Buddy Franklin and others expected back for Sydney Swans

Lance Franklin is expected to be fit for the AFL finals clash against Fremantle. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
Lance Franklin is expected to be fit for the AFL finals clash against Fremantle. Picture: GETTY IMAGES


Sydney coach John Longmire has no reservations about potentially bringing as many as five players back from injury and illness for Saturday's AFL finals clash with Fremantle.

Forward Lance Franklin (knee) and ruckman Mike Pyke (illness) both missed last Saturday's final round fixture against Richmond, while midfielders Josh Kennedy (hamstring) and Craig Bird (knee) have sat out two games and midfielder/forward Ben McGlynn (calf), three.

"You'd have to say that certainly Pykey and Lance would come into the team after only missing the one game," Longmire said.

"The other three, I'm confident they will be right to play but they will need to train this week, and if they train this week then they are right in the hunt."

Longmire revealed Franklin, who was a late withdrawal on Saturday night, could probably have played.

"Coming off a six-day break and a harder surface, we went conservative with him and he's fine this week," he said.

Longmire suggested Sydney were in better physical shape than when they entered last year's finals.

"Certainly, 12 months ago, we were probably a little bit buggered going in," Longmire said.

"We were having a real go, expected to have some players come back into the team and were just a little tired going into the finals.

"This year, certainly we've got more players available, players that have been able to play throughout the course of the year."

Longmire refused to buy into the debate over whether veteran Adam Goodes was guilty of diving in the Tigers' game.

Former Essendon forward Matthew Lloyd and cricket legend Shane Warne were among those who criticised Goodes.

"It's not a talking point for me. I've got other things to worry about, namely Fremantle, so I'm not going to get caught up in it," said Longmire, who described Goodes's form as "solid".

Asked if he had spoken to Goodes about it, Longmire said: "If I did, I wouldn't be talking about it in front of the media."

Fremantle swamped Sydney in the first half of their finals clash last year and Longmire anticipated another fierce contest between the competition's top two defensive teams.

"There were some technical things we could have done a bit better [last year] but they certainly applied an enormous amount of pressure," Longmire said.

"Both teams pride themselves on their defensive work and Fremantle's ability. . . to be able to hit the scoreboard has really gone through the roof." -AAP


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