The only player considered a realistic chance of facing the Tigers is defensive recruit Kaiden Brand (ankle), with all Sydney’s other wounded big men – Callum Sinclair (knee), Sam Naismith (knee), Lance Franklin (hamstring), Michael Knoll (knee), Sam Reid (calf) and Tom McCartin (concussion) – still recovering.
“Unfortunately all of our injuries have been to our key position players and our ruckmen, which is hard to cover. That’s where we’re at, we’ve got to work through it and find some solutions,” Sydney’s head of football Charlie Gardiner said.
There is still no timeframe on a return to play for McCartin, who has now missed two games after copping a heavy hit to the head in the Swans’ loss to North Melbourne in round three.
McCartin is still reporting “mild” concussion symptoms, Gardiner said. The 20-year-old has a history of head knocks while his brother, Paddy, is sitting out this season with St Kilda after sustaining a total of eight concussions across his career.
Gardiner was confident there will be no long-term issues for McCartin.
“He’s done some very light training but has some symptoms, so we’re just taking a cautious approach with him,” he said. “I don’t know if he’s a chance for this week, we’ll have to see how he progresses, but we’re certainly not rushing that way, and won’t.
“He’s in the hands of our medial team, who do a great job, and we’ll be guided by them. He just wants to get out there and play good footy but he wants to be right and feeling 100 per cent before we do that. He’ll be fine, we’ve just got to make sure he comes back at the right time.”
Meanwhile, both the Swans and GWS Giants are planning to set up reserves games or match simulation sessions against the visiting Victorian teams, who will be based in Sydney over the coming weeks.
Hawthorn and Melbourne are moving into Coogee and Manly respectively this week, with Collingwood, Geelong, Gold Coast and Brisbane to follow.
So far this year, the Swans and Giants have had little choice but to pit their players not selected for AFL duty against one another each weekend, with the NEAFL canned and interstate travel for anything but league fixtures off the agenda. Now, at least, there is the chance for players on the fringes to take on a different opposition.
Vince is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.