Swans clear Franklin for Fremantle clash

·2-min read

Lance Franklin has been locked in for Sydney's trip to Perth as the AFL club prepares for fit-again ruckman Sam Naismith to create a major selection headache.

Franklin's fitness and management has been a source of great intrigue throughout recent injury-marred years.

The four-time Coleman medallist has played two games since returning from bone bruising in his knee, booting a combined two goals.

Swans coach John Longmire says Franklin, who is now 43 goals away from becoming the first man since Tony Lockett to hit the magical 1000-goal mark, will make the cross-country trip for Saturday night's clash with Fremantle.

"It's not flying to the other side of the world. He'll be OK," Longmire said.

"We're confident he will be fine.

"He's had an interrupted campaign ... there would have been a case for not playing if he'd played every game and been training all the way through.

"No matter how much talent you have, you need continuous training and playing. The more he's able to do that, the better he'll play and feel.

"If he gets to a stage down the track where he's feeling a bit sore and needs a week off, we'll do it if required."

Sydney are one of five sides to bank a 6-3 start and percentage is all that separates third-placed Geelong from seventh-placed West Coast.

The Swans have weathered their fair share of injury setbacks, with Longmire confirming on Monday that young guns Braeden Campbell and Errol Gulden won't return until after the round 14 bye.

Longmire says Sam Reid is still "a few weeks away" from being available, admitting the key forward's calf injury is taking longer than expected to heal.

However, Naismith has pulled up well after delivering a feel-good story by making his return in the the second half of Saturday's VFL clash with Collingwood.

Naismith has been restricted to two AFL games since the end of the 2017 season because of two knee reconstructions.

"It's great to see him back," Longmire said.

"He played well, felt good about himself and had a real smile on his face today."

Naismith will need to build more match fitness to press for an AFL recall, leaving Longmire with time to ponder whether the highly rated ruck could play alongside Tom Hickey.

Hickey has struck career-best form after joining Sydney, his fourth club, during last year's trade period.

"You always keep your options open," Longmire said.

"Always open to whatever the team requires.

"We're not close minded ... we know both can play really well."

Ruckmen Callum Sinclair and Hickey played rounds seven and eight together, but last week the former was dropped.