Emerging defender Zak Jones says Jarrad McVeigh and Ben McGlynn have been guiding lights in his recovery from post-season knee surgery.
The 20-year-old had an operation to repair an issue with his knee in the off-season – his first major operation since landing at the Swans via the 2013 National Draft.
Jones has been unable to train with the main group, being restricted to strength and conditioning work until a month ago when the gritty backman started running again.
During that time, McVeigh and McGlynn helped Jones stay mentally focused through the monotonous rehab process.
Both players have also had their workloads managed due to recovery: McVeigh is recovering from a knee operation, while McGlynn is on a tailored program to help with a calf issue.
In the often lonely world of rehab, Jones said having the veteran duo by his side has been a blessing.
“Being in the dungeon (bike/exercise room) and watching the boys train is pretty annoying," Jones told SwansTV.
“Having Benny and Macca there has been good. They've both been huge for me and have helped me out a lot.
“We’re all striving to get back and have the same goals. We’ve been able to push each other along.”
With less than four weeks before the Swans’ first NAB Challenge hit-out, Jones said any match practice will be crucial to him starting season 2016 on the right foot.
Swans medical staff estimate Jones is three weeks away from re-joining training and, hopefully, he will be available for at least one practice match.
“It’s tracking pretty well, I’m just trying to get the conditioning back in my legs right now," Jones said.
“It hasn’t been too bad … (the recovery process) has taken a little longer than what I expected, but that happens.”
Having played 15 senior matches to date, including both finals last season, Jones is expected to fill the backline spot left by the retirement of Rhyce Shaw.
“It’s an aim, but I’m not really thinking about that now,” he said of cementing his spot.
“I’m just taking it week by week. The job for me is to get that strength back in my knee and then re-join training.”