Lance Franklin’s finger surgery and Tom Papley’s ongoing absence mean Sydney’s young forwards face a stern AFL test against West Coast.
Swans coach John Longmire confirmed on Monday that Franklin will need an operation and could miss three weeks after he fractured a finger on his left hand in the win over North Melbourne.
Papley is yet to play this season because of a serious hamstring injury and is likely to be out of action for another couple of weeks.
While forwards Logan McDonald and Joel Amartey impressed in the VFL and will push for senior recalls, a huge test awaits them at Perth’s Optus Stadium on Good Friday.
Eagles key defender Jeremy McGovern was best afield on Saturday in their stunning upset win over Collingwood, while fellow backman Tom Barrass also made a successful return.
Their intercept marking thwarted the Magpies, who lost despite easily winning the inside 50 count, 61-42.
“We feel like we have some options there,” Longmire said of Sydney’s attack.
“That’s our challenge for our young forwards, isn’t it.
“We’ll have a young forward group this week … against a really experienced, quality defensive group.
“McGovern was fantastic on the weekend.”
Longmire said Papley had not suffered any setback in his return, but the hamstring injury was so serious that they always thought it would take about six weeks.
“He has been training now for a few weeks, but only at 80 per cent pace, so he hasn’t gone to that next level, which we expect him to do this week and next week,” he said.
“There haven’t been any setbacks, it’s just been conservative in regards to getting him back to full-speed running.
“We feel like he’s going along well. He’s clearly a critical player for us, so it would be great to get him back, but it certainly won’t be this week.”
Key defender Paddy McCartin, who has a well-publicised history of concussions, left the field after a collision in the North win.
But Longmire said he suffered no ill effects.
“He’s all good, all fine,” Longmire said.