Sizzling Black Ducks keep debuts coming
Brothers Nathan, left, and Connor Blakely are delighted to be playing together for Swan Districts. Picture: Ben Crabtree/WA News

Swan Districts coach Greg Harding will stick with a youth policy that has yielded five wins from six games, with two more players to make their league debuts against East Fremantle at Steel Blue Oval tomorrow.

Swans are second on the ladder and Harding is expected to call up Laurence Grescos and 21-year-old Josh Kirkup to replace brothers Graham and Brandon Jetta in the 22.

Graham and Brandon - as well as brother Aaron and cousin Rodney in the reserves - will miss matches against the Sharks to attend a family funeral.

Harding said the form of young players had been a major part of Swans' stunning start to 2014.

"At the start of the year we thought everything had to fall into line," Harding said.

"We had to be injury free and our kids had to be amazing.

"We knew we had good kids, but they had to step up really quickly in terms of their mental application. They've got talent, obviously, but to play at this level you have to have really good mental application."

Harding said brothers Connor and Nathan Blakely, Aidan Anderson, Brandon Jetta and Ricky Cary had been catalysts in the club's hot start to 2014.

"Their mental approach to the game has been something that has been really surprising," he said.

"It's never wavered, their concentration. Their application to the game and their team orientation hasn't wavered for six weeks.

"That's 24 quarters of footy from kids and that doesn't happen really often.

"They have been really special. We knew they were good but we thought they would be up and down, but they haven't been."

Connor and Nathan's father Mark Blakely played 58 games for East Perth from 1983 to 1990.

Harding singled out ruckman Nathan for special praise after his performance in the 43-point win against league leaders Subiaco last Saturday.

"Nathan has been amazing, basically rucking by himself," Harding said.

"He's playing on monsters every week. He's only 196cm or something like that and he's playing on big boys in tandem."

Harding said Blakely's effort to return after limping from the field against the Lions with what appeared to be a match-ending ankle injury in the second quarter was inspirational.

Harding said camaraderie had been a key ingredient for Swans.

"At the start of the year we were going to finish last and it was all doom and gloom," he said.

"The only thing that lifts a footy club is the performance of the boys. This 22 that have been taking the field consistently have just taken it upon themselves to lift the spirits of an entire footy club."

The West Australian

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