Callum Mills at Sydney training on July 3, 2024. Picture: Brett Costello

RETURNING Sydney captain Callum Mills in the best condition he's ever been in, according to teammate Hayden McLean.

Mills is cutting a slim, strong figure at Swans training at the moment as he gets set for his first game of the 2024 campaign against North Melbourne at the SCG on Saturday.

The skipper's re-introduction to a team that is still two games plus percentage clear at the top of the ladder, despite losing their last two games, is a luxury for the Swans.

"We've missed him. To keep the good vibes going by getting the captain of the club back in 'Millsy' is just a massive boost for us," McLean said.

Callum Mills at Sydney training on July 3, 2024. Picture: Brett Costello

"He's the captain of the club at a young age for a reason. He's so passionate and determined for this club. The way he's gone about his rehab, if you look at the nick he's in at the moment it's the best he's been since I've been at the club (since 2019).

"He's looking big, strong, lean (and) powerful as well. He's done a lot of work, he's rebuilt his foundations so I'm really excited to see how he goes this week."

There have been undoubted frustrations for Mills following the bizarre Mad Monday shoulder injury late last year that has wrecked his season to date.

He has clearly channelled that energy into his conditioning for his return as he bided his time on the sidelines.

"As a captain of a team that's been winning and not being able to impact on the field, it's been hard on him. As a leader, he's so strong in that instance but he's been doing a lot of work with us, even in-game on the bench with us, helping in any way he can," McLean said.

Callum Mills at Sydney training on July 3, 2024. Picture: Brett Costello

Whether Mills will be joined in the senior side this Saturday by Luke Parker remains to be seen.

The three-time club champion's hopes of being selected may rest on the Isaac Heeney Appeal Board hearing on Thursday night, as the Swans bid to save the Brownlow hopes of their superstar midfielder, who they feel will be desperately unlucky if his suspension stands.

"We joked about that, you do that sort of 40-50 times in a game," McLean said of Heeney's act on St Kilda's Jimmy Webster, which led to a one-game ban.

"You always try to get separation off your man and it's just an unlucky thing. You saw he stopped and said sorry at the time."

While the Swans want Heeney available for the challenge of North Melbourne as they aim to snap a two-game losing streak, it's the Brownlow talk that has dominated his suspension conversation. But that's said to be of little interest to him.

"I spoke to him yesterday, he's put his phone off, he's off social media at the moment. He's a very down to earth person and very humble. He just does what the team needs," McLean said.

In a busy week for the Swans, another big talking point is their senior assistant coach Dean Cox as talk intensifies of a return to West Coast to take over from Adam Simpson.

"We rate him very highly here, especially me doing one-on-one work as a ruck," McLean said. He's understanding, he's very passionate, he builds a good relationship with every player. He's a coach that get on a personal level, but then help you on the field and stay composed. He's highly valued.

A month ago, Saturday's SCG clash with the Kangaroos looked like the most lopsided encounter of the season. But things change fast in footy and with two recent wins for the Roos and a string of improved displays, combined along with back-to-back defeats for the Swans, has altered the outlook of the game dramatically.

"To North's credit, since the bye they've completely flipped their stats. They've had a really good month. It'll be a good challenge this week," McLean said.

"It's the pressure and team defence that we need to bring back. Putting that heat on around the ball and putting a team under immense pressure. That's our strength and we need to get back to it."