The Sydney Swans have made five changes to their side to face Hawthorn at the SCG on Saturday afternoon.
Forward Sam Reid returns to the team for the first time in 2020 and will add much needed experience to a young forward line, whilst 23-year old Matt Ling will make his long-awaited debut.
James Bell, Lewis Taylor and Sam Gray round out the inclusions with George Hewett (back), Ryley Stoddart (back), Will Hayward (knee), Chad Warner (omitted) and Colin O’Riordan (omitted) out of the side .
Ling, who was pick number 14 in the 2017 draft, has been troubled by numerous toe and achillies injuries since his arrival at the Swans, but will get his chance this week.
Coach John Longmire said after some injury setbacks, Ling has finally been able to string some games together, playing consistently in Sydney’s scrimmage matches this season.
“We always thought he could play, he just couldn’t get a run of it,” Longmire said.
“It’s terrific reward for him to get his first game. He works really hard at his game and he’s a terrific competitor so it’s good to see him get his opportunity.”
Missing from the side this week and stranded on 99 AFL games is midfielder George Hewett, who joins a long list of Swans players on the sidelines. Hewett has a bulging disc in his back, which will see him out of action for six to eight weeks.
“George has had a back issue for most of this year, but it blew up during the course of the game, and he will go in for an operation next week,” Longmire said.
“He was getting back into some really good form so it’s unfortunate we have lost him for a significant amount of time.”
Will Hayward will also miss this week through injury after hyperextending his knee against the Suns.
“He (Hayward) played really well last week. He did a bit of training today, but not enough to be able to get through and play,” Longmire said.