SYDNEY has backed its young group of goalkickers to overcome the absence of Lance Franklin, with young star Isaac Heeney set to play as a key forward.
Franklin could miss more than half of the revamped season after tearing his hamstring at training this week.
He was heading for a return to the side after missing round one following knee surgery in the off-season, with the champion goalkicker suffering a run of injury in recent years.
Small forward Tom Papley said his 33-year-old teammate was devastated by the latest injury setback.
"He's obviously shattered. It's bad timing for him but he's a champion of the game and we know he'll bounce back and when he comes back he'll play a massive role for us like he always does," Papley said.
"He loves the game and loves playing, so anyone who gets an injury is going to be flat, but he's an important part for us and not to be able to help us is obviously hurting him, but he'll be back."
Papley said the absence of Franklin would provide the chance for the Swans' developing talls to impact games further, while Heeney, who kicked four goals in a starring display in round one, will also spend more time close to goal.
Heeney's overhead marking, speed and agility makes him a different prospect in attack, and the part-time midfielder is likely to be kept inside-50 more with Franklin out.
"Isaac is going to be massive for us down forward, as we saw in round one not many players can match up on him so I'm looking forward to that as well," Papley said.
"[He] is going to play a lot more as a key forward, Tommy McCartin and Nick Blakey they're going to change their roles.
"For the smalls it won't change too much, we'll just keep putting the pressure on and relying on the midfielders to get it in and we'll get it to ground and we'll go to work there. That was the story of the first round and that's what we'll keep doing."
Papley, who enjoyed a career-best season in 2019 by kicking 37 goals from 22 games before his failed bid to head to Carlton in the trade period, teamed up with Swans recruits and fellow small forwards Sam Gray and Lewis Taylor against the Crows.
The Swans will recommence their season against Essendon at the SCG on Sunday, June 14.