Parker: Swans yet to hit peak form
LUKE Parker has a warning for the rest of the AFL - the Swans are winning but are yet to hit their straps.
They handed out a 71-point belting to St Kilda at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night but with just one win this year the Saints aren't a measuring stick for the business end of the season. West Coast is.
Parker and Sydney will need to be at their very best when they take on the ladder-leading Eagles at the SCG this Friday night.
The heavyweight clash echoes their great rivalry which peaked in 2005 and 2006 when the teams split premierships amid a staggering six-game run (including four finals) in which every match was decided by less than a goal.
The Swans inflicted the Eagles' only defeat this year when Lance Franklin booted eight in the first AFL match at Optus Stadium.
Parker noted West Coast has improved since then and the Eagles will provide the perfect test as the Swans head to a mid-season break the following round.
"You want to test yourselves against the best," Parker said.
"At the moment they are the team playing the best and their ladder position shows it. We've strung a few together, so it's a great time to play a team that's well up the ladder and playing some really good football.
"It will be a great challenge and hopefully a good win will lead us into the bye with confidence and set us up for the back half of the season."
Sitting at 9-3 the Swans might be wondering why they aren't in the premiership conversation.
Defending premier Richmond is clear favourite to go back to back. Melbourne is on a six-game winning surge and West Coast is sitting clear on top of the ladder on a 10-game winning streak.
Parker isn't fussed by the premiership chatter and agrees with John Longmire that the Swans are a work in progress.
"Our brand of footy hasn't been there at times during the game and at the moment it's been enough," Parker said.
"We want to keep that going and take it to another level playing a full four quarters. The good thing is we are confident we can go to another level and we are winning games without being at our best. That is why we will need to set ourselves for four quarters.
While the Swans aren't being talked about as real threat to the flag just yet, that situation could change over the next month.
After the bye they face Richmond at Etihad Stadium, Geelong at the SCG and North Melbourne at Etihad in what will be a defining month for the red and whites.
"We are confident," Parker said.
"We've beaten some really good sides in the Eagles, the Giants, the Cats and the Hawks. Three of those were away from home and they are really hard to beat. At times we haven't played four quarters but we're not far away."