SYDNEY are banking on the return of an “awesome foursome” as they try to turn their season around in Saturday’s derby against GWS at the SCG.
Star players Kurt Tippett, Isaac Heeney, Jarrad McVeigh and Gary Rohan have been declared ready to go for the Swans as they try to reignite their floundering season, the first time they’ve lost their first four games in 24 years.
The challenge for coach John Longmire will be taking in too many players without match practice.
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Tippett (ankle) is the only one of the four who has played regular-season matches this year, lining up in the first two rounds against Port Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs. Heeney (glandular fever) played one JLT series match against North Melbourne in Coffs Harbour in February but McVeigh (calf) and Rohan (back) have not played at all this year.
“It’s great to have the players available,” Longmire said.
“Getting Tom Papley back last week and getting those four available, Tippett hasn’t missed a lot of football so he’s fitness wise in good shape. The others have trained the last few weeks and are training well. We’ll make the decision based on a few things including how they pull up tomorrow. Whether they all play we’re not quite sure.”
The only dampener on the injury front was the loss of talented young ruckman Sam Naismith for another three weeks with a knee injury suffered at training last week.
“It was a medial (ligament) so he’s missed one week and has three to go,” Longmire said.
“He is still in a brace which is normal and we’re hoping to get him back in a month.”
The Giants have some injury worries of their own with All-Australian defender Heath Shaw battling a sore shin after copping a knock in the win over Port Adelaide on Saturday. Steve Johnson is also struggling to shrug off knee soreness which kept him out of the match in Canberra.
“The scans (on Shaw) were all clear today,” GWS coach Leon Cameron said.
“Hopefully he can train tomorrow and because it’s a seven-day break we expect him to get up. Steve Johnson will train tomorrow hopefully he’ll put his hand up but his knee has been pretty sore for a couple of weeks.
Harry Himmelberg hurt his rib in the early game on Saturday will probably miss a week and he would have been considered for selection.”
The Giants injury list is now significantly longer than the Swans with Himmelberg joining Brett Deledio (calf, indefinite), Stephen Coniglio (ankle, 2-3 weeks), Ryan Griffen (ankle, 8-10 weeks), Will Setterfield (ankle, 8-10 weeks), Matt Buntine (knee, season) and Tendai Mzungu (hamstring, 8-10 weeks).
The Giants have never beaten the Swans at the SCG in four attempts but clearly have their best chance to break their duck on Saturday.
“We’re in it to win it,” Giants co-captain Callan Ward said.
“We’re not coming out here to lose, we’ve been ticking off a lot of firsts but haven’t won here in four games so it would be nice to get one this week.”
Originally published as Swans reinforcements arrive for derby
SOURCE: newsnow sport