Hugh McLuggage celebrates a goal for Brisbane against Sydney in the AAMI Community Series in 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

SYDNEY has a nervous wait ahead of next week's Opening Round after Taylor Adams hobbled off with a left knee injury in Thursday night's 25-point AAMI Community Series loss to Brisbane.

Adams was caught awkwardly in a Cam Rayner tackle early in the third quarter and went straight to the Swans' dressing-rooms. He was ruled out almost immediately and did not return as the Lions recorded a 12.9 (81) to 8.8 (56) win.

SWANS v LIONS Full match coverage and stats

The Swans believes Adams has suffered a mild medial ligament strain, but the full extent of the injury is not yet clear.

Any time on the sidelines would be a big blow for the Swans ahead of facing Melbourne in the season opener at the SCG next Thursday night, with captain Callum Mills (shoulder) and veteran Luke Parker (broken arm) already ruled out.

However, Sydney assistant Jarrad McVeigh was optimistic the midfielder would be cleared to face the Demons.

"He got a knock to his knee so we played that conservatively. He's still clearly a chance for next week," McVeigh said.


Adams, who headed north from Collingwood in the off-season, was in the midst of a strong first-up performance for his new club, having accumulated 15 disposals, including seven clearances, in just over a half.

He was the only injury question mark to come out of a clash that was delayed by 30 minutes after a power outage before the first bounce at Blacktown International Sportspark.


Once play began in the hot and humid conditions – it was in excess of 30 degrees and 60 per cent humidity for much of the night – Brisbane showed why they are fancied to push for the premiership again.

Hugh McCluggage (31 disposals and a goal) was magnificent as he spent time on both a wing and in the midfield, while Keidean Coleman continued where he left off last season with 19 disposals and a casual 53m set shot goal.


The Lions were terrific at stoppages, with dual Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale (22 touches, eight clearances) showing no rust from a disrupted pre-season following groin surgery, and were able to trap the ball in their front half for extended periods.

Lincoln McCarthy kicked three goals, while Eric Hipwood continued a strong pre-season with two and was the most dangerous key forward on the ground.

The Swans showed plenty of endeavour but battled to consistently challenge Brisbane's defence.

In the oppressive conditions, both teams held nothing back with their intensity, but did struggle to move the ball swiftly with any consistency early on.

Following an even opening quarter Brisbane got on top, with two superb set shots from McCarthy and clever finishes from Cal Ah Chee and Darcy Wilmot giving them a handy half-time cushion.



New faces
was having a fine debut before being taken from the field in the third quarter. He had racked up a then game-high seven clearances, and despite a couple of turnovers by foot, showed exactly why the Swans recruited him with his inside grunt. James Jordon, who came from Melbourne, could hardly have been more impressive, finishing with 31 disposals and nine marks, patrolling the wing nicely. Ruckman Brodie Grundy had a good tussle with Oscar McInerney, and although he won the hit-outs, didn't have his usual impact at ground level. Defender Joel Hamling switched time between Hipwood and Darcy Gardiner, but did enough to suggest he'd be a good addition.

Round one chance
Both coaches have some tough decision to make over the next week. Peter Ladhams (18 disposals, three clearances and three tackles) is battling Hayden McLean or Joel Amartey for a spot, and although he'd appear to be slightly behind that duo, did his chances no harm with a strong showing. Brisbane's Chris Fagan would have been impressed by Kai Lohmann's work-rate, with the utility busy both with the ball (16 disposals) and without it (six tackles) as he ran hard to help in defence and attack. James Tunstill was steady and would still be in the frame for a call-up against Carlton.

Peter Ladhams gets a handball away in Sydney's match against Brisbane in the AAMI Community Series in 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Medical room
Sydney will be hoping Adams' knee problem is on the minor end, with their midfield already missing Mills and Parker. With just a week until Opening Round, neither club took any risks entering the match, with the Lions resting Zac Bailey (illness) and the Swans keeping Tom Papley and Chad Warner on ice ahead of Thursday's match against Melbourne. Jake Lloyd (hip) missed the hit-out, while Conor McKenna (hamstring) will be doing all he can to line up against Carlton next week.

Fantasy watch
Plenty of Fantasy relevant names were on show in Blacktown with Hugh McCluggage (MID, $806,000) showing he'll be value in Classic, but especially Draft. McCluggage top scored with 131, just ahead of Errol Gulden (MID, $1,015,000) with 129. Can you pay up for Gulden? Possibly. He's got the perfect mix of an outside and inside game that allows him to not only take marks, but lay tackles. The value play from the Swans is James Jordon (MID/FWD, $454,000). He won't be used as a substitute like he was at the Dees. He got 119 points as he ran the wing, collecting 31 disposals, nine marks and three tackles - he's a lock. Keidean Coleman (DEF, $628,000) was a Fantasy hero in the Grand Final and he ticked the boxes for his potential owners against the Swans by taking a game high 10 marks. Kai Lohmann (FWD, $257,000) was the pick of the rookie-priced players with 77 as he aims to push into the 22. The half-back role was there for Matt Roberts (MID, $245,000), who managed 65 points and should be considered as a cash cow. A score of 51 for Brodie Grundy (RUCK, $677,000) wasn't exciting, but don't write him off until you see his Opening Round match. - Warnie from The Traders

SYDNEY       2.2   4.6   6.7   8.8 (56)
BRISBANE   2.3   6.5   11.8  12.9 (81)

Sydney: Wicks, Warner, McInerney, McDonald, Heeney, Gulden, Fox, Amartey
Brisbane: McCarthy 3, Hipwood 2, Zorko 2, Wilmot, Rayner, Ah Chee, McCluggage, Coleman

Sydney: Gulden, Jordon, Blakey, Heeney, Rowbottom
Brisbane: McCluggage, Coleman, Neale, Zorko, Lester, Dunkley

Sydney: Adams (knee)
Brisbane: Nil

Reports: Nil