Swans’ young group getting better

Matt Caldow has booted 26 goals from eight appearances this season. (Ivan Kemp) 403483_08

By Justin Flynn

South Barwon coach Mark Neeld is confident his young side’s best football is yet to come.

The Swans’ barnstorming run into the Geelong Football League grand final last year on the back of nine straight wins took many by surprise.

South Barwon is in fifth place on the ladder with only percentage separating it from Colac.

“The core of our side is still quite young, so we’re confident that we’re capable of some quite good football now, our better football is down the track,” Neeld said.

“We’re also strong in the belief that we’re not talking about ladders or finals or anything like that. We didn’t do that last season either, and one of the reasons is because of the predominantly young group that we have.

“We’ve got a solid idea how we want the games to look and how we want to play. So we’ll just focus on that. We’ve had a reasonably good five or six week period. Leopold certainly got a hold of us. We’re not at the level to compete with them just yet. We’re hoping to improve to get there. The other games that we’ve had across that six-week period we’ve shown reasonable form in patches.”

Neeld said he has fielded 36 players so far in the senior team and that number would likely increase to about 40 by season’s end.

“That’s probably normal in a young group – just trying to work out where the best roles are and who can come in from our reserves side,” he said.

“There’s a lot of young kids in there that are pushing in the reserves. We’ll give them a go just to see how they go at senior level.”

A dominant third quarter resulted in a 46-point win against Geelong West on the weekend. Neeld said there weren’t wholesale changes at half time.

“We probably gave the boys a couple of reminders about Leopold the week before,” he said.

“They stopped our ball movement. They did it really well. And Geelong West at times did that. There’s a bit of an arm wrestle and we just wanted to try a couple of different things in the third quarter.”

Neeld said skipper Matt Caldow was over his hamstring injury that saw him miss a chunk of the early rounds. Despite being able to play pretty much anywhere, Caldow is proving to be a handful for opposition defenders with 26 goals from eight games.

“The last few weeks he’s been in really good form,” he said.

“He’s got a really good set of hands. The more opportunities he can be one-on-one, that’s good for us.”

ST JOSEPH’S had Colac’s measure for most of the day before running out 18-point winners with ruckman Liam Betson and Paddy De Grandi (five goals) best.

LEOPOLD midfielder Logan Wagner was best afield in his side’s 74-point win against Newtown & Chilwell. Connor Giddings booted four goals for the Lions while Luke Maddock kicked three for the Eagles.

GROVEDALE came from behind to beat North Shore by 14 points with Mitch Chafer and Tom Gillett each booting four majors while Harry Purcell kicked five for the Seagulls.

ST MARY’S shocked Bell Park with an 89-point drubbing. Sam Bourke was best on ground and Zak Sherman kicked six goals.

ST ALBANS will host Lara this weekend in a stand-alone fixture while all other sides have a bye.