Player carousel hampers Swans ahead of Magpies clash
MAGPIES will get a chance to claim their first big scalp when they play host to 2019 grand finalists the Eastern Swans tomorrow.
The Swans are coming off back-to-back wins to open their 2020 campaign, but have yet to find the form which took them to the big dance last season.
Meanwhile Magpies moved to 1-1 on the season with a solid away win over Bakers Creek last weekend, following their narrow loss to reigning premiers North Mackay in round one.
The stage has been set for a blockbuster meeting between two sides expected to contend for the flag - and Swans boss Graham Adams knows his team is in for fight.
"Pretty big game, isn't it," Adams said.
"I haven't seen them (Magpies) play but from what I've been told they've definitely improved, and that's evidenced by their results. They'll be very hard to beat."
The Swans trailed at halftime against Whitsunday at the weekend, before clicking into gear and running out 29-point victors.
Magpies also found themselves behind at the main break against Bakers Creek, down two points, but marched away in the second half en route to a 31-point win.
Adams said the Swans were still finding their feet in season 2020, not helped by unavailability and injury.
He said reigning AFL Mackay best and fairest winner Darcy Mealy was still "a few weeks away". But the Swans will welcome the silky-skilled Chris Enders into the midfield rotation for the Magpies clash.
"He's a real class act," Adams said of Enders.
"He didn't play last week but he'll be in for Saturday. He's a taller midfielder - and he's pretty silky."
Enders' inclusion bolsters a midfield that includes returning Swans junior Matt Oakford, who was one of the standouts against Whitsunday at the weekend.
Mealy's inclusion next month will make for a potent contingent of ball magnets.
"We'll definitely be better by the end (of the season) that's for sure," Adams said.
"At the moment we're still battling for a few troops and we're also a little underdone."
Adams added the Swans would be light on talls this weekend, meaning Magpies could find an easier avenue to goal through their key position players.
Whatever the outcome, it promises to be an enthralling encounter between two teams ready to stamp their mark on the competition.
AFL Mackay - Allied Pickfords Cup Round 3
(3pm) - Mackay City Hawks v Bakers Creek Tigers at Harrup Park
(3.40pm) - Mackay Magpies v Eastern Swans at Magpies Sporting Club
(3.40pm) - North Mackay Saints v Whitsunday Sea Eagles at Zeolla Park