SYDNEY is backing Lance Franklin and his teammates to keep playing in an imposing manner despite the risk of missing crucial matches in the run home to the finals.
The Swans' coaches haven't spoken to their players this week about reining in their physical approach to the game, according to defender Harry Cunningham, who re-joined his teammates on Wednesday after completing a period of isolation.
The freedom to play on the edge remains despite Franklin avoiding suspension earlier this week when his charge for striking Luke Ryan in the clash with Fremantle was downgraded to low impact and instead cost the 34-year-old a $3000 fine.
The superstar forward is now available to take on Essendon on Saturday, the team he has traumatised more than any other with 73 of his 983 career goals kicked against the Bombers.
"It's great to have Lance out there, he's a big presence and a big game player. We love the way Lance plays, his resume speaks for itself," Cunningham said.
"Lance has played enough footy over his time to know what he needs to do to be out on the park every week and what he needs to do to play well.
"He's played well for a long period of time and hopefully he can continue that for us."
The Swans as a team have a less dominant record than Franklin against the Bombers, with their past four matches being decided by an average of one goal with two wins each.
The final margin was only three points when the teams met in round four this year in what was the Swans' fourth consecutive win.
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The Swans have matched that hot streak in recent weeks, including in their past two matches against teams that beat them earlier in the season, and have all but secured a finals place.
But Cunningham and the other members of the Swans' leadership group are making sure their younger teammates aren't looking too far over the horizon.
"We've still got a little bit to prove. You still want to be playing good footy week in, week out, and that's what the great teams do," Cunningham said.
"The good thing about our young guys is they believe in what they can do but they're really committed and determined to improve every week.
"We do have those experienced heads to find the balance between on and off-field, especially when you're away from home a little bit."
Cunningham and midfielder Callum Mills will come straight back into the Swans' line up after completing a period of isolation following their exposure to a Tier 2 site in Melbourne. Callum Sinclair and Colin O’Riordan were also exposed to the COVID-19 hotspot.
The four players moved to a house near the Swans' base on the Gold Coast for part of their isolation period to ensure they had enough space to train and were able to maintain enough of their conditioning.
“With the equipment we had in isolation we were able to keep on top of everything like our strength program and keep the legs ticking over," Cunningham said.
"In the first couple of minutes back at training I could feel my lungs but apart from that it was just good to get back in the groove."