Question marks over Swans big men heading into Round 1

With the first game of the season just over 10 weeks away, the Swans are already reaching deep into their player pool to field a competitive forward line come Round 1.

Lance Franklin and Dan Menzel have been ruled out of the JLT series, and are now in doubt for the opening game of the season against the Western Bulldogs.

The four-time Coleman medalist underwent groin surgery in November and is yet to join full pre-season training, while Menzel underwent a similar operation in December.

Speaking to SEN today, Swans coach John Longmire suggested that Round 1 was unlikely for Franklin and Menzel.

“Menzel and Franklin had a similar operation, they’re running, they’re not yet training, so we’re not sure whether they’ll be right for Round 1,” Longmire told SEN.

“To be honest, they’ll play when they’re ready. They won’t play the JLT Series.

“It’s one game (Round 1) and we’ve got to make sure they’re ready to go to play a full season of footy.”

After spending a considerable amount of time in rehabilitation in the last three seasons, forgotten forward Sam Reid is hoping to line up against the Dogs in the season opener.

In the absence of the Swans' goal-kicking talisman, Reid will lead an inexperienced forward line of Will Hayward (40 games), Tom McCartin (15 games) and Nick Blakey (debut).

Longmire was positive on Reid's progress from a long-term quad injury and achilles tendon surgery last season.

"Reid has been training really well, which has been fantastic," the Swans coach said.

Ruckman Sam Naismith is set to return in the second month of football, having missed the entire 2018 season with a ruptured right anterior cruciate ligament, suffered in training last March.

Longmire told SEN that the 26-year-old was progressing well after another surgery on his knee in December.

"He's going OK, he's running, he's not training yet, so he won't be available for the start of the season," Longmire said.

"He had the knee reconstruction last year and he had a minor cleanout just before Christmas and so that's helped him get through so far.

"We're not pushing him along too hard. He's a significant player for us in the ruck and missed all of last year, so we hope to get him back within that first four to six weeks."

Naismith has not played a game since the 2017 semi-final loss to Geelong at the MCG, with Callum Sinclair stepping into the No. 1 role, claiming a top-10 finish in the Bob Skilton Medal.

Listen to the interview below.

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Justin Mitchell

Justin is a passionate AFL and Sydney Swans supporter, and football blogger since 2016. All articles are of his own opinion. You can reach him by twitter and Facebook at @theswansblog

Melbourne, Australia

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