SATURDAY'S important Sydney Derby at Giants Stadium has been rocked by injuries to key players from both sides.
The Swans have suffered the biggest blow, with co-captain Dane Rampe ruled out with an eye injury he suffered in Sunday's loss to Geelong at the SCG.
Rampe was struck by the footy against the Cats and while he played out the match, scans revealed bleeding behind the eye.
Swans co-captain Luke Parker speaks to the media on Monday. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos
Fellow defender Colin O'Riordan will also miss the clash against Greater Western Sydney with a groin injury.
For the Giants, tall defender Sam Taylor is expected to be sidelined for at least a couple of matches with a hamstring issue.
Taylor reported some soreness during Saturday night's thrilling one-point win over Port Adelaide and isn't likely to be risked.
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The absence of Rampe, one of the form key defenders of the competition this season, couldn't have come at a worse time for the Swans.
It leaves them seriously undermanned for experienced talls against in-form Giants' trio Jeremy Cameron (57 goals in 2019), Jeremy Finlayson (34) and Harry Himmelberg (31) this week.
The Swans will look at using young forward Tom McCartin at the other end of the ground to support Aliir Aliir and Lewis Melican, or give responsibility to young star Callum Mills to play tall on one of the Giants' athletic goalkickers.
Sydney co-captain Luke Parker said that while the loss of Rampe is extremely significant for his side, the players need to turn the situation into a positive.
"The way we've got to look at it, is that it gives the other boys an opportunity to really lift in that area," he said on Monday.
"You look at guys like 'Millsy' and his leadership has gone to another level this year.
"The Giants were in a similar situation a couple of weeks ago against Collingwood with their whole leadership group out and they did really well, so it's a great opportunity for our guys."
Callum Mills dodges a Mitch Duncan tackle. Picture: AFL Photos
Taylor, who has been an important part of the Giants' backline in 17 games this season, is likely to be replaced by Jake Stein or Adam Kennedy, depending on how coach Leon Cameron wants to structure his defence against the Swans.
Stein will provide a strong presence and allow Phil Davis or Nick Haynes to use their elite intercepting qualities against the Swans, while Kennedy is a dashing half back who can create plenty of offence at ground level.
Davis (13 marks) and Haynes (10 marks) were instrumental in the Giants' win over Port, with the unheralded Lachie Keeffe, Sam Reid and Daniel Lloyd also playing import roles.
GWS co-captain Phil Davis and coach Leon Cameron speak at Giants Stadium. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos
"It was a game full of challenges, but I thought it was a pretty solid job by our back seven," Davis said.
"It was a scrappy kind of affair but the players in the backline all had their moments."
Cameron backed his co-captain's praise of his defence against the Power but said they must maintain their focus against the Swans, even though the visitors will be without superstar forward and Davis' longtime rival Lance Franklin.
"The game could have gone either way and the backs probably got us over the line," he said.
"We understand though that it doesn't get any easier, we've got a huge challenge on Saturday and we need to really come out of the blocks.
"We've got to play a good brand of footy because on the weekend we played a half of good footy, and the other half we probably let ourselves down in a couple of areas."