The Sydney Swans have dismissed concerns around Justin McInerney's fitness for the AFL grand final after the young speedster joined Sam Reid on the sidelines during an open training session at the SCG on Tuesday.
The Swans said McInerney is not in doubt for Saturday's decider at the MCG, with foot soreness apparently keeping the 22-year-old off the training track.
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However Reid remains a significant worry after injuring an adductor muscle in Saturday night's thrilling one-point preliminary final win against Collingwood.
But the Swans are yet to make a call on the veteran ruck-forward, who is a central key to their game structure.
Reid also didn't take part in Tuesday's training session, while talismanic forward Lance Franklin had a lighter session than his teammates.
Reid had a scan on Monday and the Swans will give him every chance to prove his fitness for the grand final.
Sydney will start underdogs against Geelong on Saturday at the MCG, and if Reid does not come up or is unable to play at full capacity, it will be a major blow to their chances.
“If you’re Buddy Franklin you take that (injury) in, but I don’t think Sam Reid plays,” Jon Ralph said on Fox Footy on Monday night.
McInerney provided one of the season's highlights and sent the capacity SCG crowd into a frenzy with his preliminary final intercept.
He picked off Darcy Moore's pass across the Sydney 50m arc to fellow Collingwood defender Jeremy Howe, and waltzed in to kick a goal that put the Swans 35 points ahead in the third quarter.
There was no hint of trouble on Monday when McInerney took part in a player media session ahead of the grand final.
— AFL (@AFL) September 17, 2022
The 22-year-old has played 21 games this season for a career total of 52, while Reid is a 180-game veteran at the Swans.
Sydney trained for an hour on Tuesday morning at the SCG in perfect spring conditions, with thousands of fans attending the open session.
No Sam Reid on the track at the SCG this morning. Scans not as bad as first feared. Club still hopeful he will be available. Justin McInerney also missed training after hurting his foot/ankle late vs Collingwood. Expected to train on Thursday. Light session for Buddy @AFLcomau
— Josh Gabelich (@JoshGabelich) September 20, 2022
It’s not school holidays in Sydney. That hasn’t stopped thousands spilling into the SCG. No Sam Reid on the training track but he is at the club and the Swans insist he remains a chance to play. pic.twitter.com/FomhpiarOX
— Sam Landsberger (@SamLandsberger) September 20, 2022
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The grand final mood was even more buoyant given Franklin's Monday night announcement that he will keep playing for another season.
Franklin told reporters on Tuesday that he considered ending his storied AFL career with Saturday's grand final, saying the decision to keep playing had been a "50-50" call.
But the Sydney star decided that he still had the passion to extend his career into an 18th season and his family will stay put.
"As the year went on and I spoke to the people I care about, the decision was made clear that I need to go on, there's obviously unfinished business," he said, referring to a Swans premiership.
"I feel like I still have a little bit to give. It's been a long process to come to this decision. It hasn't been easy.
"I've been in the game a long time, I have a young family now, so it was a hard decision.
"But my passion for the game, my love for this football club, my heart is still here and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."
Sydney will have a closed training session on Thursday before heading to Melbourne for Friday's grand final parade.
The Swans last won the premiership in 2012 and have since played in grand finals in 2014 and 2016.
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