Mixed injury news for Swans forwards, Menzel debut delayed

At today's press conference, Sydney Swans senior coach John Longmire updated the waiting press thong with mixed news on the fitness of his key forwards.

Despite trailing by 40-points early in the third quarter, goals to Isaac Heeney, Sam Reid, Nick Blakey, Ryan Clarke and Lance Franklin brought the Swans within four points.

After the match, Longmire lamented the work rate and competitiveness of his midfield group, who were soundly beaten by the Bulldogs midfielders, and failed to provide enough entries for the Swans' forwards.

Even with Franklin playing limited minutes and his touch not quite at his lofty standards, he set up a goal in the fourth quarter and registered five score involvements.

With hopes before the season that Dan Menzel, Lance Franklin and Sam Reid would form a triple goal kicking threat, Swans senior coach John Longmire dashed it in one fell swoop, ruling Daniel Menzel out for another month.

Menzel was always fighting to be fit before the season started, missing the pre-season JLT Community Series after groin surgery in December.

Expected to make his debut for the Swans by Round 4, the former Geelong forward - who averages two goals per game since he made his return from ACL surgery - tweaked his groin at training last week.

The ex-Cat had increased his training intensity over the last two weeks, and had been looking to close in on a return to senior football.

It's a blow for the Swans, who recruited the Geelong finisher to add potency to their forward line, that had struggled to fire in recent seasons.

He will return to training in two weeks time, and will look to make his NEAFL debut several weeks later, with a view to play for the Swans by Round 8.

Swans coach John Longmire said that it was a disappointing result for Dan Menzel and his partnership with Lance Franklin.

"We knew that when they had their operations last year that if we got them back in the first month of the season, that'd be a real bonus," he said.

"We thought 'Menz' was on track to be playing week five even though he had the operation late, so he was ahead of schedule before his tweak last week, and Lance is definitely ahead of where we thought he'd be.

"We can't afford to have too many in that boat of coming in after doing limited amounts of training, so that’s something we'll discuss with Dan when he's closer to playing."

The news for Franklin is better than expected, having pulled up well after his 1-goal, 7 disposal game on Saturday night.

Playing just 79 percent of game time - his lowest since Round 8, 2018, he managed two disposals for the first three quarters.

The 32-year-old threatened to win the game for the Swans in the last quarter with 1 goal from 5 disposals, but Longmire doesn't expect Franklin's impact to change against Adelaide on Friday night, if his teammates don't improve their delivery and intensity.

"We were well beaten in the midfield and between the arcs we were really poor, at both winning the ball and in transition," he said.

"We just didn't use the ball well and weren't able to win those scrambles for the ball.

"The main element was getting our hands on the footy and everything flows off that, your ball movement gets better and it doesn't give you opportunities going forward when you're getting beaten so badly in ground balls.

"It also puts more pressure on your defenders, which is what we saw."

Former captain Kieran Jack, Ben Ronke and Tom McCartin played in the Swans' NEAFL practice match against the Canberra Demons on Saturday afternoon.

Kieran Jack (knee) was instrumental in the Swans' 52-point win, improving his chances of selection against the Adelaide Crows on Friday night.

Tom McCartin (concussion) made a significant step forward towards selection, while Ben Ronke (knee) could push for selection after kicking two goals.

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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 https://theswansblog.com

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