Swans to rest Warner but star trio ready

·2-min read

Young gun Chad Warner is likely to skip Sydney's AFL clash with Hawthorn but prime movers Lance Franklin, Isaac Heeney and Tom Hickey are on track to back-up on Friday night.

The Swans have carefully managed Heeney's ankle and Hickey's knee in recent weeks, while Franklin has played five games on the trot as anticipation builds about his looming 1000-goal milestone.

Sydney's entire squad will have a light week on the track, with the club mindful of the fact they will tackle the Hawks after consecutive six-day breaks.

But coach John Longmire says Franklin, Heeney and Hickey have pulled up well from Saturday's win over St Kilda and should face the Hawks before a break during the mid-season bye.

Longmire cautioned that Warner, one of several youngsters to help put the Swans on track for a return to finals, could be an enforced omission because of a sore leg.

The club has been careful not to overwork or overload fellow Rising Star nominees Errol Gulden (foot) and Braeden Campbell (shin), who were put on ice because of stress reactions but are set to return after the bye.

"Warner's had a bit of a sore spot for a couple of weeks," Longmire said.

"Chad's in his second year. If he doesn't play this week and has a week off; well we're looking to develop him short term, medium term and long term.

"The one thing about playing younger players; it's fantastic but you have to be mindful they're still growing and developing."

The sixth-placed Swans host the 17th-placed Hawks in the latest edition of a rivalry that took on additional meaning when Franklin headed north after helping Hawthorn win the 2013 grand final.

"He's been here for a while. It's not the first time he's played against the Hawks, he prepares as he prepares against anyone," Longmire said.

Longmire shouldered arms to speculation about the grand final shifting to Sydney, while he was guarded about the prospect of more games being staged in Sydney because of Melbourne's COVID-19 outbreak.

"It'd be great (for the Queen's Birthday match to be sold out). We saw (that with) the Dreamtime game in Perth," the 2012 premiership coach said.

"But I'm conscious it's tough for a lot of people ... it's off the back of some heartache."