Sydney is tossing up whether to call on Lance Franklin in Round 1.
Sydney is tossing up whether to call on Lance Franklin in Round 1.

Swans wary of risking Buddy in opener

SYDNEY are weighing up how much football Lance Franklin could risk missing over the first month of the competition if he plays in Saturday night's season-opener against the Western Bulldogs.

Franklin's lack of pre-season training has the Swans wary about his ability to back-up for short-turnarounds in 2019, and in the first month of the campaign his durability will be instantly put to a stern test.

Just six days separates their round one encounter and the Swans' first home game of the season on a Friday night against Adelaide.

Between round three against Carlton and then four, they will have just five days - unprecedented before this year - to prepare for a Thursday night clash against Melbourne at the SCG.

In total, the Swans will have five six-day turnarounds plus the one five-day break this season, and Swans management have highlighted these as uncertain periods for managing their superstar weapon.

Franklin underwent groin surgery during the off-season and it's been a slow recovery for the big man who wasn't able to train at all in between games last year.

Lance Franklin pushes his selection case during a Sydney Swans training session. Picture: Getty Images.
Lance Franklin pushes his selection case during a Sydney Swans training session. Picture: Getty Images.

Longmire has been saying for weeks that Franklin was no certainty for round one, but the latest news is positive as the club looks to blood a new-look line-up against the Bulldogs.

"He's still a chance. We haven't made a decision just yet," Longmire said.

"He trained on Saturday and trained really well. He's been training for the past couple of weeks and he's been looking sharp and pulling up well.

"We're in the middle of those decisions now. We'll see how training goes again (Tuesday).

"We'll know a bit more before Thursday but we want to have all of those facts in place before we make that final decision on whether he plays - and Lance has a big say in that as well.

"It's about looking at his total workload and understanding what he's done and what he needs to do to play this week, next week, the week after and the season itself."

Whether or not Franklin plays could also impact on their big off-season signing Daniel Menzel, who was brought up from Geelong to boost the forward line.

Lance Franklin looks on during Sydney’s pre-season game against GWS Giants. Picture: Getty Images.
Lance Franklin looks on during Sydney’s pre-season game against GWS Giants. Picture: Getty Images.

Menzel is also coming off groin surgery and Longmire hinted the experienced recruit and Franklin may be injected in different weeks.

"He is not far behind Lance so we will have to make a decision about how many of those guys we go with," said Longmire.

In a positive boost for Sydney, ruckman Callum Sinclair looks good to go, while Aliir Aliir has given the club encouragement that he can also be used in the key position if needed.

Nick Blakey, son of AFL great John, is also primed for a round one debut against the Bulldogs.

"He's right in the selection frame - absolutely. He's had a very strong pre-season," Longmir said.

He's been able to hit the scoreboard, create contests in our front half and really provide us another marking target, but he's also good on the ground.

"He's still learning the game and he's still learning what it takes at AFL level, but he's tracking along well.

"(Our side) will be very different. We've made some significant changes over the past three seasons. Our debutants in that time have played the most amount of games in the competition."