Tom Papley celebrates a goal for Sydney against Geelong in R13, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

SYDNEY is on top of the AFL ladder, high on confidence and with no plans of letting an under-fire Adelaide spring an emotion-fuelled upset.

John Longmire's Swans (11-1) are eight points clear of second-placed Carlton ahead of facing the 15th-placed Crows at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday.

The current Swans team, with Isaac Heeney, Chad Warner and Errol Gulden starring, is the most confident forward Tom Papley has seen since the group that made the 2016 Grand Final.

"This year we've just got a lot of confidence as well, and we're rolling with the punches," Papley said.

"It is a confident group – we do work hard and work on our game a lot. We'll just keep rolling and hopefully keep going."

But Papley isn't considering the premiership a fait accompli.


"We don't even look at that," he said.

"The season's a long year. It's happened before – it might have happened last year or the year before where Melbourne were going really well, and they slipped away. 

"So inside the four walls, we're working very hard to keep getting better and making that gap bigger and we'll keep doing that."

Sydney wants to avoid a slow start after chasing down a six-goal deficit against Geelong.

"We can't be doing that," Papley said.

"That's something that we need to improve and we worked on during the week."

Isaac Heeney celebrates a goal during Sydney's clash against Geelong in round 13, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

Adelaide's poor run (4-1-8) has heaped pressure on coach Matthew Nicks.

"Yeah, they are (wounded) but we looked at the numbers during the week, and their numbers are pretty good, both defensively and offensively," Papley said.

"But they're just not getting those wins on the board, which is unfortunate for them.

"They've got some good players: obviously got Izak Rankine back, who I have a huge amount of respect for – gun of the competition, Jordan Dawson.

"So there's some good players, and we'll need to be on our game.

"Home crowd, Adelaide Oval. It's never easy winning over here, and they've lost a couple of games they would like to win, especially last week against Richmond. So they'll be coming out firing for sure."


Last year, Sydney beat the Crows by a point after Adelaide's Ben Keays had his would-be winner incorrectly ruled to have grazed the post. 

Sydney ultimately made the finals at Adelaide's expense.

Papley conceded Adelaide fans would "probably still be dirty" over the mistake, but he had moved on.

The antagonistic small forward isn't fazed at the prospect of drawing the ire of the locals.

"I usually cop it a lot personally anyway, over the fence," he said. "We're in Adelaide, you always cop it.

"It's good fun. Makes footy."