STAR defenders Jake Lloyd and Callum Mills are expected to line up for Sydney against Brisbane at the Gabba on Saturday night, with Lloyd over a knee strain and Mills recovering from concussion symptoms.
Lloyd, the Swans reigning best and fairest, sat out the AAMI Community Series match against Greater Western Sydney, but has now started training with the main group again.
Mills copped a head knock in the second quarter of the pre-season hitout against the Giants, then suffered delayed concussion symptoms.
MEDICAL ROOM The full AFL injury list
"We expect them both to play," said Sydney coach John Longmire on Monday. "[Mills] has been through all the protocols.
"I think there will be discussion this year about [the concussion protocols]. It'll be a bit different for supporters and clubs to get used to.
"We understand it's a contact sport, the players understand that as well. But we follow the right protocols."
The AFL concussion guidelines now require players to be sidelined for a minimum of 12 days. The Swans played the Giants on March 7 and will face Brisbane on March 20 so Mills – who is expected to have more midfield minutes this year – is free to play.
All players who have suffered a concussion will also need to be involved in a minimum of three team training runs, including a full-contact session, before being available for selection.
Longmire said there was a "chance" of the Swans having up to three debutants in round one, with 2020 draftees Logan McDonald, Braeden Campbell and Errol Gulden all pressing their claims.
"We've been happy with some of the new boys that have come in, they've done a terrific job so far," Longmire said.
"It's good to have some pressure from those boys coming in. But what it looks like in the wash-up on Thursday, we'll have to wait and see."
The Swans look set to face Joe Daniher, who was close to joining the club in the 2019 Trade Period. But the ex-Bomber forward will instead be lining up for Brisbane on Saturday night, for his first game at his new club.
"It's good to see that he's had a great pre-season injury-wise," Longmire said.
"He's a really good fella, but we'll treat him like anyone else. They've got plenty of firepower, and he's one of many."
Longmire admitted that his side faced a tough test against the Lions, who made a preliminary final last season.
"We start with a team that's been the best home and away performing team over the past two seasons. What they've done up there has been fantastic.
"But it's a great opportunity on their home deck, and we're really looking forward to it."