Adam Goodes enjoys the moment during the 2012 Toyota Grand Final match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Sydney Swans at the MCG, Melbourne. (Photo: Andrew White/AFL Media)
ADAM Goodes will lead a swag of flag-winning stars back into action this week as the Sydney Swans ramp up preparations for their premiership defence.
Goodes, who has been absent since injuring his knee in last year's Grand Final, is expected to be joined by the likes of Kieren Jack, Rhyce Shaw and Nick Malceski for the NAB Cup game against Gold Coast in Blacktown.
There are still question marks over Nick Smith (knee) and Marty Mattner (hip), who will again miss out this week and are now in a race to prove their fitness ahead of round one of the AFL season.
"We should be getting a few players back this week hopefully," coach John Longmire told reporters ahead of training on Tuesday.
"Kieren Jack, Adam Goodes, Rhyce Shaw, if they get through training this week, will certainly be playing some of the game.
"How much is yet to be determined.
"Nick Malceski and Craig Bird have to get through the week training-wise, (while rested veterans) Jarrad McVeigh and Ryan O'Keefe didn't play last week and will come back into the team.
"We feel as though hopefully there will be six or seven of those senior players back in the team this week and will get some game time under their belt."
Ruckman Shane Mumford is also some chance of playing this week as he recovers from an ankle injury, while Lewis Roberts-Thomson could miss out after experiencing some tightness in a calf against St Kilda on Sunday.
But the return of games record-holder and co-captain Goodes from a torn PCL will be a welcome sign for Swans fans and the coaching staff.
"He's been training really well the last few weeks so he'll come back in," Longmire said of the two-time Brownlow medallist.
"He won't play the whole game, but he'll come in and get some quality game time hopefully."
However time is starting to get away from Smith and Mattner, who haven't played a game since the Grand Final victory over Hawthorn.
The Swans have some depth, with Tony Armstrong and Harry Cunningham among those getting a chance in the backline during the pre-season, and Longmire conceded Smith and Mattner are cutting it fine.
"A lot will depend on the next few weeks of training and one of them might play a half next week," he said when asked if they were battling to be fit for round one.
"We have to wait and see and we're not looking at that yet."
Longmire also told AAP that he was comfortable with the prospect of Kurt Tippett adapting to the Swans' style of play over the next four months.
"He needs to get used to our players, and he's been able to do a lot of that over the summer.
"And he'll work on improving many parts of his game. As a 32-year-old Jude Bolton can, and does."
Adam Goodes is a forward/midfielder in NAB AFL Fantasy. He averaged 82.44 points in 2012. Register your team at our AFL Fantasy Hub.
James Dampney is a reporter for AFL.com.au. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_JD