By Tyler Lewis
Casey-South Melbourne can dare to dream.
After recording their seventh win on the bounce on Saturday, the Swans secured that all-important second chance berth, inside the top four.
The Swans won the toss and opted to bat and it seemed for a moment that openers Luke Manders (54) and Ashley Chandrasinghe (63) had swapped roles, as Chandrasinghe was the one setting the pace.
Order quickly restored, however, as the pair went back to its brilliant best, adding yet another century stand.
The dismissal of Manders invited Michael Wallace to the crease, who blasted his way to 77 from just 61 balls.
Along with Kannan reaching 47, the entire top four made terrific starts in the Swans score of 5/253.
The Swannies couldn’t have asked for a better start after the break with Jackson Fry rattling through the Lions top three.
There was steady resistance from the Lions middle order, with gloveman Liam Banthorpe nudging 74 not out and Nick Fletcher crunching an entertaining 56 from just 33.
Wonder spinner Ruwantha Kellepotha did as he has all year on his way to another trio of victims, capturing 3/43 off 10 in a time where the Lions bats were searching for quick runs.
Though it never seemed the Swans would lose, the Lions made a good fist of the run pursuit, falling for 225 in the penultimate over of the day.
After the game, Will Carr encouraged his group to be proud of what they have achieved so far, but also remain hungry for what it can further accomplish.
“You still have to enjoy yourself and enjoy the success along the way, that’s part of the journey,” he said.
“But at the same time our group is not satisfied, we are pleased to be where we are, we know there is work to do.
“Come up and smell the roses, enjoy the week, embrace everything that’s coming our way but go about our business the way we have all year.”
And while it seemed the Swans have been yet to be tested in the last seven weeks, Carr revealed that isn’t the case, as he feels his side has been forced to fight at periods of recent games.
“I think the most pleasing part was we were challenged again in different parts of the game,” he said.
“And we came through as we have, particularly in the last three games.
“Frankston challenged us in different times, Northcote challenged us in different times, and Fitzroy challenged us at different times, and we were able to come through when we were challenged.
“They bowled good areas, they tested our batters patience, we had to grind at certain parts of the innings and with the bat they attacked us… some good resilience and belief in their own games and their teammates to get the job done.”
The Swans will come up against St Kilda this week at the CitiPower Centre, a perfect scene for the David v Goliath type battle the Casey-South Melbourne side are faced with.
“There is a self-belief, a strong belief within the group that we are playing well and can take on anyone,” Carr said.
“I can’t speak for St Kilda, but I’d imagine they would feel pretty good about the depth of squad, only losing one game, (having) a number of contracted players, searching for a flag since mid-2000s I think.
“I mean, we are going to take it as just another challenge for us.”
St Kilda v Casey-South Melbourne – CitiPower Centre 10:30am
Carlton v Melbourne – Princes Park 10:30am
Richmond v Geelong – Central Reserve 10:30am
Footscray v Essendon – Mervyn Hughes Oval 10:30am