Sam Taylor and Hayden McLean during the match between Greater Western Sydney and Sydney at Giants Stadium in round 21, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

SYDNEY hasn't ruled out targeting Sam Taylor in the blockbuster derby with the Giants on Saturday after the superstar defender labelled them as "smug".

While the war of words between the two sides dissipated slightly when Chad Warner and Connor Idun fronted the media at the SCG on Wednesday as a part of a bumper build-up to the clash between the two premiership contenders, Taylor could come in for some early attention.

"We'll have to see what 'Horse' (coach John Longmire) thinks, we'll go in tomorrow, and he'll have a few game plans and things to run through and that might be one, you never know," Warner said.

"He's earned his spot in the League and he's an established player. He can say what he wants.

"The Giants are a great team who have earned that right, and I can't wait to see on Saturday what happens."


Taylor's teammate Idun said the Giants always looked forward to the derby, but played down Taylor's "smug" swipe at the Swans.

"There's obviously a rivalry. We love the derbies," Idun said.

"The smug stuff, that's come from 'Slammers' (Taylor) mouth and he's not too good with his words so don’t read into that too much."

Chad Warner and Connor Idun at the SCG on May 1, 2024 ahead of the Sydney Derby. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Taylor's label for the Swans stemmed from a notion that they are overly "chirpy" on the field for a side with a young core, of which Warner is a key part.

"I wouldn't say any more (chirphy) than other teams. I think most teams in derbies and rivalries can get a bit like that," Warner said.

"It's also part of the game and it's why we love playing AFL."


Another big talking point leading into the derby has been the suggestion that the Sam Wicks personal matter at the club is still lingering following a non-celebration of his goal by teammates in the win over Hawthorn.

"It's a non-issue. The stuff on the weekend was very coincidental," Warner said.

"I had one on the weekend that didn't get celebrated and as far as I'm concerned nothing's going on with me.

"We've moved on with that and he's a valued member of the team."

A pressing issue for the Swans, however, will be the return of All-Australian captain Toby Greene from suspension and the likely inclusions of Taylor and Stephen Coniglio from injury.

"They'll train tomorrow and we'll see how they get through but I think they're feeling pretty good, they're pretty confident," Idun said.

Leek Aleer is the man tipped to make way for Taylor down back, James Peatling may be an unlucky exclusion for Coniglio while Aaron Cadman is a chance to be an omission for Greene with heavy rain forecast in Sydney all week.

Brent Daniels is almost certain to move back into the 22 after being an unused sub against Brisbane, with Xavier O’Halloran or Callan Ward contenders for the sub position.

The Swans are likely to welcome back five-time Brett Kirk Medallist Luke Parker into the side for his first game of the season, while Dane Rampe may also be welcomed back after four weeks out with a hamstring injury.


The Swans do have the disadvantage of a significantly shorter break coming into the derby, with the Giants playing their round seven game last Thursday and Sydney on Sunday.

"If you let it affect you it probably will but we get on top of our recovery as much as we can, we've got the right people in place. We've put a lot of work into that and I don't think it'll affect us at all," Warner said.

As for the raucous SCG crowd that the Giants are set to face, that's not a worry to Idun and several of his teammates who reside in the eastern suburbs.

"As a bloke that lives in Bronte, I'm pretty happy with it, just a drive down the road. It's always nice playing here it feels like a home game for us as well, it's just down the road so I'm looking forward to it, hopefully the crowd shows up," he said.

"You do bump into each other down at the beach and at the pub sometimes. It's not too hostile off the field, you've got to respect each other. We shake hands and walk the other way but as soon as you cross the white lines it's all business."