contest for us. For as long as he plays like that, he will continue to play on the side. We need pressure on for spots. And he has been a little unfortunate, Ceglar, he had lower leg injuries this year which didn’t allow him to have the continuity that we needed him to have.

Tonight’s performance and contribution to the side were really strong. I thought he had the better of that and it helped us win the game.

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