Lance Franklin
Lance Franklin

Hawthorn star Lance Franklin has been declared a certain starter against Sydney if he continues to train strongly, while Cyril Rioli will miss the top-of-the-ladder clash and Sam Mitchell is yet to prove his fitness.

Franklin had missed five weeks with a hamstring injury before he was named to take on Gold Coast at the MCG on Sunday.

Illness forced the two-time Coleman Medallist's late withdrawal and general manager of football operations Mark Evans said Franklin would play against the Swans at the SCG on Saturday - barring any more last-minute problems.

"He's feeling a lot better," Evans said on Wednesday.

"The headache is gone. He had a light training session on Monday just to blow the cobwebs out.

"He participated fully in training yesterday, he's had a few tests to clear him of any major illness that would prevent him from playing, and he's feeling fine.

"If he can continue across that way for the rest of this week, he plays."

While he has been ruled out of the Swans clash, Rioli also has work to do if he is to be fit for the Round 23 meeting with West Coast at the MCG.

The exciting small forward suffered deep bone bruising after a collision in the victory over Port Adelaide in Launceston and is tipped to miss the final two matches of the home-and-away season.

"We gave Cyril a couple of days out of the program late last week," Evans said.

"He's rejoined the program, running around a lot freer in the shoulder.

"(But) he'll still need to work on that shoulder strength and mobility over the next week."

Mitchell (calf) was a late withdrawal on Sunday and will be given time to prove his fitness.

"That's been a little bit slower, but ran around at the start of this week," Evans said.

"Let's see how they progress by the end of the week."

Defender Josh Gibson is expected to return from his ankle injury.


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