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Team defence key to Swans' stingy streak

Sydney have recorded a 36-point win over Adelaide in an AFL semi-final.
Veteran defender Heath Grundy says every player at Sydney has helped the Swans concede a league-best average of 9.6 goals this AFL season
Photo Source: AAP

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Selfless on the field and off it, you won't find Heath Grundy or any of Sydney's back six claiming credit for helping their side become the AFL's stingiest.

Many factors have led to the Swans reaching Saturday's grand final but their defence has been immense.

The minor premiers have conceded a league-best average of 9.6 goals this season.

Grundy has led the way, regularly taking the opposition's most potent forward.

"The pressure up the ground from our forwards has a massive influence on how we go, so you can't just put it down to the back six," Grundy told AAP.

"It's the midfield, forwards and defenders all working together. We've been good this year but we've got to come ready to go this weekend.

"The Western Bulldogs have got a variety of different avenues to goal and the way they use the ball is pretty hard to stop."

The speed and precision at which the Bulldogs are capable of moving the ball has gotten the better of many sides this year.

The Bulldogs lack a behemoth key forward in the mould of Taylor Walker or Tom Hawkins, who the Swans kept quiet in recent knock-out final wins over Adelaide and Geelong.

But their forward line is nonetheless potent and there will be plenty of threats that Grundy, Dane Rampe, Nick Smith and their cohort will have to manage at the MCG.

"We haven't come up against (a forward line like the Bulldogs') in the last couple of weeks. The thing with them is they're all so dangerous, whether it Jake Stringer, Tory Dickson or anyone else," Rampe said.

"They've also got a lot of mids that come forward, Marcus Bontempelli can play as a tall.

"Their versatility is key to their game and you never feel safe against them in the defensive 50m, just becasue they're constantly flicking it around."

Stringer failed to fire in the Bulldogs' epic preliminary final but Rampe, who has spent time on the star forward in the past, knows he boasts all the skills to be a match-winner on Saturday.

"He's both strong and very quick, agile ... and if he's not getting near it in the first half he can still light it up after halftime and make you pay," Rampe said.

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