SYDNEY will be without rising stars Errol Gulden and Braeden Campbell until at least the club’s round 14 bye as it was revealed that both draftees have sustained stress reactions and need to be rested.
The Swans Academy graduates both debuted in round one and claimed the first two NAB AFL Rising Star nominations for the season, but were missing from the 30-point victory over Collingwood on Saturday.
Gulden was left out of the side for the first time after reporting soreness in his foot after the round eight loss to Melbourne. The No.32 pick in last year’s NAB AFL Draft is now being treated for a stress reaction in his foot.
Campbell last played for the Swans in the round six loss to Gold Coast, when he started the match as medical sub. He played in the VFL a week later but has since been found to have a stress reaction in his shin.
"As they're two younger fellas we've been trying to manage them this year. Both of them were missing training and managing their training loads," John Longmire told reporters on Monday.
"In Braeden's case we worked to have him miss the Gold Coast game, he was medical sub but we had George Hewett injured in the first quarter so he played, which ideally would've been for him to have a rest.
"Errol just trains and plays so hard, and covers so much ground at training and during games that we've tried to manage him as best we could but he's still injured.
"Fortunately we got them both at the right time, really early, so just a little bit of stress there. [We’ll] just back them right off, look after them as first-year players."
Lance Franklin will travel to Perth for Saturday night's clash against Fremantle, with Longmire admitting the superstar forward would only be played to get some continuity, and might have been rested if he'd played more earlier in the season.
The 34-year-old has played the past two games, going goalless against the Demons but bouncing back with two against the Magpies, after missing a couple of weeks with bone bruising on the knee.
Tom Hickey will also face the Dockers and their twin towers Sean Darcy and Rory Lobb, after pulling up well from his battle with the Magpies’ ruckman Brodie Grundy and not feeling any significant soreness in the knee he first injured in round five.
"He had a bit of a sore spot there for a period of the game, then got going and felt OK. We expect that to happen throughout the year," Longmire said.
Nick Blakey looks set to again support Hickey in the ruck, as the club continues to search for the most useful position for its No.10 pick in the 2018 NAB AFL Draft.
The 21-year-old spent much of his debut season in the Swans’ forward line, kicking 19 goals from 21 games, but often lined up on a wing this season before taking on his new role as second ruck.
"When Sam Reid went out, he was playing our second ruck and so we felt that Nick can come in and get around the ball, gives us what we think is a reasonable contest around the ground," Longmire said.
"He's got some flexibility when he's playing in our front half. The second ruck needs to be able to give you something in other positions, and he's able to do that.
"That’s a position for him at the moment, whether that continues, who knows."
Sam Naismith made a successful return in the VFL after suffering his second ACL injury in three years last June.
The 205cm ruckman played the second half against Collingwood’s VFL team, providing 19 hitouts and gathering nine possessions.
"It was great to see him back on the weekend. He felt good about himself and had a real smile on his face today," Longmire said.