Swans to unleash stars on Tigers in NEAFL decider
Swan Mitch Morton will play in the NEAFL grand final. Photo: Ryan Pierse
Swans coach John Longmire has decided to allow a handful of players to play in Sunday's NEAFL Eastern Conference grand final in Canberra, even though some may be required for the AFL preliminary final just five days later.
Sydney's reserves meet Queanbeyan in the lower level decider and Longmire was concerned about the shortened break between the two matches.
Mitch Morton - who played strongly against Adelaide last weekend - Tommy Walsh and Tony Armstrong, who have been in the senior team in recent weeks, and players who have been close to a call-up to the top team in Jesse White and Matt Spangher, have all been given the clearance to play at Manuka Oval, but Longmire added their time on the ground would be limited.
''It was a challenge to decide what to do because of the five days,'' Longmire explained.
''We want to make sure we get a competitive hitout into our reserves and get some game time into the blokes who require game time.
''It is a grand final and the players have done a really good job to get to the grand final in the reserves, which we are really pleased with, but the facts are we play five days later in a prelim and we have to make sure [players are fit and ready to play if selected].
''That's always in the front of our minds. We'll probably play them for some of the game, but how much will depend upon what we think their preparation is like and their workload during the course of the game. But they will play.''
Longmire also confirmed he hoped his team could have a training run at ANZ Stadium early next week in preparation for Friday's preliminary final against the winner of tomorrow night's elimination semi-final between Collingwood and West Coast.
The Swans have played at ANZ three times in 2012, and while in previous seasons the team has held its final training session of the week at the venue, this year Longmire decided against it.
''We have played there a lot [in the past] and that's why really [they haven't trained there this season],'' he said.
''And it keeps our training program going here well, too, which is what we need. After training here we have lunch then have meetings and different things like that and that's why we haven't trained out there this year on a Thursday, because we've been able to do those things a lot easier back here.
''But having said that, if we can get it locked in - and we're still waiting to hear - we may head out there early in the week for a light session with some goal kicking. We have done that at different grounds this year. We did it at Geelong, we have done it in Perth, in Adelaide, so if we can do early, then we probably will go out there for a run.''
NEAFL Eastern Conference grand final: Sydney Swans Reserves v Queanbeyan Tigers, at Manuka Oval, 2.15pm.