The Sydney Swans have begun their preparations to face Port Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday June 26 in Round 15 of the competition.
Following the bye last weekend, the players have returned to training this week, with the squad currently restricted in their movement outside of training purposes and essential needs.
Despite the changing landscape, senior coach John Longmire says the side have returned and are purely focused on the upcoming tough challenge.
“Immediately after the game, the players had four days off, that was compulsory across the board, so our players took the opportunity to get away for a few days,” Longmire said.
“But we got back together again last Thursday and trained together on the weekend in preparation for what we expect to be a pretty tough game against Port Adelaide.”
Longmire confirmed young medium forward Errol Gulden could be a chance of returning to play this week, after missing the action since Sydney’s Round 8 fixture against Melbourne with a shin stress injury.
The 18-year-old had a strong start to his AFL career, debuting in Round 1 of the 2021 season and earning a NAB Rising Star nomination for his 19 disposal and three goal display.
“Sam Reid and Lewis Melican wont [be returning this week] but Errol Gulden is a chance of returning to the team,” Longmire said.
“We will work it out this week and see how the training progresses. We have just come off the track now, for our first session of the week, but we have another one on Thursday and will make that call then.
“He has been training for a couple of weeks now and looking good so we will see how the week progresses.”
In Sydney’s Round 13 loss to Hawthorn, Will Hayward left the field early with a concussion but Longmire confirmed the forward should be ready to play.
Chad Warner however missed the clash with an ankle injury, and Longmire confirmed he wouldn’t be available once again.
The two young forwards join experienced forward Sam Reid who also remains sidelined.
“Hayward should be fine to play, Chad Warner won’t play, he is not ready to go just yet.”
“He had a stress reaction in his lower leg. It’s not too bad, nothing too serious, but nothing we should be pushing forward with at this point in time with a young player. It’s just not worth the risk so we backed him off for a couple of weeks.”
“Sam is now running and we expecting him to join training at the back end of this week which is a good sign” Longmire added about Reid.
“Fingers crossed everything goes well for Sam from here on in. he is looking pretty strong on the training track, all the rehab he has been doing and hopefully he gets some training done in the back end of this week with the group.”
“He is a very experienced player for us, is able to play that centre half forward-ruck role. We have been pleased with what Joel Amartey, Hayden McLean and Logan McDonald have been able to do. Those guys have been able to come in as young key forwards and get a taste of AFL footy at the senior level, so we have been really pleased with that group.
“We know it takes a whole squad, it’s a squad mentality that gets the season done so it’s important we get Sam back in to that mix and use his experience, which I am sure will be invaluable as the season progresses.”
Longmire confirmed that he would treat each player’s situation individually, whether they would need to be rested and managed through the back end of the season.
However he was hopeful that the injured players would be ready to return to play soon.
“It’s all case by case, it’s a bit hard to put a broad statement out and cover everything. Each player is looked upon as an individual and will be addressed as such, so whether they need rest during the week, or whether it’s game day, those decisions will be made according to advice we get from our medical staff but they are made on a case by case basis and week by week.”
“We hope to get a couple of those boys back, Chad maybe in a week or two, Errol is not far away from coming back and Braeden was running today and running really well so we are hopeful those guys start to come back in the team in the back part of the year.”