Tom McCartin receives attention during Sydney's clash against Greater Western Sydney in round eight, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

RED-HOT Sydney will be without defender Tom McCartin to take on Carlton's twin towers in attack in Friday night's blockbuster clash at the SCG.

Sydney is flying at the top of the ladder, having won five straight games, but the absence of its No.1 key back in McCartin is still significant, considering the threat of Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay up forward for the Blues.

McCartin missed last week with concussion after being hit high by Callum Brown in the Sydney derby and while coach John Longmire is confident there is no repeat of the head knock issues that sidelined him for nine games last season, he's not yet ready for Friday night.

"Tommy won't play. He's coming along pretty well, he was good today but he'll be out of the team. We're looking after Tommy, while he's good today we'll give him another week," Longmire said.

"Just because we give him another week doesn't mean that we're overly concerned in that regard, we've just got to make sure we look after him."

Nick Blakey, who had a near best-on-ground display against Carlton in the SCG win last year with 10 intercept possessions in his 26 touches, will be fine to play after passing a concussion test in the win over Walyalup.


It's a sign of how strong the Swans are at the minute that three-time club champion Luke Parker is still no guarantee of returning despite kicking a long-range matchwinner on the weekend in his third straight VFL game.

"I think today he said it was an 80-metre barrel. It was a terrific kick. We'll see how it goes, we've been reasonably consistent through the midfield group so we'll see how it lines up," Longmire said.

"He wants to play senior footy, that's understandable, his attitude is terrific. Again, on the weekend he was superb with the way he went about it and how he's leading those younger players in the next tier down. He's getting even more respect from his teammates."

Carlton fans will likely be keeping a close eye on Swans forward Will Hayward on Friday night.

As reported by's Gettable last week, the Blues have an offer of up to six years in front of Hayward, who is a restricted free agent and has kicked 19 goals this season.


Along with Logan McDonald, he's a key part of the Swans' forward line yet to sign on for next year and beyond.

"We're confident. I'd like to keep all of our players. He's playing good footy for us and hopefully he is for a long time," Longmire said.

"He's been terrific. We love his chase and tackle, he's been rewarded the last couple weeks for the work he's doing off the ball."

Captain Callum Mills is earmarked for a return a couple of weeks after the mid-season bye due to a calf injury that occurred during his recovery from an off-season rotator cuff tear.

John Longmire and Callum Mills after Mills was unveiled as Sydney's captain for the 2024 season. Picture: Phil Hillyard/AFL Photos

Longmire is wary of the Carlton threat, a team that knocked the Swans out in the first week of the finals last season.

"There's always another challenge to keep you on edge. We need to be on edge to keep improving as a team," he said.

"They've got a couple of Coleman medallists in their forward line. They're the No.1 contested ball team in the competition, No.1 pressure team. It's going to be a massive game this week, here at the SCG.

"Sam Walsh is one of the best two-way midfielders in the competition, obviously Paddy Cripps is a superstar. They've got plenty of weapons. It'll be a tough game. (Jacob) Weitering's one of the best, if not the best defender going around at the moment. It's going to be a great contest this Friday night."