Harding craves respect for Swans
Harding craves respect for Swans

Swan Districts coach Greg Harding says his underrated side is yet to earn the competition's respect.

Swans travel to Lathlain Park on Sunday to face Perth, knowing a win will guarantee they move ahead of the Demons on the ladder - a scenario few would have envisaged before the start of the season.

Fifth with a 2-1 win-loss record, Swans are in the enviable position of being the only side this year yet to make a single change to its line-up.

Last year's grand finalists East Perth and West Perth have already played 33 and 28 players respectively in the first month of the season.

Harding will weigh up changes for the first time in the wake of last Saturday's battling win over South Fremantle at Steel Blue Oval and said a triumph on Sunday would make rival clubs sit up and take notice.

"We haven't been rated by anyone in the competition to date, but I don't think we've earned the respect of the competition yet," Harding said.

"That'll take consistent, really high performance and effort over a period of time.

"Whilst I've been so proud of the way the boys have attacked the first three weeks of the season, I just think (the South Fremantle win) was a step back and to gain respect we've got to go out to Lathlain, away from home against a side that boasts so many good players, and get a strong result.

"Winning games of footy is the only way you get respect."

Young midfielder Jesse Manton is banging down the door for a promotion and could be rewarded after another strong display in the reserves.

Manton, 20, had 30 disposals against the Bulldogs, a week after having 32 against Peel.

"I haven't been at any club where we've gone unchanged for three weeks and that's what we have achieved," Harding said.

"It's great, but we've got some boys coming through our reserves like Jesse Manton, Jacob Burnham, Jarrad Blight and Rudy Riddoch, and they're playing some really good footy, so they're going to provide us with a headache this week at selection."

Perth will again be without Hawthorn premiership player and key midfielder Chance Bateman because of nagging soft- tissue problems.

The West Australian

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