Old teammates Mike Pyke and Shane Mumford are primed for a game-shaping ruck duel in the Sydney AFL derby at the SCG on Saturday.
Former allies Shane Mumford and Mike Pyke are primed for a classic ruck duel, as both Sydney AFL teams strive to keep their winning streaks going.
The red-hot Swans have won nine in a row heading into Saturday’s SCG clash, while the Giants are coming off their first set of back-to-back victories.
The Giants caused one of the biggest shocks in AFL history with their opening-round win over Sydney at Spotless Stadium.
“We can take confidence out of that, but at the same time they’ve changed enormously,” Giants co-captain Callan Ward said.
“Their forward line is working really well together, Their midfield is playing really good footy as well, so it’s a whole new ball game.”
Swans’ co-captain Jarrad McVeigh said both teams were playing a lot better now.
Sydney loom as a genuine litmus test of the Giants’ improvement after wins over fellow stragglers Brisbane and Carlton.
Mumford, who joined the Giants after several seasons as a Swan, including their 2012 premiership-winning campaign, averages a league-leading 43 hitouts a game.
“He’s a bit toey,” Ward said of Mumford’s frame of mind prior to facing his old club.
“He’s pretty pumped for tomorrow night, as we all are.
“He knows these guys inside out. He’s helped us all week at the meetings.”
McVeigh said Pyke hadn’t been talking about the impending matchup with Mumford, which he described it as a huge task for the Canadian.
“‘We’ve been winding him up all week,” McVeigh said.
“I think Mummy got the better of him in round one.
“I know Pykey is ready for this. He really wants to get one back and he’ll be fired up to try and give us first use.”
While Sydney have hit a rich vein of form after losing three of their first four games, McVeigh stressed they had slipped a little recently.
“Our last two weeks haven’t been that great, but we’ve still been able to win, so I think that’s important,” McVeigh said.
“We want to get back to that really good form that we were in.
“We know what’s required, we know how to do that and we’re expecting to do it.”
Both teams have added some significant firepower to their lineup heading into the sixth Sydney derby.
Sydney have regained the services of tall forward Kurt Tippett and influential midfield-forward Ben McGlynn, while All-Australian forward Jeremy Cameron returns to the Giants side.