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Sydney Swans could be best team ever: Mick Malthouse

Kurt Tippett, Adam Goodes, Lance Franklin and Lewis Jetta

Kurt Tippett, Adam Goodes, Lance Franklin and Lewis Jetta Photo: Getty Images

Carlton coach Mick Malthouse says the Swans' list is as strong as any he has ever seen.

Malthouse said the squad is packed with so many talented players that virtually all of those not considered in Sydney's best 22 would be in the team at many other clubs.

“Without a doubt, they have the strongest and the deepest list that I’ve seen in football,” said Malthouse, who began his career in 1972.

Mick Malthouse is keen to take on the Carlton challenge.

Mick Malthouse is keen to take on the Carlton challenge. Photo: Getty Images

“I think it’s very good recruiting. Of course [they’ve] got a financial advantage but I think you can have a financial advantage and still get it wrong. I think Sydney’s recruitment has been very astute.”

The Blues, still on a high following their 85-point thrashing of St Kilda last weekend, will meet the top of the ladder side in Sydney on Saturday. Malthouse said the game is the type of “great challenge” that coaches savour.

“It’s a massive challenge but if you don’t love challenges, you take on too much on board and you end up being depressed about it. We are looking forward to that challenge of playing the best team in the competition,” Malthouse said.

Mick Malthouse with fitness offsider David Buttifant.

Mick Malthouse with fitness offsider David Buttifant. Photo: Getty Images

Sydney are on a roll, winning their past 10 consecutive games and emerging as the team to beat in the fight for the premiership. Carlton, on the other hand, have been battered through much of season, only breaking a five-game losing streak against St Kilda.

Despite their mismatched statistics on the ladder, the Blues have beaten Sydney in three of their past five games, although their record at the SCG is poor - just one win from nine matches since 1994.

As the season heads towards its close, Carlton will finish as a certain bottom eight club. Strengthening the club’s young squad will be a focus, he said, adding that patience will be a key to the club’s future success.

“We’re patient enough to get it right. I don’t think it takes that long - some people say it takes five or six years and that’s rubbish.

“Our list is predominantly 24 years who are very good footballers. We’re not going to bring in a player we don’t think will improve us. Your side will improve very quickly if you’re prepared to get it right.”

Malthouse was tight-lipped on whether veteran star Chris Judd would hang up his boots at the end of the season, saying the decision was up to the dual Brownlow Medallist.

“[He’ll stay] if he’s up to it. If not, he’s given us five or six years of great football.”

Malthouse quickly followed that comment up with some gentle criticism about how some players don’t know when to retire.

“My advice to all players: go when there’s a little bit left,” he said.

“Don’t try and drag it out because I’ve seen too many great players unfortunately walk the boundary at the end of their career and too many people remember them as how they played their last year and that’s just so unfortunate.”

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