Making a splash: Swans Ryan O'Keefe and Kieren Jack at a Bondi Beach recovery session yesterday. Photo: Lee Besford
IT MAY only be round five, but former Sydney coach Paul Roos says ''right here and now'' the Swans are clearly one of the two best teams in the AFL.
The assessment comes after Sydney stunned Hawthorn in Launceston on Sunday, leaving it and West Coast undefeated on top of the AFL ladder.
''Privately, the Swans were really happy with the game against Freo and against North, but you're always finding out about yourself along the way,'' Roos said.
''This was the game everyone wanted to watch and ironically they probably watched from a Hawthorn point of view, and in the end they turned off the TV and went: 'Bloody hell, we turned it on to watch Hawthorn but geez, Sydney are good'.''
''They were hard, they were tough, they were physical, all the attributes of a really, really good team. They had multiple players coming in and out of the midfield, their coaching is really good, and they identify weakness in other teams.''
The two sides that played the 2005 and '06 grand finals are the best in the competition at the moment, says Roos. ''When you look at them structurally they have both good key position players. The Swans have [Heath] Grundy and Teddy Richards [in defence]) and they [the Eagles] have [Darren] Glass and Will Schofield, they both have a mix of forwards that can kick goals and the midfield depths are really good.''
Roos said the club's recruiters had done a ''fantastic'' job finding kids in the draft at higher picks, but the club had thrived on rejuvenating players from other clubs, notably Kennedy, Richards, Ben McGlynn, Marty Mattner and Rhyce Shaw.
''We have never been a team to go out and get players to stockpile them, it's always been to fill a need … they are the ones who have taken the opportunity.''
Roos also hailed his successor, John Longmire. ''The thing that struck me yesterday, the young players, their development has been exceptional and full credit to 'Horse' (Longmire) and the development staff and all the coaches. It's been a terrific effort to get that group up really quickly. ''He's a terrific coach and … is starting to get recognition.''
Looking at the perfect start, Longmire said the Swans were talking about ''laying the foundation for a good season and a good game … we just need to make sure we continue to play pressure football, no matter who we play, and this week it's Adelaide.''
For that game, he is hopeful Lewis Roberts-Thomson and Nick Malceski will be available after injury.
The Crows were relieved last night with spearhead Taylor Walker - who booted six goals against Port Adelaide on Sunday - escaping a suspension for making contact during a slide against Port's Jacob Surjan on Sunday.