SYDNEY will be without livewire small forward Tom Papley for another week as the goalkicker continues his recovery from his hamstring injury.
Papley suffered the hamstring strain in last month’s pre-season practice match against Greater Western Sydney and has missed the opening two rounds.
He will again be sidelined for the Swans’ trip to Marvel Stadium on Thursday to face grand finalists the Western Bulldogs and will also not play at VFL level as the Swans make sure their matchwinner is primed to return when cleared.
The club had identified the injury as a likely timeframe of four to six weeks out and Papley’s absence is going to be closer to the more serious end of that expectation.
The Swans are the highest scoring side in the AFL over the first fortnight of the season even without Papley, who was the best small forward in the League last season with 43 goals and claiming his first Therabody AFL All Australian jumper.
Sydney’s firepower has been on show to start 2022, with Isaac Heeney (eight goals), Lance Franklin (five), Luke Parker (five) and Will Hayward (four) all hitting the scoreboard.
Speedster Justin McInerney missed Franklin’s landmark 1000-goal game against Geelong after a knee injury late in round one against Greater Western Sydney.
He will train this week but remains in some doubt to return against the Bulldogs, who will be looking to avoid a 0-3 start to the season following their heavy loss to Melbourne in last year’s premiership decider.
The Swans won the first four games of last season to set up their return to the finals.