SYDNEY revelation Tom Hickey has revealed he came close to leaving the club mid-season to be reunited with his family.
The veteran ruckman was one of several Swans who left loved ones behind when the club was forced to flee the Harbour City on June 22.
The Swans were eventually reunited with their families and partners last Thursday, but Hickey admitted the absence had taken an emotional toll.
"I've got an almost two-year-old boy and my wife is pregnant with twins, so it was a pretty rough seven weeks for her," Hickey said on Friday.
"We had some serious discussions about me potentially going home and then coming back through the quarantine hub, just because we went two weeks without getting any real clarity on where it was heading. The uncertainty was the hardest bit.
"But my wife Chloe was an absolute trooper and was so incredible through it all, and I'm so grateful to have them in my life. They told me to stay and we soldiered through."
Hickey feared that his season had come to an abrupt end earlier in the year when he ruptured the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee against the Giants in round five.
He was sidelined for the following match but has only missed one more, in round 11, as the Swans found Hickey could manage the injury through a modified training program.
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The 202cm ruckman’s knee has now recovered to the point where he has been selected to take on North Melbourne on Saturday night while teammates Lance Franklin and Jake Lloyd have been rested to freshen up ongoing concerns.
"It's week-by-week but it's feeling pretty good at the moment, and I'll never put my hand up for a rest while there is footy to be played," Hickey said.
"I've felt for the last four weeks that I've been able to jump aggressively again at the ball and not be overly worried about having more issues in there.
"I don't have a PCL, it was fully ruptured, so it was about giving my body time to adapt and putting some strength around the knee. I'm pulling up much better every week."
Hickey has arguably had a career-best season after joining the Swans in last year’s Trade Period for a mix of second, third and fourth round pick swaps with West Coast.
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The 30-year-old is averaging career-highs for disposals (16.5), contested possessions (10.4), clearances (5.1) and inside 50s (2.8) which also compare favourably with the top ruckman in the League.
Now at his fourth club, Hickey is already looking forward to playing in just his second finals campaign.
"I'm just excited to have an opportunity to play finals again. This is my 11th year and I've played two games in finals," Hickey said.
"Footy has been incredibly fun this year even with all the challenges. Another opportunity to keep playing footy and to play in a winning side most weeks has been so enjoyable.
"My 11th year has definitely been my favourite."