Buddy back for Swans but Hickey in the reserves

Lance Franklin is back to strengthen a Swans side already running on a high after successive impressive victories but ruckman Tom Hickey’s slow return from injury continues.

Franklin and running defender Harry Cunningham have been included in the team to play Port Adelaide in Adelaide on Saturday afternoon, replacing Joel Amartey and Robbie Fox.

However experienced ruckman Tom Hickey is returning through the reserves to give him some much-needed football after recovering from a toe injury.

The Swans took the same approach when Hickey came back from a knee injury earlier in the season. A standout last year during his debut season at his fourth club, Hickey has managed only five matches in 2022 because of injury and is no guarantee of being promoted for the Swans’ following match against St Kilda at the SCG.

This means that Peter Ladhams will again carry the ruck, coming up against his former side Port Adelaide for the first time since crossing to the Swans at the end of last season.

Cunningham has not played since suffering an abdominal tendon injury against Brisbane in round seven.

Franklin kicked five goals in his most recent match against Richmond, prompting a stirring come from behind victory, but was then suspended for a game.

Lance Franklin will return to action with the Swans on Saturday.Credit:Getty

Despite losing their key forward, the Swans also had a strong come from behind win against Melbourne before last weekend’s bye to keep them in the top eight.

Not surprisingly, exciting young midfielder James Rowbottom says the Swans are well-placed after their recent successes and are aiming for a top four finish. The Swans are currently seventh, a win behind fourth-placed Carlton but with a better percentage.

“Overall the vibe at the club has been very positive and there’s a lot of energy amongst the group,” Rowbottom said on Thursday.

The 21-year-old will be lining up for his fifth match at Adelaide Oval. “It’s a hostile crowd over there, but it’s a challenge we are looking forward to,” he said.

Rowbottom claimed that even without important veterans Travis Boak (Covid protocols) and Robbie Gray (knee) Port would be a handful on their home ground.

“Their midfield is really strong. They have the likes of Wine, Rozee, Butters and Drew that run through there so have plenty of depth that we will have to put a lot of work and effort into.”

The Swans have a relatively young midfield with the exception of veteran co-captain Luke Parker but Rowbottom has been encouraged by their progress.

“I think our midfield group has been building strongly together with Chad Warner, Luke Parker, Callum Mills, Justin McInerney and Errol Gulden (on the wings) and I think we have got a good balance,” Rowbottom said.

“We have all played a fair amount of footy together now so age isn’t really an excuse. The club and team trusts us to do that role each week and if we keep delivering we will keep going well together and I think we are doing alright at the moment.”

Keep up to date with the best AFL coverage in the country. Sign up for the Real Footy newsletter.

Most Viewed in Sport

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article