Sydney Swans mull changes, Jack to return

Rob Forsaith
Kieren Jack is likely to return to Sydney's AFL line-up to play West Coast at the SCG

Match committee meetings have rarely been straightforward this AFL season at the SCG, but that will ring particularly true ahead of Friday night's blockbuster between Sydney and West Coast.

The Swans, who are riding a five-match winning streak to sit third on the ladder, are yet to name an unchanged team this year.

That trend will continue in round 13, with coach John Longmire mulling how to stop the ladder-leading Eagles' 10-game winning run.

Veteran Kieren Jack will return from a hip injury, while defender Aliir Aliir might possibly be recalled to help shut down one of the league's most-potent forward lines.

Jack missed the Swans' last-start win over St Kilda, in which they kicked the opening nine goals of the game.

The 30-year-old was restricted badly last year by a hip injury, but Longmire indicated the latest problem was nowhere near as serious.

"He's pulled up well," Longmire said on Wednesday.

"It was important he didn't play last week; it gives him the best possible chance of playing this week. He's not over the line, he's got to train but he's a chance.

"He ran Monday and ran well, so that's a good sign that he's actually in a lot better shape than last year."

Jack trained strongly on Wednesday behind closed doors, with football manager Tom Harley later confirming the Swans "expect him to play".

On other potential changes, Longmire was understandably giving little away ahead of a "massive" game against the "best team in the competition".

Counterpart Adam Simpson revealed on Wednesday that Jarrod Brander would debut in the injury-enforced absence of Jack Darling, but was saying little on other changes.

Aliir, who has impressed in recent weeks in the NEAFL, might help to bolster Sydney's defence but also be thrust into the ruck to offer Callum Sinclair some support against former teammates Nic Naitanui and Scott Lycett.

"Aliir is a possibility," Longmire said.

"Harry Marsh can play taller.

"They might have lost Darling but they'll be very strong ... they're sitting on top of the ladder for a reason.

"Naitanui is back to his best ... but Sinclair has been going quite well and our boys at ground level have been having a real crack."

Youngster George Hewett is set to be given another tagging assignment, but Longmire admits it will be tricky to identify the Eagles' most-dangerous threat in the engine room.

"We expect all of our midfielders to have run-with roles when the opposition has got it," he quipped.