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Aussie Rules

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Swans out to burn slow-starting AFL Blues

Sydney are preparing to bring the heat from the first bounce against a Carlton side striving to fix the slow AFL starts that have plagued them over recent weeks.

Much of the talk about the two clubs in recent times has centred on the head coach, but both go into Saturday's SCG clash looking to rebound from a last start loss.

The Swans still have a slim chance of making the finals, but are two wins out of the eight in 14th spot after last week's damaging loss to Essendon.

Carlton are locked in a wooden spoon battle with Gold Coast, with both sides on 12 points and the Blues ahead on percentage.

Carlton have shown signs of improvement under caretaker coach David Teague, with two wins and two narrow losses in their past four games.

They get back two prime movers from injury in inspirational captain and midfield bull Patrick Cripps and leading goalkicker and key forward Harry McKay.

"They are playing good hard united footy and we know that we're going to have to bring our best on the weekend," Swans' forward Ben Ronke told AAP.

"It comes back to bringing pressure. The tackle numbers were pretty low last week especially in the back half of the game.

'Uncontested footy was a lot higher, so just going back to bringing the heat and the pressure early..

"Maintaining that for longer than the opposition and really building from that, I think that will be the key this week."

Slow starts have been a recurring problem for Carlton..

They have trailed at the first break in 11 of their 15 games and only once in their last nine have they kicked more than two goals in the opening quarter.

"We talk about what you can control and where is our mind going at the start of games," Teague said.

"When the pressure comes, the opposition have been quite good in the contests.

"When they've come at us, where does our mind go and making sure that we're in a position to compete strongly and just stick to basics."

Former Saint Hugh Goddard will make his Carlton debut and Sydney veteran and former co-captain Kieren Jack will play his first senior game in two months.

--End of article--

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