Swans embrace high stakes against Saints

Sydney forward Will Hayward says the Swans are embracing the high stakes of their AFL clash against St Kilda, with the loser likely to lose a top-eight spot.

WILL HAYWARD.
WILL HAYWARD. Picture: Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images

Sydney are embracing the high stakes surrounding their pivotal home AFL clash against St Kilda, forward Will Hayward says.

The Swans host the Saints on Saturday night in the knowledge the loser of the SCG encounter will likely be tipped out of the top eight.

Sydney hold seventh spot and St Kilda eighth - both clubs have won eight games and are separated on the ladder by just 1.8 per cent.

"It's a massive game, there's no hiding behind that," Hayward said.

"It's seventh v eighth and it's a big game, so we're really strapping in and ... hopefully we can get a big crowd here and get some energy going and get the job done.

"We're preparing for a big battle. There's obviously a lot on the line and we're looking forward to it and we're embracing it."

Further heightening the pressure, both the Swans and Saints are seeking to rebound from disappointing last-start defeats.

St Kilda went down to lowly Essendon last weekend while the Swans were beaten by Port Adelaide.

"We know they will be hungry and ready to bounce back just like we are so that is what is going to make it a good game, two hungry teams going at it," Hayward said.

Sydney's loss in Adelaide came after stirring wins against fellow finals prospects Melbourne and Richmond.

"Our pressure was elite for four quarters, our contested footy was good, our ball movement was good, we just played a four quarter game against those teams," Hayward said.

"We didn't do that last weekend so that is a focus for us, to play good four quarters, keep our pressure at a high level."

Sydney have recalled ruckman Tom Hickey for his first AFL game since injuring a toe a month ago, replacing suspended ruck Peter Ladhams.

But Hickeys' expected duel with St Kilda tap-man Paddy Ryder won't eventuate with the veteran rested.

The Saints have summoned skipper Jack Steele after missing four games because of a shoulder injury while Jack Higgins has been dropped and winger Bradley Hill will miss the game for personal reasons.

Cooper Sharman and Marcus Windhager also return to St Kilda's side.