SYDNEY Swans coach John Longmire concedes he's facing "unique circumstances" with enormous uncertainty over the Essendon team that will turn up for Saturday’s clash against his side.
On Tuesday the AFL's Anti-Doping Tribunal will hand down its verdicts on the case involving 34 former and current Bombers players.
Any players found not guilty will be free to play in the ANZ Stadium match, but it is unclear what will happen if the players are found guilty (appeals are possible and they may be availbale to play).
Essendon could be at full strength or, at worst, could field a makeshift outfit similar to those used in the pre-season.
Preparing for his 100th match as Swans coach, Longmire is doing his best to get his team ready regardless.
"We're full on planning already," Longmire said. "Our preparations are underway.
"If they need to adjust, they will, but we'll make sure to cover all bases and prepare our players to play the best football they can regardless of who's playing in the opposition.
"From a coaching perspective you look at a number of different scenarios, but you always get back to what we can control and that's really about the kind of football we want to play.
"It's different and they are unique circumstances but we have to make sure we focus on our football.
"We know if we get back to pressuring the opposition, putting on enormous pressure around the ball and tackling hard, that usually helps regardless of who's playing in the opposition strip."
Longmire rated 18-year-old Isaac Heeney "a strong chance" to play on Saturday but ruled out Ben McGlynn (hip).
"He's had a good preparation. He had some knee tendinitis issues early on, but over the last six weeks, in particular, and over the pre-season games he’s played, he’s got better every week.
"Whether he makes the final cut, we're not sure yet, but he's among that group of players up for selection this week."
The 2012 premiership coach declared Lance Franklin (head knock) and Kieren Jack (abdomen) ready to take on the Bombers on Saturday evening at ANZ Stadium, should they get through training this week.
Key forward Kurt Tippett, who was ruled out of the pre-season with a lower leg injury, and Jarrad McVeigh (minor calf strain) will also be available for Saturday's game.
A delayed start to the 2015 season due to the cricket World Cup has given the coach more time to think about round one than normal, and Longmire is more than ready for the first game of the year.
"You're at work, you strap yourself in with the season about to start, and obviously the anticipation of what lies ahead, nobody is sure of what is going to occur. But one thing you do know is that you're about to start a ride of ups and downs, both as players, coaches and supporters."
Longmire's motivation is all about starting the season well and getting his own processes in place, and has nothing to do with last year's devastating Grand Final thrashing at the hands of Hawthorn.
"Round one, 2015. We've got the Bombers to worry about this week and that's what we're about."