Injury-hit Swans back AFL youth to step up

Rob Forsaith
Sydney coach John Longmire remains confident his AFL club's youngsters will shine this month

Sydney's depth will be tested by a series of injuries to key players, but coach John Longmire remains confident his AFL club's lesser lights will shine this month.

The Swans have hit a major hurdle on the injury front.

Sam Reid (Achilles) and Lewis Melican (hamstring) will both have surgery on Tuesday after suffering fresh setbacks. They may struggle to return this year.

Jarrad McVeigh (collarbone), Dan Hannebery (calf), Kieren Jack (knee) all suffered injuries in last week's loss to Geelong.

McVeigh and Hannebery will miss Sunday's cash with North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium. If Jack is also an enforced omission it will rob Sydney of some 761 games worth of experience.

The Swans had already been making do without Callum Mills (foot) and Sam Naismith (knee) for most of the season, while Isaac Heeney (concussion) and Tom Papley (hip) both need to train well this week to show coach John Longmire they're ready to return.

Longmire admits it's a challenging time for his club, but pointed to the fact a stack of youngsters had already stepped up this season.

Oliver Florent, Will Hayward, Ben Ronke and Tom McCartin have all excelled throughout the year despite limited experience, while Aliir Aliir has impressed in recent weeks.

"Our young players, particularly for the first half of the year, have played key roles for us," Longmire told reporters.

"They've actually been really important for us in the first half of the year.

"It's just a matter of them continuing to do what they've been doing - keep playing those key roles."

Longmire will deliver similar instructions to those players called up this week, with Nic Newman, Harry Marsh and potential debutant Colin O'Riordan in the mix.

"Whether you're a young player or a player getting a chance this week after playing a few weeks in the reserves, it's just about playing the role we want them to in the senior team," he said.

"We're confident the blokes we'll bring in this week will provide us with that.

"You just have to roll the sleeves up and get through it. You look across the competition, all teams have challenges at various times.

"When you get your dose, you've just got to suck it up and get on with it. That's what our challenge is now."