John Longmire shakes hands with Sam Wicks after Sydney's win over Gold Coast in R6, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

SYDNEY coach John Longmire says the club has been disappointed with "unfair" reporting around forward Sam Wicks ahead of the mammoth Sydney Derby with the Giants on Saturday.

Longmire stopped short of guaranteeing five-time Brett Kirk medallist Luke Parker would return to the Swans side this weekend, despite having 34 possessions in the VFL last Sunday in his first hit out for the year.

Parker's inclusion seems more likely than not, however, while fellow veteran Dane Rampe is also in contention for a return should he get through training unscathed this week.

But it was the Wicks issue that remained a hot topic after vision of his second goal against Hawthorn on Sunday, when none of his teammates celebrated with him, gained traction online.

Wicks' second goal, running into an open goal and without a teammate nearby, came after he received high fives from several teammates after a major in the first quarter.

Sam Wicks celebrates a goal for Sydney against Hawthorn in R7, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

The 24-year-old stepped away from the club last month after a personal dispute with a teammate but has returned to the senior side in recent weeks, kicking two goals in each of his past two games.

Longmire said a report on Monday that claimed the lack of a goal celebration was an indication of lingering tension within the playing group was wide of the mark.

"The club is disappointed in the report from a long-time football journalist," Longmire said.

"Chad Warner kicked a goal in a similar circumstance (running into an open goal) and nobody got around him. We've been focused on celebrating the players who caused the goal rather than the outcome.


"I just think looking at that isolated incident is a bit unfair.

"If you look at how Sam is going, he's playing a valuable role within our team over the last couple of weeks. From a team perspective, we dealt with that a month ago and we've all moved on, and I think that's fairly obvious to most people."

The selection squeeze is on at both clubs ahead of Saturday' s blockbuster encounter, with the Swans dilemma centred around who makes way for Parker and Rampe should they be brought back in this week.

Parker hasn't played in the AFL this year after a pre-season arm fracture suffered against the Giants, while Rampe has been missing since a hamstring injury in round three.

Luke Parker in action at Sydney training on April 16, 2024. Picture: Phil Hillyard

"We'll see how their training goes this week. Hopefully they get going and feel good. I think 'Parks' has pulled up okay. They'll have another session today but the important one will be Thursday," Longmire said.

"(Parker) is a quality player, we just need to make sure we set him up for the season. The good thing is he's been able to keep running (during his injury lay-off). He plays a combative style, that's the only way he knows. We'll look at that and the weather.

"We'll sit down on Thursday after training and pick the team hoping that those two are available."

Longmire wasn't buying into any of the jibes from Giants star Sam Taylor on Monday that the Swans are "smug", insisting he's simply pre-occupied with trying to stop the one of the premiership favourites.

"They don't have a bad player at the moment," he said. "I think about that a lot, sometimes too much.

"I've been a bit more focused on Sam Taylor, Stephen Coniglio, Toby Greene coming back into the team. That's where my energies have been directed. This is a team that last week defeated last season's grand finalists by nine goals.

"They're playing super footy, they're a great team at the moment."

Longmire does have the luxury of former Giants coaches Leon Cameron and Mark McVeigh on his staff as he looks for some further insight on GWS' strengths and weaknesses head of Saturday.

The Giants will have some headaches of their own, most notably Isaac Heeney, who continued his stunning start to the year in the midfield with a 21 possession, three goal display against the Hawks to firm up his early season Brownlow Medal favouritism.

"That standard that he's playing at the moment is not an easy one (to achieve)," Longmire said. "But it's easier when you have the focus that he has, which is helping his teammates be better.

"I've always enjoyed coaching him, he's a real pro, he's getting some reward now for his efforts which is terrific."

A sell-out crowd is tipped for the early afternoon clash at the SCG on Saturday for an encounter between second and third on the ladder and one of the biggest Sydney derbies ever.

"It's terrific for the code up here. It's the most competitive sporting market in the world. To be able to have two teams play in what we hope will be a sell-out crowd it's great for both clubs and great for the code up here," Longmire said.