Swans in selection squeeze as Buddy back

·2-min read

Sydney coach John Longmire has declared Lance Franklin ready to return for Thursday night's clash with Essendon at the SCG, but picking who to drop looms as a selection headache.

Franklin booted three goals in his long-awaited AFL return in round two, but he was rested for Sydney's shock 45-point win over reigning premiers Richmond on Saturday.

The 34-year-old used the time off to build up his training loads, and barring a setback will be named to return against Essendon.

Hayden McLean made way for Franklin in round two, and he could be the unlucky player to miss out yet again.

The unbeaten Swans might need to drop two players if midfielder James Rowbottom is ready to return from a knee injury.

Longmire says he will delay making a decision until seeing how everyone pulls up on Wednesday.

"We understand that when you have a good win that it's difficult to put players out of the team," Longmire said on Monday.

"But we are also fully open with our players that he (Franklin) won't be playing every game. We've said that.

"It will be terrific to have Lance back in the team. He's had more training under his belt and he feels good for Thursday. He trained today and he's been pulling up well."

Longmire said it was always the plan to rest Franklin against Richmond given the Bombers game was just five days later.

'You're always tempted to play great players," Longmire said.

"But we sat down a month ago ... we felt that was the best way to go about it after his first game.

"It allows him time to train and strengthen his hamstrings and groin - the areas that he needed to in the gym after his first game.

"He couldn't play the Saturday and the Thursday night back-to-back after five days, that wasn't going to be a possibility."

Sydney were widely tipped to struggle this season, but their 3-0 start have put them firmly in the mix to reach the finals for the first time since 2018.

Essendon breathed life back into their season with a shock 75-point thumping of St Kilda on Saturday.