Swans to stagger comebacks of star trio - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Swans to stagger comebacks of star trio

Adrian Warren 03/03/2011 08:10:26 PM Comments (0)

Sydney coach John Longmire plans to stagger the return of three key defenders, rather than rush them all back for the start of the AFL season.

Longmire said there were question marks over Craig Bolton (Achilles), Lewis Roberts-Thomson (hamstring) and Tadhg Kennelly (knee) for the round one clash with Melbourne at the MCG on March 27.

"We can't afford to bring all three back at the one time, so we'll have to stagger those players as they come back," Longmire told reporters on Thursday.

"Round one is not the be-all and end-all in regards to having those players fit, they need to be fit for the majority of the year so that's foremost in our mind."

Another potential defensive option, recruit Matt Spangher, is also battling to play before the opening round.

"He has probably been (out) six or seven weeks with a quad, so he's certainly been delayed, it will affect certainly his selection for round one," Longmire said.

Despite being down a few defenders, Longmire was happy with the way his back six performed against premiers Collingwood in the pre-season competition last week.

"The players that have been playing in our back six have done the job for us so far and those other (injured) blokes need to get some match conditioning before they play," Longmire said.

He was confident veteran full forward Daniel Bradshaw (knee) would be ready to have his first pre-season hitout next week.

Longmire announced ruckman Shane Mumford, defender Nick Smith and forward Jesse White would all have their first taste of 2011 action in Saturday's match against Gold Coast in Southport.

The Swans coach was philosophical about meeting the Gold Coast again, just a couple of weeks after losing to the fledgling AFL club in a NAB Cup contest.

"At least we'll know a little more about the Gold Coast this time than what we did last time," Longmire said.

"They are a good team. They've shown against us obviously and again against West Coast over in Perth that they are very competitive and they've got some very good players and we are confident we'll get a really good hit-out against them."

Longmire was looking for a faster start from his side against the Suns after they trailed Collingwood by 22 points at quarter-time last week.

"Our start was a little bit sloppy against Collingwood, we need to improve that there's no doubt about that, we need to make sure our intensity levels are the same for four quarters," Longmire said.

"I thought after about 20 minutes into the first quarter we settled and came back pretty well after that, but you can't afford to give good teams a start like we did."

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