Saturday’s clash is the calm before the storm for AFL premiership contenders Sydney but also a chance for redemption.
The Swans are fully expected to defeat Carlton at the SCG in the final round of the regular season, making it 14 wins from their past 16 games.
In theory the carrot of a top-four finish is on offer, although it is likely to be snatched away by Richmond and/or Port Adelaide.
However, the hosts won’t be lacking motivation.
The Blues will finish either 15th or 16th on the ladder but they stunned the Swans in round six, condemning them to their worst start to a season since 1993.
“Our start of the year was very poor and Carlton knocked us off, so we certainly want to get one back on them,” much-improved youngster Jake Lloyd said.
“But that was a long time ago.
“We’ve got bigger things to look forward to and it’s important we’re not going into finals playing bad footy.
“We’ve taken great confidence out of beating probably the best side in the competition (Adelaide) in front of a hostile crowd of 50,000.
“We want to finish the season on a high.”
Lloyd, who has already played nine finals in an 89-game career, added there was a sense of calm about September.
The likes of Lewis Melican and Nic Newman are preparing for their maiden finals series but they’re very much in the minority at a club that have finished outside the top eight only once in the past 14 seasons.
“A lot of other younger guys and I have played finals. We sort of know what to expect,” Lloyd said.
“We also know not to look too far ahead.”
Blues coach Brendon Bolton also took a short-term view of proceedings when asked if Saturday’s game could be veteran Dale Thomas’ swansong.
“We’ve got to sit down and have a good chat,” Bolton said.
Carlton are set to adopt the same physical approach that rattled the Swans earlier this year.
“We like to play an aggressive style of footy and we’re learning to do that,” Bolton said.
“Our young group understands this competition demands that.”