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Senior Swans return

Adam Curley  December 4, 2017 10:51 AM

Longmire press conference - December 4, 2017 John Longmire speaks with the media during preseason training at Weigall Oval.
Dane Rampe was among the best performers during the running blocks on Monday.

Dane Rampe was among the best performers during the running blocks on Monday.

Sydney's experienced players are officially back for season 2018, but most of the club's biggest names won't have much track time until the new year.

The Swans younger players have been training for the past fortnight, and while the likes of superstar forward Lance Franklin, captain Josh Kennedy, Jarrad McVeigh, Dan Hannebery, Heath Grundy and Kieren Jack clocked on for the new season on Monday, they weren't major participants.

The positive for Sydney is the fact that unlike last year when players such as McVeigh, Luke Parker, Gary Rohan and Tom Papley were all in the rehab group, ruckman Kurt Tippett is their only long term concern after his major ankle surgery post-season.

Coach John Longmire said the senior Swans would be easing themselves into training over the next month, and starting fresh early next year.

"With some of our more experienced players who have played year on year going deep into the finals, we've evolved in terms of their preparation, and need to make sure that their pre-Christmas period is really about their post-Christmas period," he said.

"It's about trying to establish a really strong foundation so it's very much an individual focus to get them absolutely cherry ripe for a January start.

"We'd expect most of the senior boys to be back in amongst it mid-January and maybe a couple towards the end of January."

Established stars Parker, Dane Rampe and Nick Smith did get plenty of work in on Monday, while Papley, Jake Lloyd, Sam Reid and Callum Sinclair were on light duties.

Longmire said the lack of older players on the track gave his core group of young leaders such as Isaac Heeney (58 games), George Hewett (48), Callum Mills (46) and Papley (40) enormous opportunities.

"There are so many senior players in that one-to-four-year group, and it's a great chance for those players to work on and develop their leadership skills," he said.

"The young players are in really good nick and the good thing about the evolution of our list is that probably nine of those are regular senior players.

"Our younger group are such key players in our team now and that was really evident last week watching them train."