Evergreen Sydney Swans defender Jarrad McVeigh will return for his first match in five weeks as the red and white squares off with the Southport Sharks on Saturday.
The former Sydney co-captain hasn’t made an appearance since the Swans trumped the West Coast Eagles in Round 13, but he will mount a comeback at Blacktown International Sportspark after recovering from a hamstring strain.
Sydney development coach Jeremy Laidler said McVeigh would be eased back into the rigours of a game.
“He’ll be on restricted minutes,” Laidler told SwansTV.
“It’ll just be about getting some footy under his belt and enjoying the game. I don’t want to put too much pressure on him; I just want him to get through the game.
“The young boys will relish having him out on the field and they’ll be able to learn from his experience.”
Fellow Sydney defender Jackson Thurlow is set to bounce back from a one-match stint on the sideline due to injury, while Swans utility Robbie Fox will return to the NEAFL after travelling as an emergency player for the senior team.
Explosive small forward James Rose has featured in the last four games at the top level but will also return to the NEAFL on Saturday, while QBE Sydney Swans Academy stars Sam Thorne and Luke Parks round out the remainder of the side’s returning personnel.
Third-placed Sydney will face a Southport side running second on the ladder with nine wins and three losses beside its name.
Laidler said his charges were set for a fierce test.
“We know we’re going to have to be on our game and it’s going to be a really strong, contested game,” Laidler said.
“We know the way they play and the way they run and the way they use their good ball-users in Matt Shaw, Michael Manteit and Tyler Roos. We’re really excited for the challenge.”
Who: Sydney Swans v Southport Sharks
Where: Blacktown International Sportspark
When: Saturday, 10am
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Sydney Swans team:
B: 56. C Flanagan 51. R Barkley 6. J Thurlow
HB: 3. J McVeigh 41. H McLean 33. R Stoddart
C: 32. J Bell 42. R Fox 27. J McInerney
HF: 16. Z Foot 47. T Pink 49. C Hirst
F: 2. D Menzel 46. J Amartey 1. J Rose
R: 48. M Knoll 45. S Wicks 4. R Clarke
Int: 55. J Barling 53. K McKellar 58. L Parks 50. S Thorne