By CHRIS McKINLEY
WE said it last week, it will be said this week and we'll probably say it again next week.
This match could be a grand final preview.
Sawtell will be desperate to overcome the Swans tomorrow at Richardson Park to stay in the hunt for a valuable double chance position at season's end.
On the other hand, victory to the Swans will all but assure them of finishing in the top two on the ladder.
Twice now Sawtell have built up good leads against quality opposition, only to see that advantage whittled away and allow the opposition to run over the top of them.
To have any show in this game they must play more than two and a half quarters.
Is there an issue with fitness at the Saints?
Injuries throughout the year to key players like Pearson, Zeegers, Couzens and Hardy haven't helped the cause.
Also earlier in the season, coach Russ Matthews expressed his concern at the numbers that get to training but is it more a case of reigning premiers not having the 100 per cent hunger the year after climbing to the mountain top?
Recent events between Sawtell and the league have created a definite 'us against them' mentality among the Saints' playing group and they will have no shortage of motivation for this one.
Fitness is not an issue at the Swans.
Last week they even had the luxury of resting players to freshen up for this clash and Tony Waterfall, Tristan Snow and Jason Thomas will be set to fire tomorrow.
It's been five years since the Swans were in a grand final and seven since the late Peter Morgan led them to football's pinnacle.
It's said that motivation and desire in the mind is 95 per cent of football and the Swans seem that little bit more hungry at the moment.
TIP: Coffs Swans by 28 points.
This weekend's AFL matches (tips in bold):
Tonight: Fremantle v Essendon.
Saturday: Carlton v Geelong, Hawthorn v West Coast.
Saturday night: Melbourne v Brisbane Lions, Port Adelaide v Richmond.
Sunday: Sydney v Adelaide, St Kilda v Collingwood, Western Bulldogs v Kangaroos.