MICHAEL Voss is looking forward to putting his side to the test against a fast-paced and high-intensity Sydney outfit.
Coming off a five-day break into Sir Doug Nicholls Round, Voss said his side was focused on the task at hand against a team in a very similar position on the AFL ladder.
Here's what he had to say ahead of the Friday night clash.
On Oscar McDonald:
"He’s disappointed: it’s disappointing because he’ll have to manage the injury again. He started the season so well and he was a really important player to us.
"He was getting the job done, forming relationships down back as he usually does. We’ve lost him which is a bit disappointing, but we’re pretty determined to put the support around him and get the treatment he needs and get him back into rehab."
On the mid-season draft:
"It does open a spot, so now that we’ve got the information in front of us, we can have a look at what’s relevant to us.
"Whether that’s a path we take or not, we’ll just work through that now and what it looks like."
On backline personnel:
"It’s probably been an area that’s changed the most over the first half of the season, but we’ve taken a genuine squad mentality into our year and we’ve got some really strong performances out of the players who have been able to come in and play some roles.
"'Kempy' came in last week and played a great role for us and really stood up when he needed to.
"I’ve been really impressed with how they’ve just got on with it, they’re resilient, they hold each other accountable and their expectations of each other hasn’t changed. It’s been led really well: 'Weiters' is down there, and he’s led the back six or seven and he’s had really high accountability on what he expects down there.
"He’s well supported by Sam Docherty and 'Newy' down there as well and they’ve been able to embrace anyone that comes in there or any changes that have been made and they’ve still got the job done for us.
"We will have a few who return. 'Youngy' will come back this week, 'Stock' will also come back this week, so we have some reinforcements down there."
On personnel within the team:
"We haven’t given it a lot of thought internally to be honest. We’ve spent a lot of time focusing on what we have.
"What’s exciting about that is that we’ve been able to introduce some real youth and I don’t think that’s been spoken about a lot. I think it’s been lost in the narrative of who is not there, [but] we tend to focus a fair bit on who is.
"The guys who have been able to step in have played their role well, and we’ve been able to add some youth into our team as well. That’s brought some new energy and brought some real excitement into our team."
On the Sydney challenge:
"We understand the challenge that’s ahead of us. Over the last month, we’ve steadily been building what we’ve been able to achieve and reinforcing our system.
"We’ve been slowly able to implement some changes and put some depth into our game model and we’ve seen some of those changes on display.
"Like anything, when you come up against quality opposition, they’ll test it. We’re looking forward to seeing how we go against some higher speed and some higher intensity and see whether we can stand up in those big moments."
On the five-day break:
"[The players] seem pretty good. We really don’t know until we get out there but we feel pretty confident that the moment we walked off the GWS game, we were shifting our minds and bodies into what was coming up.
"You don’t have luxury in five days to rest and reflect a lot so we’re moving forward. We acknowledged the win and the significance of it for us."
On George Hewett coming up against his former side:
"I think it’ll be on his mind. I guess players like Adam [Cerra], who has played against Fremantle so far, they’ve been well supported and that’s all we really care about.
"We’re really thankful that we’ve got him, he’s been magnificent for us. He’s been extremely reliable, he’s gelled so well with our group and no doubt he’s got some relationships that he’s been able to form over a long period of time, but he’s built a strong connection with us and we’ll support him where we need to."