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Key Swan Richards remains in doubt for round one after missing NEAFL clash

Lance Franklin and Ted Richards compete during training - ${keywords}
Lance Franklin and Ted Richards compete during training

VETERAN Sydney Swans defender Ted Richards looks an unlikely starter for the club's opening game of the season against Collingwood after failing to take the field in a NEAFL scratch match on Saturday morning.

Richards, 33, played no part in the NAB Challenge despite recovering from a calf injury, and was expected to try and prove his fitness in the Swans' reserves ahead of next Saturday night's clash with the Pies at the SCG.

Time now looks to have run out for the 253-gamer, who has trained with the main group for the past month but hasn't managed to get any game time under his belt.

Exciting defender Zak Jones, who was given permission by the AFL to play the NEAFL match, also didn't play.

Jones has missed most of the pre-season after having knee surgery last year, but did feature in the Swans' final two NAB Challenge matches.

Meanwhile, athletic forward Sam Reid continues to work hard on his recovery from a hamstring strain suffered in the club's intraclub match in February.

Like Richards, Reid also missed the NAB Challenge after he tore the same hamstring he injured during last year's qualifying final loss to Fremantle in Perth.

The 24-year-old has stepped up his running over the past fortnight but looks to have little chance of making the team for round one.

"It's not the best preparation and it's frustrating as you can't really practice any game-day things that you've worked on all pre-season," Reid said on the club's website.

"And in terms of match fitness, it's hard to replicate that. You can do all the running you want but as soon as there's a footy and an opposition involved the intensity kicks up a level.

"I'll be aiming to pick up where I left off over the next couple of weeks to give myself the best possible chance for when I do come back in.

"It's about doing as much work as you can in rehab and out on the field, trying to get to a level good enough that you’re able to compete at the highest level."

With co-captain Jarrad McVeigh (knee) also all but ruled out of the Collingwood game, coach John Longmire will have three experienced players looking on, to go with the loss of retired premiership players Adam Goodes, Rhyce Shaw and Mike Pyke, and Lewis Jetta (West Coast) and Craig Bird (Essendon), who were traded in the off-season.